Dating Advice: Spotting Lies, Liars And The Married

psychology of attraction Nov 02, 2023

Spotting Lies, Liars And The Married

Another of the big frustrations for RightSwiper's is the 'too good to be true' date.

Have you had one of these dates yourself? Everything seems perfect; they are attractive, confident, funny, and fun to be with. You can't believe your luck, only for it all to be a lie.

Eventually, you discover they are not the person they portrayed on that fantastic first date. Occasionally, they will string you along long enough that you start to fall for them. Then the bombshell gets dropped, and you find out they are not an airline pilot but an unemployed gambling addict or, worse still, married with kids.

This section will give you the FBI's secrets of body language and lie detection. Hopefully, you are lucky and never need them, but these deceptive individuals end up hurting many people, and you don't want to be one of them.

A few years ago, I was asked to sit in on a sales team meeting at a radio station in Yorkshire, England. The managing director asked each sales team member in turn to talk through the prospects they had lined up for the next week and then make predictions on how many sales they were hoping to make.

The advertising executives talked convincingly about the sales pitches they had completed in the previous week. They went on to talk about their expectations of the sales that would come in as a result. All was going well until one salesman was singled out and asked directly how many cold calls he had made in the previous week.

He claimed it was the required fifteen calls, but his body language said something very different. When asked to confirm that his stated answer really was the case, he assured his manager that it was. However, he was unaware that while he was answering in the affirmative, his head was shaking a very definite no.

You can try this out for yourself. Children make great test subjects because often, their white lies are so blatant that you can be confident they are not telling the truth. Once you have identified a lie in process, then you can watch how their body language contradicts their words. Next time your child spills something and claims it 'wasn't them' Bart Simpson style, look for the slight negative shake of the head as they assure you, they are telling the truth.

I simply can't look!

Sometimes we simply can't bear what we hear, so much so that we try to vanish into thin air. There is a technical name for this reaction, which is a 'blocking behavior'. This is a physical demonstration of discomfort and an attempt to remove oneself from the environment that is causing the upset. To understand what we are attempting to do in these uncomfortable situations, we have to go way back to our early days as an infant.

Why do babies find playing peek-a-boo so utterly amazingly well?

When a parent plays peek-a-boo, they cover their face and keep it hidden for a few moments. During these moments, the baby shows genuine concern and worry. After a short moment, the parent quickly opens their hands to reveal a smiling face. At the same time they say 'peek-a-boo' in a comforting voice.

To a baby, this simple game is the most fantastic magic trick they will ever see. From the baby's limited point of view, when the parent covers their face and go into hiding, they literally disappear. The baby isn't intellectually developed enough to appreciate what is happening. They assume that because they can no longer see the parent, they must no longer be there. This simple routine blows their tiny minds; they experience real concern and worry as their friendly giant suddenly vanishes into thin air. But then all is well again as they reappear just as swiftly as they disappeared. The parent doubles the effect of their surprise return by shouting 'peek-a-boo' at the same time. Babies will play this game for hours on end because to them it is simply awe-inspiring.

Even though we quickly learn about the concept of hiding. The original belief remains buried in our subconscious throughout our lifetime, and will return to be displayed as body language at many points in our adult life.

For example, when we are confronted with uncomfortable information, we can often attempt to hide our eyes from anyone watching us. This of course, never achieves the desired outcome of making the situation go away, but it does help us cope with information that is difficult to hear.

Comforting Behaviors:

Blocking is nearly always followed by another vital piece of body language known as a comforting behavioral routine.

Humans become slowly programmed to relieve stress in uncomfortable situations with specific self-stroking actions. These automatic responses are another deeply embedded routine we learn during our early childhood. We learn to seek comfort by sucking our thumb or curling up into the fetal position and hugging our knees to our chest.

This need for physical pacification stays with us into our adult lives, and when we feel uncomfortable or under pressure, we see them reappear.

When stressed by a question, some people will run their hand through their hair, grab the back of their neck or pull repeatedly at the skin at the front of the throat. This is a comforting behavior that suggests something you have said or asked about is making the person feel uneasy. Another area that provides comfort is the top of the leg, watch for the hands dropping to the thighs and pushing down to the knees.

They do say a sneeze is the sensation that feels the closest to that of an orgasm, and there is good reason for this. There is actually erectile tissue found in the base of the nose, which becomes stimulated by stressful situations, including lying.

Watch for what I call 'itchy nose syndrome' in response to specific direct questions – it is a clear sign that someone is not telling you the full story or, more often, is deliberately misleading you. This is such a powerful indicator of dishonesty because of the physical reason why the nose becomes itchy.

As we have already discussed the act of fabricating a lie requires enormous processing power from the brain. You may notice that when your computer is working hard on a complex task such as rendering a video or running a graphic-intensive game, the machine's processor demands significantly more power than usual. Very quickly, the computer's temperature increases and the cooling fans must speed up to try and vent the heat created by these unusual demands on the CPU.

The human brain is the same, when you give it something complex to do, such as make a convincing lie it needs more power than usual. Additional blood and oxygen are pumped into the brain to help fuel the cognitive processes that are now under strain. It is impossible to fill the head with blood without the facial extremities being affected. The erectile tissue in the nose becomes engorged with blood, creating an uncomfortable sensation. So, you see, the story of Pinocchio wasn't too far from the truth after all!

Crossing Arms:

The crossing of arms is one of the better-known comforting behaviors. It is often misinterpreted as defensiveness, but that is not always the case. There is a reason the arms lock together and cover the torso and not other body areas. This is a primal urge to protect sensitive and vulnerable parts of the body. The crossing of arms is a subconscious desire to protect the vital organs from attack. This can be translated to a feeling of uneasiness, insecurity, fear or worry being displayed by our subject.

