And by the way it is actually more difficult to detect lies in people who are close to us, as opposed to strangers. We want to believe our husbands when they say they were just held up at work, and so we convince ourselves it’s true. One of my favorite chapters to teach students is nonverbal communication. Ever heard that liars avoid eye contact? That’s a myth. Liars tend to give more eye contact than people who are telling the truth. This is because, unless you are a psychopath or sociopath, as you are lying, something inside your conscience is panicking. All you can think is, “I’m lying, I’m lying, I’m lying, I’m lying,” and in order to sell those lies, you try to over compensate. You stare your victim in the face and you watch to see if they are buying what you are selling. Also, a fun fact, liars tend to include more details in their stories than people who are telling the truth. We oversell, by overcompensating for the feelings in our guts that are causing us to sweat.
Basically if you are a human being, you are also a prolific liar. But why do we do this? Why do we lie to ourselves and others about who we really are or what we really think? Some experts say that we lie to avoid facing the truth, and that the lies we tell others, are actually mimics of the lies we tell ourselves. And so when people ask us how we are, we say things like, “I’m fine!” When they ask about our relationships we tell them “we couldn’t be happier,” and when they ask us what we are going to do with our lives we say, “we have it all figured out.”