If you recognize these 7 behaviors, you’re dealing with a serial liar

We all know that lying is widespread among children.

In fact, a whopping 96 percent of little ones are guilty of telling fibs.

But here’s the thing, most of us grow out of it!

That is, unless you’re a serial liar.

These real-life Pinocchios continue to consistently lie through their teeth even into adulthood. It could be triggered by a traumatic experience, low self-esteem, or a desire to create a false sense of self.

How to spot serial liars?

Look out for these seven behaviors that give the game away.

1) They have no (obvious) reason to lie

This is a big one. 

Because lying without reason distinguishes immature childish fibs from something more serious.

Let me explain.

We all remember sneaking an extra cookie as a child (I know I do).

When confronted by our parents, we’d fiercely deny it (despite having crumbs all around our mouths).

But at least we had a clear reason to lie (to avoid punishment).

This is what serial liars lack.

On the face of it, they don’t seem to have an obvious reason.

You might come out of a conversation thinking how amazing (but far-fetched) their story was. You’ll probably give them the benefit of the doubt because why the heck would they have made all that up?

It seems like a lot of effort.

The fact of the matter is, they DO have a reason (it’s just complicated).

They could be trying to reinvent themselves to appear more interesting or fit in. Maybe they just crave the attention, or they’re trying to impress.

The bottom line.

Their reasons for lying are much more complex (and less obvious) than simply avoiding punishment.

2) Their emotions don’t match their words

Telling fake stories is one thing, but displaying fake emotions is way more difficult.

You need Oscar-level acting skills!

Hence, it’s usually a slamdunk giveaway for spotting serial liars.

Let’s say your friend is sharing a traumatic story about splitting up with an ex-partner or losing a loved one.

If you can’t detect any sadness in their tone, it could mean they’re being untruthful.

It’s not always that simple, though.

Some people use humor to mask pain. Maybe they joke about unfortunate events in their life as a coping mechanism.

So you must have a good understanding of their character before you label them a liar.

Basically, look for emotional inconsistencies in their behavior over time.

3) They love attention

Attention-seeking is common among serial liars.

Besides their dubious stories, do they also fish for compliments, seek sympathy, display jealousy, or often feel lonely?

Because all these are telltale signs of someone who absolutely craves attention.

And they’ll do anything to get it (including lie).

Pay close attention while they’re talking. Especially to large groups.

Most of us are somewhat intimidated or nervous to broadcast to the whole room. Attention-seekers, on the other hand, feel perfectly at home and even enjoy the experience.

4) They’re unaffected if caught out

Serial liars seldom display remorse.

They may even go as far as to downplay their dishonesty or blame someone else.

In a recent example, a popular YouTuber got caught stealing from his viewers. When presented with the evidence, he blamed the fans:

“Part of the responsibility is on the fans for putting too much emotion into it.”

Serial liars do this to protect their ego.

After all, it feels more comfortable to point the finger and not be accountable than to accept you’ve made a mistake (or been caught lying).

It stems from their fragile self-esteem.

They may even stack lies upon lies in an attempt to dig themselves out of a hole. Creating more and more elaborate stories.

5) They’re charming (and manipulative)

Serial liars are usually charming and articulate people.

After all, they’ve had plenty of storytelling practice over the years. They’ve learned exactly how to manipulate and persuade people.

This usually involves a good sense of humor (even if it’s not completely authentic).

Here’s the thing.

They understand that humor is a powerful weapon in their arsenal of deceit.

It’s not only the most important quality we look for in a partner but humor also puts us at ease and makes us feel more comfortable around people.

And for good reason.

Humor is great for dealing with stress and depression, and has even been linked to improving cancer treatment. The physical act of laughing literally lowers blood pressure and muscle tension.

6) They lack empathy

This is a no-brainer.

If you’re going to tell lies and mislead people for your own gain, you definitely lack empathy.

Pathological liars don’t care about the consequences of their actions or how their lies will affect others.

It’s simply not on their mind.

They’re too concerned with protecting their ego, fitting in socially, and being liked.

In fact, empathetic behavior is super important when it comes to spotting a serial liar.

Think about it.

It’s how you distinguish between little white lies (that we all tell from time to time) and more calculated lies.

Take this example (we’ve all been there).

Someone cooks us a bland meal and asks how it was.

We might lie because we’re empathetic (and polite). Thanking them and telling them how delicious it was to not hurt their feelings.

Whereas serial liars are much more calculated and firmly have their own (unempathetic) interests in mind.

7) They display unusual body language

Body language is huge when it comes to recognizing a serial liar.

Did you know that a massive 55 percent of communication is done through non-verbal cues?

In other words, it’s pretty hard to hide.

There’s a reason why lie detectors (which monitor these things) are up to 80 percent accurate.

If you suspect someone of being a serial liar, pay close attention to their eye contact, defensive body language (like folding their arms or pulling their earlobes), and fidgety behavior.

As with all the behaviors listed, in isolation, they may not tell you much. But if you spot them consistently over time, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a serial liar.

It’s also important to remember why they’re lying. They probably have some deep-rooted issues that need attention. Professional help is always a good recommendation.

Leila El-Dean

Leila is a passionate writer with a background in photography and art. She has over ten years of experience in branding, marketing, and building websites. She loves travelling and has lived in several countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, and Malta. When she’s not writing (or ogling cats), Leila loves trying new food and drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea.

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