Many people will claim that they are crossing their arms only because it's more comfortable. I am sure they believe this to be true for the most part. However, one single fact reveals this to be an erroneous belief; if arm-crossing was really all about comfort, then people would do it when alone – and they don't. Can you remember any time when you got home from work, sat in front of the television on your own with your arms crossed?

You may also see some protecting actions of the hands used around the hollow of the neck, just above the breastbone. This is a vulnerable and exposed area of the body. When uneasy, your subject may attempt to cover this section of the neck, the Suprasternal Notch. Men can sometimes do this unconsciously by fiddling with the knot of their tie; women may play with a necklace. In some people, you may even notice a reddening or blushing of the skin in this sensitive area.

Half Gestures:

Half gestures are where a person goes to make a specific physical motion such as a shrug but subconsciously is not committed enough to the response to correctly pull it off.

For example, if you ask a person if physical appearance is the most important aspect of attraction to them and they shrug, but only one shoulder raises this is a clear sign that they are not giving you their real answer, they are telling you what they think you want to hear. Subconsciously raising the shoulders is a gravity-defying act; completing it requires effort and muscle co-ordination. Often the subconscious simply won't waste the energy on making movements that it is not committed to.

Celebration also causes this gravity-defying response. Football fans all collective throw their arms in the air and cheer as a touchdown is scored. The only person in the crowd who has to decide to do this action consciously is the person who doesn't really care about the result of the game and is only joining in with the celebration to be a part of the social group.

Crossed legs and itchy feet:

Believing that all body language happens in the upper body is a mistake. Often some of the biggest 'tells' you will witness come from what a person's legs and feet are doing. If you have successfully established rapport with a person they will probably be leaning forward slightly, upper body open and relaxed. People sometimes cross their legs; this doesn't mean they are uncomfortable or defensive as it is often done purely for comfort. Generally if they are happy in your company, their knee will be crossed so the top one is pointed in your direction. If you say something they disagree with or they become uncomfortable with what you are talking about they may immediately change the direction of the cross, so their knee is now pointing away from you, and the leg is acting as a barrier between you.

When somebody wants to leave, they often go to great effort to demonstrate the opposite from the waist up. However, they usually forget about what their feet are saying. If you notice that the other person's feet have already turned towards the exit this could be a clear sign that they want to leave. This may not always be a negative; perhaps they have another appointment but are too polite to cut you short.

If you could go back in time and see the seven-year-old version of myself sitting reluctantly at the dinner table, pushing cold liver around my plate, knowing I could not leave the table until I had finished my meal. My feet would have almost certainly been pointed firmly at the dining room door, ready to make my escape as soon as possible.

Remember that you must not make a judgment based on one event. This information works hand in hand with context, your gut feeling and of course, what the person is telling you at face value. I believe in something I call the 'Primary Thought Event'; this is your instant opinion of someone or something. It is the feeling you experience before your conscious mind gets a chance to get hold of it and twist it to fit what it believes will work best for you. If you get a sudden sensation of distrust, learn to listen to that and be on your guard.

How To Spot The Married

I don't like stereotypes, and indeed, there are cheating wives out there in the dating pool, too, but in all honesty, it is generally the married men who are playing away. Of course, women are unfaithful, and it takes two to tango, but the onset of dating apps like Tinder has proved far too tempting for all too many married men.

Nobody wants to be 'the other woman', and there can be nothing more disheartening and upsetting to get pulled into a sordid affair that you had no idea was anything more than dating a charming, supposedly single guy. It's beyond hurtful when you find out your prince charming was playing you all along and is just a terrific liar. So, forewarned is forearmed as they say, here are some essential things to watch out for.

Red Flag 1: They are particular about how you can contact them. They may only give you a Hotmail email address and nothing else. Ask yourself, why is there no Gmail or cell number? Married Wrongswipers often set up a separate inbox to keep their primary inbox clean of any evidence. No need to worry about leaving the email browser open at home etc.

Red Flag 2: Dates are always either out or at your place. They never invite you back to his, making excuses about messy roommates or decorating going on.

Red Flag 3: They rarely answer your call first time. Instead he/she tends to ring you back a few minutes later. This is a classic sign that you are calling a married man/woman who cannot speak freely. However, they are excited by you enough to make an excuse to leave to the room and call you back, perhaps from the car or garage.

Red Flag 4: They never stay the night. Even after a perfect evening, followed by passionate sex. They always have a reason why they can't stay the night. He/she will suggest an early start at work in the morning etc. This is often because they can get away with being late home from work but cannot explain why they were out all night.

Red Flag 5: They don't do social media and claim it's not their thing. Sure, some people refuse to have anything to do with social media, but it's rare to have a blanket ban. You don't like Facebook, but it would be unusual not to have a Twitter or Instagram account instead.

Red Flag 6: You Google him and can't find anything at all. Again, only some people want to be in the public eye, but these days it is tough to stay entirely off the grid. Even if you just show up as a LinkedIn result because of your career. After all, who is so privacy-conscious that they aggressively ensure there is never any mention of them online concerning what they do for a living?

Red Flag 7: They can never go on holiday with you. Whenever you suggest a weekend away, or a week in the sun, they are snowed under at work and can't possibly go.

This is not a checklist for your date to pass or fail. Getting one or even two red flags does not guarantee that he/she is a married, cheating scum bag. We are looking for patterns of behavior combined with your gut feeling (which, in my experience, is usually all you need - if it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't).

Are You Ready?

So many people get worn out by the nonsense of internet dating, complaining that "all the men on dating sites are only after one thing" or "women don't give nice guys a chance." Unbeknownst to them, their approach is unwittingly crafting the outcomes they so vehemently despise. RightSwiper teaches you to change that for good. 

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