When I was drunk or high, there was an easy way to tell if I was telling the truth … words were coming out of my mouth. I made up stories, even when the truth sounded better. It’s not a great way to live. I could never pass the “duck test”. You may be familiar with this. It is when you are walking around town, you hear your name called and jump under a bush. I have been sober a long time now, and it feels good to be able to answer my phone, answer my door, open my mail and yes even turn around when someone calls my name.
So, if you are talking to a drunk alcoholic or a “high” drug addict, they are most likely not telling you the truth. Don’t get me wrong, lots of people lie and for all sorts of reasons. In fact 31% of people admit to lying on their resumes, 32% say they “stretched the truth” when giving their doctors personal information and 60% of people lie at least once during a 10-minute conversation (people lie more often over the phone than in any other form).
So, How to you detect a liar:
1. A liar will often use your words when answering a question.
– Did you use any drugs today?
– No, I did not use any drugs today.
2. A liar will often not use contractions
– Have you been drinking?
– No, I have not been drinking.
3. A liar will often make indirect statements and side-step a straight answer.
– Did you take my bottle of prescription painkillers?
– Does it look like I took your painkillers? Gee, if I was going to take someone’s painkillers, don’t you think I would have left already. (sometimes the person will actually help you look for the missing item).
4. A liar will often say way more than is necessary, telling a very elaborate story to sound more convincing.
– I had some emergency cash in that drawer over there, did you take it to go out drinking last night?
– No, I used my own money last night. I got it from the ATM on Gibsen Ave. Did you know they charge a $2 service fee. It’s really a rip off. I think I might even have the receipt. Let me go look for it.
5. A liar will often mumble or stammer
– Have you stopped using drugs?
– Well ….. garbled words follow …..
Body Language “Tells”
- One classic liar move is touching the face, mouth or throat. Also, touching or rubbing the nose (sometimes the ear) can be an indication of deception.
- A liar will also avoid eye contact.
- A person not telling the truth will often stand stiffly, with little arm or hand movements. This is done unconsciously to try to make their body occupy less space.
- Look for weird patterns regarding emotion. Indicators like showing too much emotion, or showing emotion for too long of a time. Also, there might be a gap between a person showing emotion verbally and physically. This is common to see when someone receives a present they do not like. First they say “This is great – I love it” and they smile afterwards. When the person smiles at the same time as saying the words, it tends to be more truthful of a statement.
- When the person is smiling, look carefully to see if their whole face shows movement. A fake smile, is usually limited to the mouth area. A natural smile will use other muscle groups like the eyes and forehead.
Master the techniques to spot the liar
- If the person is an alcoholic or drug addict, get out of denial because almost everything that is said will be a lie (from my own personal experience).
- Watch body language
- Listen carefully to how they say things and what they say.
- Understand eye movements (If the person looks up and to the right, they are typically trying to visually remember something – like if you pose the question what was your first pet’s name.
- Study other subtle eye movements.
- Be on the lookout for irregular emotional patterns.
If an alcoholic or addict is lying to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bad person. They are probably just very sick. Don’t enable this person. Get them the help they need. There are also people who suffer from a mental illness that makes them lie. You might have heard the terms pathological and compulsive lying . These conditions can be treated too!