Your Best Friend Is Lying. Now What?

What to do when a close friend lies

You think your best friend is lying.  Now what?  As you learn and pay attention to Body Language your mind automatically begins to search for deception.  It’s the first thing people ask me about after a Keynote and it’s the main thing on most everyone’s mind when they find out what I do for a living.

Scott Rouse - Best friend is lying - Body language expert - keynote speaker - tedx speaker

I totally get it.  It fascinates me too.  I can’t get enough of it.  Without going 120 feet deep into deception detection, let’s get right to it.  Let’s talk about what to do when you think you’ve happened upon a lie a close friend is telling you.

You Think Your Best Friend Is Lying

Most of the time it takes no more than an extra one or two questions to find out if someone’s answer is dishonest.  And if you know the person fairly well, most likely there’s not much to it.  You’ve either brought up something embarassing or something that may not be any of your business.

Here’s a great example of what happened to me when I straight out, full on, lied to my BFF’s face when he asked me a question.  Keep in mind at this point he had been a homicide detective for a little over a decade.  He has interviewed and interrogated murderers, kidnappers, bank robbers, you name it, he’s interrogated it.  There’s that piece of information. 

Here’s the second piece. 

My wife and I met on eHarmony.  At the time “meeting someone on the internet” wasn’t popular at all.  Not even a little bit.  Especially for someone who dealt with liars, murderers, kidnappers, bank robbers, you name it.

When Jason asked me “Where did you meet the girl you’re gonna go out with?”  I wasn’t about to tell him where.  So, I said “Oh, through Mitch and his girlfriend last week”.

Now, imagine the look on your face if your best friend had bet you $500, in $100 bills, that he would win the game of tic-tac-toe you were playing.  And as he put an X in the top corner on the right, you saw your “box to win” open up with 3 diagonal O’s down the left on the opposite side.  You’d have that tiny ½ smile on your face as you slowly looked up to catch his unwitting gaze just before you drew the game winning O in that final square.

That’s the way Jason looked at me after my answer as he said “Really…” tilted his head, squinted his eyes a little and began nodding, “Tell me more about that”.  Then we both burst out laughing.

How did he know I was lying? 

The same way you will know if your best friend is lying. 

Number 1: I wouldn’t say I met someone “through” someone.  You might use “through”.  That’s fine.  IT’s just so happens I don’t.  Listen for unusual words and phrasing. 

Number 2: I used too many words.  If I was being honest I probably would have said “Mitch’s girlfriend”.  2 words.  That’s it.  Not 7 words. 

Number 3: I started my answer with the word “Oh”.  That gave me time to line up my prepared answer.

  Number 4: How did he know it was prepared?  Since I don’t talk that way, he knew I had never said that answer out loud.  I had only rehearsed it in my head.  And boy oh boy, it sounded like it too.

This goes back to Baselining. 

This is a close friend.  You’ll know what, if anything, is out of the norm in their usual behavior.

If you want to get an idea of what it feels like to give a prepared answer say this the next time anyone asks you any question at all.  “I’m sure I have no idea what you’re talking about”.  And wait for their reply.

It’s gonna be weird and it’s gonna be funny.  However, you will expreience the same types of felings and thoughts a liar experiences when they lie.  Pay attention to how you’ll freeze.  Make note of how uncomfortable you will get.  Feel that grow.  Also pay attention to your facial expression and how you probably won’t blink as you wait for their reply.

THAT is what you look and listen for when you think you’ve run up on a lie. 

And when you see or hear anything similar?  Pause, wait to see if they say anything else during the awkward silence.  Then say “Really… tell me more about that”.   

At that point you’ll know if your best friend is lying.  Trust me.  You’ll know.  Follow me here on Twitter @ScottRouse3.