Lying is natural human behavior. Many of us have lied at some point in our lives, whether to avoid hurting someone or get out of trouble.
However, compulsive liars lie out of habit, without intent or motive. They may lie spontaneously and automatically, without even thinking about it, and for little or no reason.
Compulsive lying or mythomania may or may not be associated with a mental disorder, although people with the following conditions are more prone to compulsive lying:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Substance dependence
7 ways to reveal a compulsive liar
While more than 80% of lies tend to go undetected, here are a few tips and tricks that may help you determine whether someone is lying to you:
- Ask neutral questions: Start with a few basic, obvious questions and try to get a sense of their pattern of speech, tone of voice, and eye contact during the conversation.
- Observe body language: Take note of their facial expressions and body language when lying.
- Listen carefully: Changes in tone, cadence, or sentence structure may signal that they are lying.
- Throw in the unexpected: After a while, throw them an unexpected question that does not give them time to plan an answer.
- Look for inconsistencies: Point out any inconsistent or vague stories that seem to be manipulative or contradictory.
- Look for changes in behavior: You may notice a sudden change in the way they normally act, for example, a sudden nervousness or sweating when talking.
- Trust your instincts: Sometimes an intuition or a gut feeling are the only reasons that assure the stories heard are manipulated ones.
What are the signs of a compulsive liar?
You may not have a sense to judge someone’s trustworthiness, but trying to notice, trusting your instinct or closely monitoring these signs could help point out someone who is trying to deceive you.
- Touching the face, mouth, or throat often: This type of body language can indicate that someone is lying.
- Pausing before an answer: An abnormal pause to an easy or obvious answer may indicate that they are trying to keep the lie going.
- Change in speech patterns: Repeating phrases or stammering may be a sign they aren’t telling the truth. Using a lower or higher pitched voice may also indicate that they are lying.
- Avoiding eye contact: Glancing at the door or a watch is a subconscious way of avoiding eye contact.
- Not blinking: Some people will overdo it and stare at you without blinking to prove that they aren’t afraid of making eye contact.
- Contradictions: Compulsive liars tend to forget the previous lies and contradict their own stories.
- Non-verifiable details: They may provide you with details that cannot be cross-checked.
- Fake emotions: They may fake a smile or yawn to avoid getting caught lying or to cover up a hole in their story.
- Too many details: Providing too many unnecessary details can be a sign of a crafted lie.
- Talking too much or too little: Compulsive liars may try to cover up their lie by talking either too much or too little.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Dan Brennan. Signs of Lying. WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/signs-lying
Louise Chang. 10 Ways to Catch a Liar. WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/10-ways-catch-liar
Compulsive Lying. GoodTherapy: https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/compulsive-lying
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