Alyssa has me hooked on short videos put out by TEDTalks:
TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk…
The Roof In Delaware
While in Delaware a couple weeks ago (I’ll tell you where, why and what happened in another post), I had a really nice view from my hotel room. Since I’m not a party girl, don’t really venture out on my own alone especially in a strange city and because the bed was so comfortable, I was in my hotel room all night starting at about 6:00 p.m.
Of course, I took my camera on the trip as well as my new phone, so I had the means and location to take lots of photos. While looking out across the street at the rooftop of a red brick building, I could see there were people on it. Since it was so far away, I couldn’t distinguish much other than the fact that I was pretty sure they were human.
I wanted to get a better view, so I grabbed my camera and zoomed in on the rooftop. There were four men:
- Orange Man – orange shirt, blue jeans, tan work boots, bald, Bluetooth in his right ear, sometimes sat and sometimes stood, sometimes had a black bag of some kind
- White Hair Man – white shirt, blue jeans, white hair, didn’t move much, sat on the edge and I was afraid he was going to fall off
- Suit Man – navy suit coat, khaki Docker type slacks, light blue dress shirt, brown shoes, brown hair, remained sitting in a chair the whole time and seemed to be in the center of the conversation
- Vest Man – black vest, black slacks, black tie, black shoes, white shirt, brown hair, never sat down
The men had no idea I was watching them, but I watched them for a long time fascinated by the scene and unable to hear a word they were saying to each other. Well, I was unable to hear any verbal communication, but I was able to read a bit of their body language. Obviously I took pictures of the scene.
TEDTalks With Pamela Meyer – How To Spot A Liar
While surfing through the TEDTalks, I landed on one video with Pamela Meyer called How To Spot A Liar. This title caught my attention because I have been gullible to lies in relationships with people that made lying an art form. So I’ve watched it three times this week and finally decided that I would share some of the highlights of what I’ve learned and explain what it has anything to do with the men on the roof in Delaware.
Pamela Meyer taught us a little bit about lie spotting.
Lying is a cooperative act – A lie has no power all by itself. A lies power emerges when someone agrees to believe the lie.
At first I disagreed with her core statement, but by the end of the talk, I agreed with Pamela.
Some lies are not harmful. They include secrets that should be kept secrets and lies to retain social dignity (No dear, those pants don’t make your butt look fat.) On the other hand, we are sometimes unwilling participants in deception which cause a loss in money, compromises security and can even cause death.
Everyone is willing to give you something for whatever you are hungry for. If you don’t want to be deceived, you have to know what it is you are hungry for and where you are the most gullible. Lying is an attempt to bridge the gap, to connect our wishes and fantasies about who we wish we were, how we wish we could be, with what we’re really like.
Including the “white lies,” we are told 10-200 lies each day. They break down like this:
- strangers lie to us an average of 3 times within the first 10 minutes of meeting each other
- we lie more to strangers than co-workers
- extroverts lie more than introverts
- men lie 8 times more about themselves than other people
- women lie to protect other people
- married couples lie 1 out of every 10 interactions
- unmarried people lie 3 out of every 10 interactions
People are against lying, but covertly for it – we are hard wired to become the leader of the pack and that requires different forms of lying.
Our society is filled with lies in spam, fake social media friends, identity thieves and Ponzi schemes to name a few. So how do we spot a liar? The two ways to spot a liar is in their speech and body language. Some of the body language tells for lying include:
- liars freeze the upper body
- a liar looks you in the eyes too much
- the smile is fake on a liar- the cheeks and lips can fake a smile, but it won’t contract the same muscles around the eyes
- during speaking, a liar will pause, give too much detail, and tell the lie in chronological order
- liars look down often
- liars have contradictory movements between body and language – For example, a liar will say “no” while nodding “yes”
- a liar exhibits “duping delight” which means they smile briefly with delight because they feel they are getting by with the lie
- a liar shows contempt with lip pulled up on one side
- liars blink too often
- a liar often sits with their feet pointed towards the exit
- liars alter their vocal tone lower
- a lair places barrier objects between themselves and people interviewing/talking to them
These actions alone do not guarantee that the person is a liar, but clusters of the actions at the same time should shoot up a red flag about the person’s behavior.
When Pamela said, “Character is who you are in the dark,” it hit me HARD this time. Our lives are very public with Instagram, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, texting and the list just goes on and on. We put ourselves out in the world to be seen and so much of our life is totally transparent. Hiding behind a computer gives people a voice to not only be accepted, but to lie and/or be lied to and ridiculed.
So how do we spot a liar in all the noise of our modern world? We have to combine science with the art of looking and listening to recognize deception. By doing this, we exempt our self from collaborating in a lie because our verbal and non-verbal message is that my world is honest. It will also declare that falsehoods are recognized and not tolerated.
Being Honest Up On The Roof
What does lying have to do with the men on the roof?
The men on the roof represent the people we talk to on the internet, but do not know or have not met face-to-face. We can see them when they are on the roof, but we can’t see or hear everything that happens on the roof. We only know what we are told. In many ways, we have to trust people somewhat blindly or not trust them at all.
In our everyday lives, the men on the roof exist. They have jobs, transportation and families. They sleep, eat, get sick, laugh, cry, etc. I know all those things about the men on the roof without even speaking to them. However, the differences between us would be very apparent after getting to know them face-to-face over the course of the next ten years.
After watching the men on the roof for a considerable amount of time, it became apparent that Suit Man was either the boss or held a job of higher authority. I could also tell that Orange Man was basically a quiet guy and White Hair Man didn’t like drama nor did he want to be up on the roof. That left energetic and talkative Vest Man who was very expressive with his body language. He laughed, smiled and made all kinds of faces while talking to Suit Man. The dynamics of the relationship between the men on the roof was fascinating.
So it is equally fascinating that we are all online with a relationship that is transparent yet secret, honest yet deceptive and real but fake. Like I said yesterday, I didn’t know the truth until six months into the relationship, and by then my personality flaws held me captive. Honesty is vital in a relationship or the relationship is false and where does that get us? Who knew I could learn so much by watching strangers on a roof or talking to strangers on the Internet?