June 19th, 2007 by Nina Atwood
Since a significant number of singles (30% of men and 19% of women) using dating web sites believe that it’s okay to lie, that puts the responsibility for detecing liars squarely on you. But how can you tell if someone is being honest with you or not? First the truth about liars – there are some people who are able to con almost anyone, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you get fooled. And don’t expect to develop a 100% accurate internal lie detector. In fact, studies indicate that the average person’s ability to detect deception is about 50% accurate, not much better than a coin toss.
You can, however, improve your ability to detect dishonesty. One way to do that is to put what you hear in context – the context of other data points about the person’s life. If someone brags about business success but never seems to have much money, your internal b***sh** meter should go off. If someone says she’s single, but is never available on the weekends, never invites you to her home, and only gives you a cell phone number, beware. As you get to know someone, ask questions about other areas of the person’s life, put the pieces together, and never let physical attraction sway you from seeing the whole picture.
One other way to detect liars is to pay attention to how much communication you initially receive online, in chat rooms, or via text messages. One group of Cornell researchers found that people engaged in online deception used far more words than those being truthful. It seemed that the deceivers felt the need to embellish their stories in an attempt to make them seem more believable. So, beware the overly wordy online admirer.