If we were talking and you noticed that my cheeks were turning red, my hands were fidgety, I kept shifting body positions and I was having trouble holding normal eye contact you might think I’m lying. The reality is that I just described how I feel the morning after eating jalapenos.

Trying to spot a liar through body language is dangerous. Not because it doesn’t work, which it doesn’t, but because it takes up the space of real lie detection. I’m going to fix that right now. Really… I promise?

People don’t lie – They share opinions they like

Think about it. Every time you’re sharing an opinion with someone you’re probably lying about something, but there would be no tell tale sign of this because you wouldn’t be conscious of it.

I went to look at campers the other day. I was telling the guy that I wanted to look at the trailers on their lot, but I also had plans to check out the campers that drop into the bed of my truck. Later, after the traditional visit to his manager’s office, he came back and told me that his manager wanted me to know that the drop in campers were very expensive. Was he lying or just sharing his opinion? How would he know what I considered “expensive”?

I remember my realtor telling me not to worry about the housing market dropping out because there will always be options for home buyers. He wasn’t lying, he just believed the line of bullshit someone had given to him.

So what about body language?

If you google how to spot a liar you will see free article after free article claiming “X” number of steps to spot a liar. If those steps were real, wouldn’t we just use them to convict criminals? Articles like those are written for the purposes of marketing and not to actually produce a result.

Sweaty palms, nervous twitches and funky eye contact “MAY” be a sign of someone lying, but it also may be a sign that the person likes spicy foods.

Of course, liars exhibit certain body language when they’re consciously lying, but, not everytime and not in a reliable manner. Can you use those signs as in indicator and cause to “dig in” more? Yes. Should you rely on them as if you’re some sort of human lie detector? No.

They talk too fucking much & can’t show you a thing

Use these techniques carefully and with a great deal of humility. You’re a filthy liar too so go easy on other people. There is no dignity and seldom any gain to calling out a liar.

Whether someone is telling an out and out lie or just sharing “the secret” for making a six figure income while working part time from home – two telltale signs will show: first, talking way to fucking much and second, never offering to show you specifics on the topic. I’ll start with the later.

Can you show me?

“Well, um… (fill in the excuse)”

If someone were selling you a $100 dining room table that sat 15 people, weighed 5 pounds, self prepped food, was pool table convertible with a touch of a button and poured it’s own Makers Mark whisky, how many words would be necessary to sell it, sight unseen?

Now if that table existed and you could see it demonstrated, would anything more than “let me show you something” need to be said?

The same is true for anyone in any situation. At some point, if discovering the truth is important to you, all you need to do is say, “Show me”. Regardless of whether the person is knowingly lying to you or unknowingly sharing a bullshit story the truth will surface quickly. If it’s true the individual will quickly and excitedly coordinate a time and place to show you what they’re talking about.

You’ll be surprised how many people will unknowingly tell bullshit stories about things that they’ve heard and the moment you ask “can you show me?” they become present to their own bullshit. You’ll be even more surprised when you start recognizing how often you’re the one with the bullshit story. Filthy liars all of us!

“Dude – Shut the fuck up”

The reason people who are either lying or can’t back up what they are talking about talk too much is because they want attention and that’s probably why they’re lying in the first place.

We all know the type. The know it all who is always talking. If you’re dealing with a salesperson you will notice an inability to listen. Dependence on story makes it impossible to stop talking it. If it’s a social situation the same type of person will dominate the conversation, never letting anyone get to the “can you show me?” question.

The truth is like a sliver. If you give it enough time it will surface on it’s own. If you need the truth to surface sooner, questions become your “tweezers” and they can quickly extract it if they’re not blocked by someone who will not shut the fuck up.

Just let them Lie!

I eluded to the idea of not busting people who are lying earlier and I’ll tell you why. Usually it’s a waste of time and it will just produce drama in your life.

If someone is lying to you just walk away. If it’s a salesperson who is full of his own shit, just walk away. If it’s a buddy of yours who is always making crap up, just walk away.

It’s just not worth the drama or your time.

  • What are some ways you have spotted a liar? 
  • Have you busted someone and then regretted it later? 
  • Have you busted someone and were glad you did it?

Eric