How to deal with liars

I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you. Friedrich Nietzsche.

One of the most frustrating experiences I’ve ever had is being lied to time and time again by the same person and constantly being surprised that they weren’t honest with me when I returned my trust to them.

You need to learn to trust yourself and your instincts towards other people, before you can fully trust other people coming into your life. Learning to tell the signs if someone is lying to you is the first area to focus to build your self-trust in judging others. The second area, is how you deal with inevitably being lied to. Sometimes it’s not what happens, but how you recover from what’s happened that matters.

How can you tell if someone is lying to you?
Trust your gut

Generally if your instincts are telling you something isn’t right about what the person is saying, it’s experience talking. Trust your instincts. You don’t need to call them a liar, but if you caution yourself to that person, you’re at least protected from them.

Body language
Look at their body language – if someone is lying to you, their physical expression will generally be limited and stiff with few arm and hand moments. They generally avoid making eye contact (but so do people with social issues, so don’t solely rely on this one!), and their hands touch their face, throat and mouth.

Watch their eyes
Looking towards the upper left side means that you are constructing an image in your mind, while looking at the upper right side means that you are recalling an image. That’s useful when people are lying because if they look to the upper left, it’s likely whatever they are trying to recall, didn’t actually take place.

Listen hard
Watch out for any inconsistencies in their story. Be confident in your version of events so you can pull them up on their inconsistencies when you notice them.

Step back
Try to associate with this person as little as possible. Don’t include them in your activities. Don’t let them bring you down. Some liars are extremely manipulative and it’s easy to be brought down by them, sometimes you can even find yourself going over and over the conversation you’ve had with them wondering if you’ve gone mad. Trust yourself, trust your judgement and cut this person out.

What to do if someone lies to you?
DON’T avoid them!
Confront the person as soon as you can about what was said. Keep to the facts and try to keep emotions out of it. Avoidance only freezes a situation at its worse and enables you more time to get upset about it. Life’s too short to give this person anymore power over you.

Be honest when you confront them
Share your concerns and state the facts about the situation from your point of view. That way you feel as though you’ve been heard and you are able to step back and avoid letting their lies affect you as much.

Try to see things from their side
Sometimes the only way to understand things when someone lies to you is to try to understand why they may have lied in the first place. Try to see all situations from the other person’s perspective. If you still can’t understand it, accept that you were deceived – it’s a really horrible feeling, so validate yourself, and move forward. There’s no point in dwelling.

THINK before you lie!
Consider the facts

What is it that you are lying about? Will you need to tell more lies in order to keep this lie going? Why do you need to lie to this person – is it because you feel they can’t handle the truth? Do they have a right to know the truth and make their own judgement? Consider: no one honestly deserves to be lied to. Really analyse the situation and the consequences of telling the truth and lying. Consider what would happen if this person then finds out that you lied to them. Once you have assessed the facts and consequences, decide if it is really necessary to lie.

Think about how your lie may affect others
Will your lie cause this person to act differently to how they would act if they knew the truth. Will it sway their judgement or decision in any way? Is this fair on this person. Is it worth breaking your trust when they may never trust you again? Have you got a relationship with this person that relies on trusting each other?

How will the lie affect you?
No one is happy with themselves after they lie to someone. Your conscience isn’t clear. Is it worth the drama? Is it worth constantly looking over your shoulder? Is it worth losing the friendship over? Generally when you look at both sides of a lie, you will see that a lie may not only hurt the other person but also hurt you – and your reputation.

If you decide to go ahead with lying to someone, be sure you’re set to suffer the full consequences of it. In case you haven’t heard it before, honesty is always the best policy!

Before you speak – you should THINK:
T – Is it true?
H – Is it helpful?
I – Is it inspiring?
N – Is it necessary?
K – Is it kind?

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One response to “How to deal with liars”

  1. Michael Stone says :

    If you ‘think’ that lying is the best option in a particular situation, a final consideration could be whether or not you ‘feel’ your decision is coming from your heart, based on love.

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