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8 Tactics For Catching a Liar On a First Date

The world would be a far better place if we all just agreed to tell the truth all of the time. But let’s not hold our breath about that happening anytime soon. 

Which brings us to you and your dating life. When you go out with someone, you don’t need to be unduly suspicious–but it’s common sense to keep your eyes wide open. Here, then, are strategies to help you know if your date is–or is not–being truthful with you:

Stay attentive.

On a date, you probably feel a bit nervous and self-conscious. So it’s possible to become so focused on your own behavior that you miss important clues delivered by your date’s actions and words. Remain alert and observant so you can evaluate if the person is straightforward or secretive, authentic or ambiguous.

Keep your eyes on your date’s eyes.

A person’s eyes reveal volumes of valuable information. You’re right to wonder why someone has trouble looking you in the eye when they speak. When a person is being dishonest, they will have difficulty maintaining eye contact. What’s more, the deceitful person will likely blink more than usual and glance around.

Listen to telltale speech patterns. 

Be conscious of when the other person repeats your questions or asks you to repeat them. This is a stall tactic to formulate a plausible response or to avoid an awkward silence. Hesitation, mumbling, and tangents are also indicators the person might be telling falsehoods. Watch out for excessive wordiness, since dishonest people often give themselves away by going on and on, offering elaborate explanations.

Read nonverbal reactions.

Researchers tell us that up to 85 percent of human communication is nonverbal, conveyed in body position and posture, the tone of voice, and facial expressions. Notice excessive fidgeting, defensive postures like tightly folded arms, pursed lips, covering the mouth with a hand, and grooming behaviors (like playing with their hair or adjusting clothes).

Beware of facts that don’t add up.

Over dinner, your date tells you part of his life story. But later in the evening, some of the details are inconsistent. When facts and details seem to be shifting, ask for clarification. A deceptive person has to work hard to keep track of what he’s said, and some misinformation can leak out.

Be careful if you feel closed out.

Not everyone is an open book on a date; in fact, it’s wise not to share personal information too soon. But if you feel like your date is being evasive about basic topics (work, hobbies, education), you have to wonder what lies behind those locked doors. Dishonest people put up communication barriers so you won’t get too close to areas they want to keep hidden.

Take note of over-the-top statements.

Dishonest people are often skilled at exaggeration and embellishment, to burnish their own image or to sweet-talk another person. Be attentive if your date says things (about accomplishments, talents, background) that seem overdone. Same with flattery aimed at you: We all love to hear how wonderful we are, but beware if you detect a hint of something disingenuous or exaggerated.

Don’t dismiss your instincts.

When it comes to dating and romance, your gut feelings are not always reliable. But that does not mean you should ignore them. Your intuition is feeding you clues that should be examined and taken seriously.