I have a friend who never lies, he has been my friend for many years that is why I can forgive him many of his truthful comments, but sometimes he is totally unsupportable. Once he managed to make me cry! Ok, I may agree, it was my fault that I asked him questions… Lies are usually seen as something bad, inappropriate, but when I imagine the world without ones, I doubt whether it will be a happy world.
In the BBC article of a novelist Clare Allan I read this quote, ‘I've always been fascinated by lying. I think it's the fact that when people lie they are free in a way that they're not when they tell "the truth" - whatever that means.’ We had pretty intense discussion whether it is freedom where one can do or tell whatever he wants or prison, full of stress, anxiety and cognitive dissonance.
It is worth to hunt down in question why people tell untruth. Some of them do not want to hurt their nearest and dearest; some lie for the good; some protect themselves and avoid conflicts; evoke sympathy; raise self-esteem and seem better than you are; gain benefits (for example, during job interview); have a habit of being deceptive; make your life brighter; as a part of a job. These reasons allow to categories lies. According to Dawson, an American speaker, radio host, and author there are: white lies (for example, showing appreciation for an undesirable gift); broken promises (you promise to do something even if you know that you will not be able to keep this promise); fabrication (telling others something you do not know for sure is true); the bold-faced lie (telling something that everyone knows is a lie; parent-children manipulation); exaggeration (mixes truths and untruths to make themselves look impressive); lies of deception (to cheat someone, by creating a false impression); plagiarism (copying someone else’s work and calling it your own); compulsive lying.
I remember my grandpa. He was a great storyteller! Most of his stories were based on real episodes, anecdotes from his life. But every time he told them, they slightly differed. When somebody tried to find him out in a lie, he replied ‘I never lie. I just decorate a story’, and he did, and it was such a pleasure to listen! After that I realised that lying could be fun, lying could be creativity, lying could be freedom of thinking.
Everybody lies; still we do not like when somebody does to us and dream how good it would be to know whether people we are talking to are honest with us. Vanessa Van Edwards, the lead investigator at the Science of People, a human behavior research gives some tips, how to identify a pretender: The main idea is to compare the baseline, what someone does, looks like when is telling the truth and individual hot spots (individual clusters of micro facial expressions, body language and tone voice).
Here are some common patterns to add: a person who shades the truth tends to look on the left (*appropriate only for right-handed); there are some difference in the voice, its pace and pitch; look in the eyes to check your reaction; add many details to convince you.
I hope these tips will help you. Of course it does not mean that you should tell at once ‘aha, I know that you’re lying!’ because if someone does it, he usually has reasons for that, if this is not a pathological liar.
If you are not going to stop lying but want to improve your ‘lying skills’, check the article ‘How to be an effective liar’.
Here are more resources:
1. TED-talks http://www.ted.com/talks/pamela_meyer_how_to_spot_a_liar
2. BBC article ‘The good side of lying’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16612884
3. Video of an expert Vanessa Van Edwards http://www.scienceofpeople.com/2012/04/how-to-tell-when-people-are-lying-to-you-video/
4. How to be an effective liar lifehacker.com/5674334/how-to-be-an-effective-liar
4. Interesting facts about a lie http://mashable.com/2013/12/20/psychology-of-lying/
5. More facts http://io9.com/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-lying-1175676651
6. Movie ‘Liar Liar’ with Jim Carrey