Hi, I am a T.V. producer...might I add your hair looks beautiful...Excuse me, I think I have a case of the stomach flu...Everybody tells a little white lie now and then, but some do it without regard for anyone but themselves.
Some do it to keep that deep, dark secret from being exposed, or just to escape a sticky predicament. “People have always been willing to lie as well as die for what they believe is a good cause” (Dunn). A 1998 study concluded that “one out of four people told untruths in a startling one out of four conversations” (Knadler 170). With statistics like that, it is possible to deduce that we are being lied to, 25% of the time, and the only defense mechanism that we posses is to be aware of getting snowballed.
Liars have to rely on you, otherwise they have no one to listen to their stories. Once liars repeat their story enough times, eventually they will believe that it happened to them. Then when they tell someone else, they will receive the emotional response that they were searching for—through manipulation. Along with this, they activate a new self esteem and power (Monson). Most liars have a difficult time getting help, because they have to face their tale to bring themselves to reality. “For these people, reality is reflexively rearranged into dirty packages of deceit” (Monson). Psychiatrists now believe that liars suffer from a personality disorder that guides them to constantly speak lies, too, follow through with them(Monson).
Compulsive liars want to make their lives over like a storybook, and are successful in this feat by conjuring up a tall tale that an individual will believe. For instance, Monson affirms this by giving an example about Laura Belcher, who fell in love with a compulsive liar. She was unaware that she was a victim falling into his reality, and the truth came when her mother read that they arrested her daughter’s boyfriend for simulating an officer of the law. Some further digging into his history revealed a completely different image of him that Laura had never seen. Many liars think that “if they do not measure up to someone’s perceived standard, they use their imagination to elevate their stature” (Monson).
How can one spot a liar?
One strategy for being aware of liars involves verbal cues, which involve “tone and word choice in a conversation” (Knadler). Many times, perjurers are to busy selling you their tale they neglect thinking about important things that make the story more believable: “sentence structure, verb tense, and chronology” (Knadler). They also tend to abstract from the details. Knadler explains that “most people don’t think to include irrelevant trivia when selling an artificial explanation” (172). Another clue that can aid in helping you steer away from getting lied to is watching the liar’s body language, because they may be clicking a pen at a bionic rate, picking at imaginary sweater lint, or gradually backing toward an exit—broadcasting their deceitfulness (170). Their anxiety causes them to behave in this way, since their is the fear of being trapped in a lie and deceiving someone through their manipulation.
Career liars (professionals like salespeople, lawyers, Presidents) still lie to gain acceptance or approval, but they do it for power and to make money (170). They have smooth moves that are difficult to detect, and seem to have an answer for everything that tips of their confidence (170). For instance, salespeople, like to get comfortable, because they will speak to you on a first name basis like old friends. “How on earth could you doubt your best friend?” (Knadler 172). Another study suggests that it is much easier to victimize people when the liar dresses like the victim. They will also repeat your language, say they have the same interests and mimic your body gestures just to get close enough to pull a fast one on you.
People will continue to spin these phony fables as long as long as they have a listener, because research shows that “people want to believe what they are told, even if it is an outlandish lie” (Monson). Lies are painful and deceitful when done in the most serene convincing voice, and are just addicting as any legal or illegal substance.
- Knadler Jessie. “How to Spot a Liar Anywhere.” Cosmopolitan Nov. 1998: 170+.
- Monson, Gordon. "Liar!” Orlando Sentinel 21 January 1993: E1+. Mental Health. Ed. Eleanor Goldstein. Vol. 4. SIRS, 1994. Art. 82.