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  • Gary Probst

How Do You Spot a Lie?

There is no certain way to know if somebody is telling the truth--but your gut is normally right.

We far too often let our reasoning overcome our natural protections. We have instinctive protection from falsehood, regardless of how skilled the liar may be. However, not wanting to believe the worst of people, we allow our back of the brain, survival area, to be overcome by the reasoning of the front of our brain.

Lying people do tell on themselves. Psychopaths are known for abusive lying and can be tremendous charmers. Serial killer Ted Bundy comes to mind. However, if you go with your first instinct and watch for signs, psychopaths reveal themselves.

Often, a psychopath will give you direct leads or little bread crumbs to check and see if you are really buying the lie. When you hear a person in a relationship with you say something like, “I know you love me. You wouldn’t leave me, even if I had an affair”, run for the nearest exit. That person is about to—or already has---engaged in an affair or some other deceptive action. When a business associate says, “I know you are a good friend. I could tell you anything and you’d believe it”, that’s not a compliment. It is a bread crumb to check and see how far they can push the lie and use you.

To protect yourself from liars and avoid investing in people who don’t deserve your time and energy, trust your first reaction as the right reaction. There are other tricks of the trade police detectives use. There is no political commentary here but it is a known fact that when people lie, they do tend to glance at the person they’re talking to out of the left side of their face. This is because the brain is reaching into the left and logical side of the brain for a continuation of the lie. If the left side of the face is facing you and the eyes are pulling to their left, beware.

Restlessness and fidgeting are not indicators of a lie. Some people suffer from anxiety and it accelerates during times of stress. Looking you in the eye is also not an indicator. The best sociopaths can look you dead in the eyes, as they have no remorse or empathy. It’s all a game to them. Instead, listen for the bread crumbs. Listen for the shifting sands of their story. Listen for them telling on themselves. They will brag to you about how they’re hurting you. Just listen. And…listen to your gut:

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