Dear Sandra

March 12, 2003

Dear Sandra,

Are there any ways to tell if someone is lying is or not? I think my boyfriend may be lying to me about his past, but I have no way to prove it.

Doubtful in Moncton

Dear Doubtful,

If you feel that he’s lying, he probably is. Gut feelings are usually right.

Physically, liars generally maintain more eye contact than truth-tellers. Don’t believe the shifty-eye theory we’ve all come to associate with liars. They do blink frequently and may have dilated pupils, which may be the body’s unconscious response to fear or anxiety. Watch their lips too. Tightly pressed together lips indicated that the person is holding something back. The hands can also signal a liar. Liars tend to use their hands less than those who are more sincere, unless it’s to cover their mouth. Fibbers also tip up their chins and hold their bodies tensely.

When your lover is spouting a story to you if it’s in chronological order and sentiment-free the liar alert light in your brain should start flashing. True stories tend to be sprinkled with spontaneous emotional details. LIAR version: I had supper and went to bed. TRUTHFUL version: I had spaghetti for supper, which I haven’t had in a while, and was so relaxed afterward that I drifted off to sleep early. I needed that extra sleep after the stressful week I had.

If you truly believe he’s lying, confront him. Ask for proof if the lying is important to you or about something major, like the number of children he has. If its just little white lies about his past, like him telling you he was an all-star basketball player in school, I wouldn’t worry too much it.



This column is for entertainment only. Sandra is not a professional counsellor, but is an AU student who would like to give personal advice about school and life to her peers. Please forward your questions to Sandra care of