I’m always disappointed when a liar’s pants don’t actually catch fire

“I’m always disappointed when a liar’s pants don’t actually catch fire.”

—Eric Barker, author of WSJ bestseller Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Image from Unsplash by Pawel Czerwinski

What clues do you use to tell if someone is lying to you? Words alone do not tell the whole story, and many experts suggest we examine the 93% of communication that is nonverbal.

Some things to look for:

The hands can be a good place to start. People who lie are more likely to use both of their hand to make gestures.  They also tend to face their palms away from the person they are lying to, an unconscious move that indicates they are purposefully withholding information. They may even put their hands up to their mouths briefly, a sign there is something they don’t want to reveal.

The mouth is another area to examine. Pursing or tensing the lips is a reflex often seen that indicates that a person may be lying by omission and does not want to say more about a topic.

The eyes can also offer a window into someone who is lying. Not looking someone in the eyes or even a stare down hyper focus can offer clues. Rapid blinking is another tell to consider.


Consider checking out Eric Barker’s new book Plays Well with Others to discover his “Cognitive Load” technique to lie detection along with many other witty and scientifically backed ideas to enhance our capacities to work and relate better with others.

“Tell a lie once and all your truths become questionable.”

“Tell a lie once and all your truths become questionable.”

—Author Unknown

Who are the people in your professional and personal life that you trust implicitly? How do they rate in terms of honesty and integrity?

Alternatively, who are those you do not trust? To what degree do these people stretch the truth, exaggerate, or simply out-and-out lie in order to look good, avoid accountability, or pursue other self-centered objectives?

Trusting relationships are the foundation of strong personal and professional partnerships, and this strength can easily be broken. Once observed, future doubt tends to creep in and undermine what may have taken many years to build.


What can and will you do to strengthen, repair, or rebuild the level of trust with those closest to you?

Consider checking out my Trust-o-Meter Assessment for some strategies that may help.

“A lie never lives to be old.”

“A lie never lives to be old.”

—Sophocles, ancient Greek tragedian

Image from Unsplash by Bahram Bayat

How well do you sleep at night? How much do you like who you see when you look in the mirror? To what degree do you keep secrets, fib a bit to spare someone’s feelings, or perhaps keep silent on one or more of your most important beliefs?

Such behaviors are becoming increasingly difficult to hide due to our gossip-starved, always on, hyper-connected world. The media actually keeps count of out-and-out lies, half truths, and perceptional sleight-of-hands many politicians and celebrities exhibit.

Beyond the idea that lies never live to be old, consider the actual aging caused by the insidious toxic effect for all of us when exposed.


Where in either your personal or professional life would greater truth set you and others free, so you can get a much better night’s sleep?