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Wise Ways to Quickly Spot a Liar

By Sandy Schroeder

Sometimes we spin a white lie to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, or to keep the peace, but none of us really want to deal with a liar. If you find yourself doubting the words of someone, Savvy Psychologist's Dr. Ellen Hendriksen has some quick ways to check them out.

Hendriksen suggests we watch closely and listen carefully for clues.

Watch for telltale smiles – A split-second facial expression may contradict what someone says, but a “duping delight” might tell the real story. When someone feels they have gotten away with a lie, they may give themselves away with a slight smile. Once when I was involved in an intricate settlement, I was amazed to see my opponent repressing a smile as we talked. That changed my attitude and the tone of the whole conversation, as I began to ask a lot more questions.

Detail overload – When someone uses way too much language and detail to give you a simple message, that may be a clue. Often the truth is simple and direct, needing no extra words. Start asking questions and looking beyond the elaborate wording. Ask for a summary, and see if they can do it clearly and briefly.

Check story order – Someone hoping to fool you may build an elaborate story in the order that it happened. Start quizzing them; ask them to jump around in the details. They may flounder and be unable to keep the story together. I have seen people giving presentations fall into this trap. They tried to assume a role of authority when they barely had a grasp of the material.

Avoiding eye contact – If you are dealing with a liar they may have a hard time maintaining eye contact and involuntarily look away, reducing the feeling of guilt about lying. As you ask more questions, they may again look away.

Body contradictions – Someone may solemnly tell you what you want to hear, but then shrug their shoulders, back up or shake their head at the same time. That’s a clue to look further for the truth. 

Stepping back – When someone is involved in a lie they may begin to talk in generalities, as if they were not involved. They may be trying to remove themselves from the whole situation.

Obvious bad vibes – Most of us can recognize a used car salesman when we meet one. If you pick up a too-good-to-be-true vibe, look further to see what’s behind that beaming smile. Often you will quickly find a lack of substance.

Spotting liars can save you time, money and energy. Take the time to look closely when something does not fit. Usually you will find the answer. 

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Phoenix, Arix.

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