Are you a liar? What about everyone else?
You may not realize it, but you're part of an epidemic. You lie. What's more, everyone around you lies. In fact, according to Pamela Meyer's new book, Liespotting, the average person hears 200 lies a day. Assuming you get roughly 8 hours of sleep a night, that translates to 12 lies AN HOUR.
Of course, for the most part, these lies are over-exaggerations by colleagues to increase (or diminish), the drama of their lives. But there are times when these lies are important, not necessarily for themselves, but because of the reason behind them. Have you ever been in a relationship you believed to be great, only to be broken up with "out of the blue?" Or, more seriously, heard a close friend say "I'm fine," to realize later that something far more serious was going on?
We think (I thought), that we can recognize lies. But the average person can only identify a lie 54% of the time... in other words, we guess. Sometimes that 46% margin of error is just too much.
- 66% of interviewees for new jobs were misled about the financial status of the company
- 83% of college undergraduates lie in an attempt to get a job, and feel little guilt because they “know” that everyone around them is doing it too
- Most people are significantly more likely to lie to coworkers than to strangers
- One in five employees says he is aware of fraud in his workplace
- Men tend to lie about themselves 8X more than they do about others
- One study found that 85% of college-age couples interviewed lied about prior relationships and indiscretions
What's most important is the motive behind the lie. Our natural ability for empathy helps us understand where someone is coming from. By first learning to know lies as they occur, we're much less likely to be hurt, because a) we're not caught off guard and, b) we can learn to recognize the main motives that inspire people to lie.
- People will often subconsciously touch or try to cover their eyes when being deceptive. Men tend to rub their eyes, while women are more likely to touch gently below their eyes- an attempt to “see no evil”
- Watch for asymmetry in a person’s gestures and expressions. Smiles, frowns, and shrugs that are one-sided mask what a person is really feeling. Natural ruthful gestures typically occur evenly on both sides
- Normal level of eye contact in conversation is only 30-60%; good liars are often skilled at staring into their questioners’ eyes
I was passed along Meyer's book from a close friend of mine who heard her speak at Barnes&Noble. I'm typically not drawn to non-fiction, but I think the book's message is very practical and important. Check it out and make the world a more trusting place!
Other input and posts are welcome.