Monday, April 17, 2006

Break-up Busting 101: Lie Detection, a Survival Skill

Part of determining whether you should attempt to reverse a break-up is determining whether you can trust your partner. Knowing how to detect a lie is a VERY useful skill…

We’re drawing close to the end of “Break-up Busting 101” and there are really only two or three more topics that we will be delving into. Today, we’re going to wrap up communications with a brief discussion of lie detection.

Lie detection is a necessary survival skill in all facets of your life, because unfortunately, there are those who think that lying is a survival skill. It’s not. The truth always ends up coming out, and then on top of whatever mistake you’ve made, you’ve destroyed trust. The only people who get away with lying in the long term are those who spend their life on the run bouncing from place to place and not staying anywhere long enough for anyone to catch them in a lie before they’ve left. That’s not going to work in a long-term relationship, is it?

Gentlemen, the deck is stacked against you from the beginning with regard to lying, because women are better at doing it than men and they are better at detecting it than men. Both of those advantages come from their more highly-evolved communications infrastructure and skills (as compared to our own). However, since you shouldn’t be lying anyway (statistically, women will tolerate just about anything before they will tolerate a liar, even if they are chronically “factually challenged” themselves), you need only concern yourself with how to detect if and when she is lying.

Making you an expert on the subject would require an entire book, and we only have he space of this post to work within for this lesson, so I’m going to hit the high spots for you to show you how easy it is if you have good information and then point you to some very good information that I am not selling. (I am developing a primer on lie detection to include as a free report with my other e-books, and anyone who has purchased “How to Be Attractive to the Woman You Love” at the time of its release will be receiving a free copy if I have your current e-mail address on file.)

First, everyone has heard about how body language can be used to detect lies. That’s true, yet not true. There are many body language clues that indicate both that a person is lying and that they are very nervous about telling an unpleasant truth. When attempting to determine if someone is lying, you must watch for several different indicators and make sure they are all consistently pointing in the same direction. A person who exhibits a single indication of lying may indeed only be nervous about the truth, have an itchy nose, be trying to cover bad breath, etc., but when the signs start stacking up and you see five or even ten signs that someone is lying, the statistical probability that they are telling the truth becomes such a long-shot that a penny placed on that bet would win you roughly the sum of the world’s oil and currency trade for a day – literally trillions-to-one. So where do you start?

Let’s start with the eyes. The eyes move when the brain does certain things. When a right-handed person attempts to access short-term memory, their eyes will move up and to the left, where if they are lying, which engages a creative center in the brain, they go up and to the right. This is reversed in left-handed people. A big clue as to whether someone is right- or left-handed (if you don’t know them well enough to know) is to look for their wristwatch, which will be on the opposite hand, if you can’t get them to write something down for you, so as a general rule, looking not at the watch or at the hand with the watch, but upward to the same side the wristwatch is worn on is a strong indication they are tellign the truth. Obviously, if you're in a committed relationship with someone, you're going to know whether they are left- or right-handed, but again, this is a universally useful skill.

People also tend to become less animated when they are lying, clasping their hands or crossing their arms when you have observed them “talking with their hands” in most of the rest of the discussion. The will also tend to look away from you and even move away from you as they lie, a subconscious effort to try to distance themself from an uncomfortable situation. Touching the nose and covering the mouth while speaking are classic body language signs, but when you look at these, you’re looking for CHANGE in behavior, not so much the behavior itself. People do sometimes get an itch in their nose, or realize they have bad breath, or shift their posture because of an aching joint.

It’s because of this that you must realize that it takes several minutes of observing someone to make this determination, not just a quick jab with an incriminating question. You must see enough of how they act when they are speaking normally and truthfully (by getting them to talk about something non-threatening or non-incriminating) before bringing up the subject you think they lied about or before thinking they’ve lied about something they brought up with you. That’s the value of small-talk, something that most men are very, very poor at engaging in because we really just don’t like to talk that much; we prefer to take action. That’s another reason women have such an edge on us; they enjoy small talk and are very good at conducting it (and hence, are very good at catching us in a lie!). However…

There are some techniques that can be combined with body language reading that nobody, not even experienced con-artists, can beat. They involve such things as watching for hesitation in response to a question. Let’s say you think your partner was on a date with someone else, and you say that somebody she works with whose name you can’t remember stopped you in the grocery store to say hello and asked how you were getting along after the break-up, and mentioned that they assumed there had been a break-up since she was dating this other guy. If she is innocent, she will immediately protest, because she has no idea what you are talking about, but if she hesitates, it’s because she’s guilty and has to think and make a choice about whether it is safer in that moment to accept that she’s been caught or to try to deny it and bluff through. The hesitation before she speaks, not whatever she says, is what tells you that she was indeed on the date.

Another good tactic is a diversionary one. You tell a partner that you know all about something they’ve been doing (that you really are only suspecting), and that you understand how and why it happened and are willing to let that go if they will promise that something lesser won’t be happening again, like hearing it from her friends instead of her. When she agrees to make the promise, which is easier than the confession, she has confessed to the event, otherwise she would be denying it, and then you're back to the hesitation test -- instant denial indicates truth, while a hesitation preceding a denial indicates guilt, unless you see very obvious signs of confusion, which could indicate that the hesitation was in trying to figure out why you might be acting so crazy, but that is really, REALLY rare.

Even here, you can still take advantage of hesitation. A person with nothing to confess will immediately deny they did anything, and a person with something to confess looking for an easy way to do it will immediately make the promise. Hesitation here indicates that they are weighing their chances of getting away with another denial, because it’s the only reason for them to hesitate.

People also tend to objectify and generalize when they are lying. A person who really worked late will tell you that they worked until 10:30PM, while someone who is lying is much more prone to say they “worked really late.” Also, they will tend to say, “left MY office” if they were really there, as opposed to, “left THE office” if they were not. Again, this must be weighed with other indicators, as the use of these pronouns can vary because of personality, level of detail-orientation, etc. It’s the change from using words like “my” to words like “the” or the change from speaking actively, like “I did this,” to passively, like “this was done,” focusing on the event or act rather than on them that tells the tale.

There is a book by David Lieberman, PhD, called “Never Be Lied to Again,” that has been on the NY Times Best Seller list and is an excellent book if you really want to dig deep into this subject and become a true expert. I’ve also used a lot of the hand-held lie detection gadgets and computer software that do voice print analysis, but was not impressed; there were too many false positives and false negatives for me to see them as useful tools at the time, but over time, you can expect these products to increase in accuracy, just as voice recognition software that lets you give input to your computer has improved.

Communications is a tough subject, even when everyone is telling the truth. There are good and bad ways to ask questions of women, good and bad ways to start conversations, and good and bad ways to end them as well. When you’re already in a stressful situation like a fight or after a break-up, the last thing you want to do is trip over some protocol that you don’t know about and end up with your foot in your mouth and your signature on divorce papers because of it. Let me help you with that…

Go to http://www.makingherhappy.com and get your copy of "How to Be Attractive to the Woman You Love" right now, and get with the program. If your relationship is not in crisis, it will show you exactly how to not only keep it from getting there, but how to make it better. If you are in crisis, it will show you how to determine whether you should indeed reverse it or let it go, and if it has a good foundation and could last a long time, it will show you what to do to quickly get things on stable footing and get everyone in a state where they are receptive to working things out and making positive change. I’m sure you’ve heard that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure;” this is about a pound of prevention and it’s worth several tons of cure, and it can be yours for less than the price of a good meal for two, so get it done!

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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