Day 2 – 11 Days Of Body Language – Eye Contact

The Breaking Eye Contact When Lying Myth

The #2 spot for the body language cue that throws everyone for a loop is filled by: The Breaking Eye Contact When Lying Myth.

Those who believe a liar breaks eye contact when lying will almost fight you over this one.  They believe it to be true like they believe the sun came up this morning and will go back down tonight.

eye contact and lyingI understand why they feel that way.  It’s what they’ve heard and been told since they were little.  Believe it or not, there are “body language experts” who still teach it to be true…

(We’re going to revisit this interview in some upcoming posts.  That’s the reason for there being a bit more information than is needed for Day 2’s body language cue.)

A few months ago I was at a law firm questioning someone about some medicine that had been stolen from an employee’s purse.   

We’re gonna call the guy in question “Richard”.  We’ll call the victim “Mrs. Jones”.

Me – “Did you think she kept the pills in her purse?”

Richard looked me right in the eyes and began…

Richard  “No, I did not.”

Me – I said nothing as I slightly drew my eyebrows together just a bit.

Richard  “Why would I steal from Mrs. Jones?  I like her, I KNOW her.  I don’t even know where she keeps that stuff.”  He had not broken eye contact.

Me – Again, I kept quiet as I brought my eyebrows together a bit more, almost frowning.  Other than blinking he still had not broken eye contact.

Richard  “Seriously, Scott.  I don’t even know where she keeps that stuff.  That doesn’t even make sense…  Why would ANYBODY think I would go rummaging through somebody’s things and take something that wasn’t mine.  I swear to God it was not me.  I’m telling you the truth.  I had nothing to do with that.  Seriously.  I didn’t take her stuff.  I don’t know what else to tell you.”

Richard never broke eye contact throughout his entire answer.  As it turned out Richard did in fact take the pills.  They were stolen from a drawer not Mrs. Jones’ purse.

The reason Richard didn’t break eye contact, and the reason most people lying to you find it hard to break eye contact is this:  They want to make sure you’re believing the lie they’re telling you.

If they see you are having a hard time believing them as they lie to your face, they adjust the story and create additives to help move you toward believing that they didn’t do whatever it is they are being accused of.

There’s your 2nd body language cue to watch for and pay attention to.  Day 3’s body language cue will be along shortly.  Are there other things you’re aware of, noticed, or remember that someone being deceptive has done while lying to you?

 

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