We are all liars! (You, too. Check it out)
What would you think if someone told you you are a liar? What if I told it to you right now, while you’re reading this article?
You’d probably be offended, but you’d see it all under a different light if I added that everybody, yeah, everybody, are liars!
To explain it to us is an Italian psychologist, Francesco Albanese in his book “Are you lying to me?” (original title “Mi stai mentendo?”) (Editor’s note: Google will translate this for you and it is worth your time and effort)
Who is lying to us?
First of all, we have to displace a mistaken conviction. Generally we think that it is only, or above all, people who are hostile to us, who are envious of us, who want to hurt us, to tell lies to us. This is not so: it is the people we have closest, with whom we interact most often, who tell us an impressive number of lies!
We all seem to be liars. We all lie repeatedly, every day and several times a day.
To define ourselves as such, it is not said that we must be terribly sneaky and unfair, it is sufficient that we say something that we do not really think. Who has never been asked “How are you?” and to reply distractedly “Fine” only so as not to have to make a speech with those who are in front of us? Well, in this case we have been liars!
Le’s try to quantify
According to the book, it has been estimated that those around us lie to us from 10 to 200 times a day. Some examples? On average one in every ten interactions that take place between husband and wife is a lie, even one in three if it is an engaged couple, one in five between a teenage son and his mother…unbelievable, isn’t it?
Kinds of lies
Not all lies are the same or have the same weight. There are the so-called “white lies” which are those said for good, not to offend and not to hurt those in front of us. The “black lies”, on the other hand, are said specifically to harm someone. They may want to harm the listener or a third person. Anyway, to harm is their primary purpose.
In the middle we have several nuances: lies given for pedagogical purpose, to teach something or to strengthen self-esteem (for example, in front of the doodle of a child we will most likely exclaim “beautiful!”), utilitarian lies, to save us from an uncomfortable situation, to impress others, to defend our intimacy…
According to the author, extroverts are more prone to lies and while men would mostly lie to give a better image of themselves, women would do it mainly to protect the image of others.
Lying is one of the first things we learn since we are young we use crying to get what we want. Attempts to deceive others grow and refine with age.
Lying is exhausting
When we lie, our brain has to make an effort to quickly create an alternative truth that is credible. Easier if the lie is premeditated. If we are taken by surprise we will try to take time (for example by repeating the question that has been asked).
As with all things, being a liar also requires training.
People who are used to lying do it more easily, if only because they have overcome the guilt and fear of being discovered.
How to unmask a liar
But is it possible to expose liars? With absolute certainty, no. Normally we are thought to be able to expose about 50% of the lies we are told. With some guidance and some practice we can get up to 70%. Only if we have a great intuition we can get up to 90%.
From what can one understand that a person is lying to us? From all those non-verbal signals that come from the body. Because unlike words, the body always tells the truth. Body position, movements, tone of voice, fears, proximity to the interlocutor, facial expression, linguistic choices are indicators practically infallible.
Let us take an example, observing the eyes of those in front of us, we can receive clear signals about his intentions: if as he speaks to us his gaze will turn to his right, we will understand that he is accessing the right hemisphere of his brain, So he’s probably not looking for information he already has, but he’s trying to come up with an answer to lie to us! If, on the contrary, his gaze turns to his left, he’s drawing on real memories, information that matches the truth, and he’s about to tell us the truth.
Think about it. What lies do you tell that you may not be consciously aware of? What lies do you tell regularly? Do you even know or speak your own truth?