Let me preface this article by saying that I am not in support of dishonesty.
Well, it’s because lying is a bad thing (as you must already know). Dishonesty can foster distrust, cause pain, destroy friendships, hurt your family and cause chaos in your life. Lying should only be used as a survival tool. It should never be used to commit a crime or put yourself or other people in danger.
I really believe that honesty is the best policy.
However, life has a way of putting people in difficult situations where it would be convenient to actually be a good liar. Like when your boss wants you to work on your day off. Or when the guy you met on Tinder asks you to go hiking with him as a first date. Or when that person who’s not really your friend asks you to be her bridesmaid.
When you find yourself in situations like this, it’s only a very believable lie that can get you out of the net. If you want to become a better liar, there are certain strategies you can use to easily convince people that you’re telling the truth.
Let’s dig in!
Losing your confidence is one of the surest ways to give away the fact that you’re not being truthful in the moment. The major cause of losing confidence while telling a lie is the thought that the person you’re lying to knows that you aren’t being honest.
The truth is, the person you’re lying to most likely has no idea that you’re lying. According to studies conducted, humans can only tell when someone is lying 50 percent of the time. This means that when someone is trying to assess whether you’re being truthful or not, there is always a ‘shadow of doubt’.
If you trust yourself, put on a brave face and become confident, there’s a good chance you’ll get away with the lie. You have the advantage because you’re the only one who knows for sure that you’re lying.
I cannot emphasize this enough. It is not enough to just memorize the details of your lie; your emotions also have to be completely on point when you’re telling a lie. This concept is pretty self-explanatory.
If you’re lying to someone that a distant relative of yours passed away earlier that week, it is important that your expression is a sad/somber one. You cannot tell such a sad story (or lie!) with a smile on your face. That would give the lie away immediately.
When lying, act like you’ve never acted before. Let your mannerisms, your expressions and your emotions blend seamlessly with your lie. Don’t sound mechanical or robotic when lying. If your lie has a happy undertone, make sure you smile, giggle or laugh. Don’t keep a straight face while recounting the wonderful time you supposedly had on a vacation you never even went on.
Avoid bad body language
This one is extremely crucial if you want to become a better liar. It is even more crucial if the person you’re lying to knows how to read body language. Many people tense up when telling lies. They stiffen their lips, fidget, and slow their breathing. This is understandable; lying is generally not a good thing. However, this obvious tension exhibited by the liar gives away the lie immediately, which is not ideal.
These little tips will help you sync your body language with your lie.
- Relax your lips. Stiffening of the lips usually happens to inexperienced liars. In fact, it is the first thing body language experts look for when studying the body language of a person during a questioning. They know that testifiers usually compress their lips just before saying something untrue. Relaxing your lips can help you convince people that you’re telling the truth.
- Breathe easily. An increase in breathing and hyperventilation usually indicates nervousness and discomfort. This is why it is important to breathe easily as you normally would in any situation while telling a lie. Don’t even try to take a deep breath. If you do, it could be seen as a sign that you’re gearing up to tell a lie.
- Don’t touch your neck. When people are anxious or nervous, they unconsciously reach for the dimple of their necks. Sometimes, they run their fingers and palms across their necks. Body language experts know this and they look out for this sign of dishonesty. Keeping your hands away from your neck while telling a lie increases your chances of getting away with the lie.
- Face the person you are lying to. Many people don’t like to look squarely at the person they’re lying to. Sometimes, the conversation can become so difficult that you may slightly shift in your seat and turn your body away from the person you’re lying to. This is a clear sign that you’re lying and the other person might pick up on this. Therefore, to become a better liar, you have to resist the temptation to turn your face or body away while telling a lie.
- Don’t play around your eyes. While lying, it is important that you don’t reach for your glasses or rub at your eyes. Instead, keep your hands visible—especially your thumbs—and in a natural position to avoid suspicion.
Inexperienced liars tend to speak really fast in a high-pitched voice when lying because of the tension and discomfort caused by the act. Oftentimes, they even stumble over their words. These changes in their natural speech pattern alert the listener to the fact that the speaker is not being straight with them.
To become a better liar, you have to convince your listener of a lie, but you shouldn’t repeat the information you’re to pass across too much. Try to speak the way you usually speak: soft-voiced and a bit recklessly. Use the regular inflections you have in your normal speaking voice to lie. This way, it will be much harder for your listener to detect that you are not being truthful.
Manipulation is at the core of every lie a person tells. To become a better liar, you have to be a Machiavellian. This means that you must be pragmatic but not anxious, and cunning but not dense. Dominate the conversation but remain calm.
Machiavellians understand that to properly manipulate someone with a lie, there must be a good reason. They do not lie too much; they are not pathological liars. You shouldn’t be a pathological liar too. It’s incredibly difficult to keep track of too many lies, and, once you’re caught lying on several occasions, people will be reluctant t trust you. People who cannot help themselves and tell too many lies get caught in their web of deceit very easily.
To become a good liar, learn to tell lies only when you have something to gain, only when you absolutely have to. If you’re a truthful person most of the time, it is much easier to manipulate people because you’ve already gotten them to trust you through your usual honest disposition.
Root your lies in truth
The golden rule of telling better lies: If you need to lie, tell as much truth as possible.
This might seem counterintuitive but it makes a lot of sense, I promise. The foundation of every lie should be something that is true, something you’re very familiar with. You shouldn’t fabricate lies from nowhere and tell them; it makes it easier for you to get caught.
Let me explain what I mean. Say, you are running late on a date with your partner because you went shopping and spent way more money than they would be comfortable with. If you must tell a lie, don’t say you were running late because you went to visit your sick aunt who lives miles away from your home. Instead, tell them that you went to the store and, on getting there, you had to wait in line because the store was crowded. Tell them everything that happened except the overspending part.
You know enough about the store. You know what they sell, how inefficient the clerks can get, how crowded the place can be, etc. If you include these truths in your lie, it becomes easier for you to commit to the lie because the lie consists of things you’re familiar with.
The more honest you can be while lying (I know, it’s ironic but stay with me), the easier it will be to tell the lie, and convince someone else that you’re, in fact, saying the truth. It also helps you avoid follow-up questions which can prove very disconcerting, especially if you’re not a very experienced liar.
Don’t tell many lies
This is actually an extension of the previous point because it is the most important one.
Lying is a potentially destructive habit if one gets used to it. As mentioned earlier, the best way to manipulate people into believing your lies is to keep your lies to a minimum. The fewer lies you tell, the less stressful it will be to manage them.
Use your lies wisely. Think of your chances to be dishonest as ‘lives’ you have in the game of life. Keep them limited and try as hard as you possibly can to not get into a situation where you have to use a ‘life’ (lie) to survive. The more you lie, the greater your chances are of getting caught.
However, all lies require brainpower and you need to know how to manage them no matter how many they are. As mentioned in the point above, add as much truth to the lie. This makes the lie more believable and much easier to remember.
For instance, you broke a vase because you threw a football in the house while playing with your cat. You get scared and decide to blame the cat if you’re asked about the broken vase.
When you do get asked, you could say that you were playing with the cat at one point. When you finished, you placed the football on the center table. But the cat, still in play mode, went to get the ball and knocked over the vase in the process.
The main point of the lie you told and the actual truth is the same: the football was the reason the vase broke. As long as the main truth is present in your lie, you can easily shuffle the less important details.
To become a better liar, you have to be very cautious and attentive to your body language and the details of your fake story. Things will become easier for you if you follow these seven steps.
- Be confident
- Act well
- Avoid bad body language
- Speak generally
- Be manipulative
- Root your lies in truth
- Don’t tell many lies