Being lied to is no fun, and it seems like it’s even worse when you know it’s happening. Sometimes liars are so fluid with their sleight-of-tongue that they fool even the most discerning individuals. When we can’t figure out if someone is lying, it makes us doubt ourselves. Here’s how to know when to trust your gut instinct when you absolutely know you’re being lied to:
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Keep an Eye on Their Body Language
Liars will often say one thing and mean another. If you think someone is lying to you, keep a close eye on what they are doing with their body language. If they are being truly open and honest, their stance will usually project as much. If they have their arms or legs crossed, avoid eye contact, or place something between you and themselves -a desk or a table, for example- they are probably trying to avoid telling the truth.
Check Out Their Reputation
People who tell a lot of lies are often the butt of a lot of gossip. If you hear a lot of badmouthing about someone you think may be a liar, you’re probably onto something. Trust your gut here.
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Confront Them, Then Move On
If you know you’re being lied to, you don’t have to stand around and take it. Ask them clearly if they mean to say what you think they mean to say, even if -especially if!- it’s totally contrary to what’s coming out of their mouth. If they continue to defend their position, move on. You don’t have to spend your time and energy on this person.
This article from Business Insider contains some further helpful hints to catching a liar, such as not using contractions (saying “did not” instead of “didn’t”), providing too much information, and over-emphasizing details.
One of the things I try to keep in mind when I know that I am being lied to is to have some compassion for the person. This doesn’t mean that I condone their behavior or tolerate being lied to: I try to end the conversation as quickly and smoothly as possible. But if being lied to feels terrible, I can only imagine that the person who feels like they need to lie to me is in an even worse spot. So, regardless of the situation, I try to have a little compassion for that person who can’t be genuine and authentic. As lousy as I might feel about being lied to, I’d prefer my shoes to theirs any day.