As most of us know, telling the truth 100% of the time tends to only happen in movies and even then, we find it funny. Studies have revealed that all people tend to lie at least once or twice a day and show if you have an interaction with someone for ten minutes or longer, you have a strong chance of deceiving that person. This means in the course of a week the average person will lie about 30% of the time in their one-on-one social interactions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geiS49_p84Q
So let's back up for a moment and ask "What is a "lie?" According to dictionary.com a "lie" is:
"a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood" http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lie?s=t
According to 18 U.S. Code § 1001 it is when someone:
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact; (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1001
I remember in law school being taught that one definition was, "An intentionally falsehood either by admission or omission to lead someone to believe something that was not true."
So do we all really want people's pants to catch on fire when they lie so they ALWAYS tell the truth? Would it really make it a better place to live?
Honestly, if someone thinks I look tired and horrible at the end of the day, I don't want to know. I really don't want to know if you have planned a surprise for me. I like surprises! I really don't want to know about your personal issues in the bathroom. Sometimes I want to hear lies...or at least not the truth!
So how can you tell if someone is lying? Although not always true, these are a few things to look for:
1. They provide too much information. They may give too many details and more information than what was asked for. The liar talks a lot hoping people will believe them.
2. They touch or cover their mouth. This is a sign they may be closing off communication.
3. They stare without blinking much... or they blink excessively. A liar will tend to use a cold, steady stare while those telling the truth will look away sometimes. On the opposite side, some liars blink excessively.
4. They tend to point...a lot. Liars want to put the blame on someone else or "turn the tables." They become defensive and sometimes hostile, especially when confronted with the truth and evidence to back up those truths.
5. They tend to repeat words and phrases. "I never would do something like that!" "I just would never do something like that!" "Do you really think I would do something like that?" Notice a pattern here? Liars try to validate their own lies within themselves. They might also be trying to buy some time to think of what to say.
I have had some of these "liars" in mediations and many times it hinders the mediation process. In my experiences, the truthful party becomes extremely frustrated and refuses to settle believing that the court will see "the truth" and rule in their "favor." "Why should I settle and give that liar anything!"
Sometimes the truthful party will give something to the other side, even if the party is lying, just to merely make the case "go away" for their own peace of mind and to avoid additional costs, such as attorneys' fees. Sometimes the truthful party does not have the proper evidence to present to the court. Courts like evidence that they can see, hear, hold, etc. such as documents, emails, texts, voice mails, photos, etc. Sometimes as mediators, we just need to let the parties go into court, present to the judge, and let them take their chances.
Usually, when a case goes to trial, someone will be happy and someone won't be. Maybe neither one will win. Sadly, the happy one is not always the truthful party.
What are some additional "signs" you have seen that indicate someone may be lying and how have you dealt with liars?