Dating red flags: Expert reveals how to spot if your date is lying

·5-min read
"Actually, I own a Champagne house myself...." can you tell when your date is lying? (Getty Images)
"Actually, I own a Champagne house myself...." can you tell when your date is lying? (Getty Images)

Dating is stressful enough as it is. Not knowing whether you can trust that attractive stranger with a GSOH who's waiting in the pub makes it terrifying. If only there was a way to swiftly assess whether they're a safe bet - or are lying from 'Hello' onwards.

Luckily for singles everywhere, there just might be a simple technique you can use to work out if your date is truthful or dealing a pack of fibs - and it's all down to eye movements.

Counselling Psychologist Dr Georgina Barnett says you can often determine whether a person is being dishonest. Key signs, she explains, are, "They hold eye contact with you for too long – more than is natural or typical. Or they cover their eyes with their hands."

She also warns that a liar might "block their eyes with something else, like a phone, or let their eyes dart around. Equally, they might avoid eye contact altogether."

She adds: “Many people believe that if someone is looking at them straight in the eye that this is an indication of a truthful exchange, but actually practiced and habitual liars tend to use eye contact to fool you – they engage in greater eye contact than the average person to do this.

"Often, they hardly blink as they try to hold your gaze," she says.

Brussels, Belgium
"And that was when I escaped from the tiger, with the orphaned twins..." (Getty Images)

“Facial expressions and eye contact that is held for too long is usually contrived and can indicate dishonesty. It is a strategy on the part of the liar to manipulate you into thinking they are being honest as they are displaying behaviours we associate with truth.

“Holding a gaze, but with a ‘poker face’ and lack of eye movement is another version of this sustained expression which indicates lying. The liar is usually desperate to control their features, and it is the micro expressions such as a slight sneer, wrinkled nose or closed lips, which can indicate deception in these situations as they are beyond our conscious control."

Read more: How to tell if someone is lying to you: Signs someone is not telling the truth

When it comes to spotting further 'tells', Barnett adds, “people squint when they are uncomfortable, rub their foreheads and necks, their eyelids may flutter significantly, and a further sign is the eye block – covering their eyes for a second or closing them which is something we all do in moments of stress to block the experience for a moment.

"You may also see increased perspiration and flushing in the face."

"No, I'm single right now. Absolutely single. Singler than you could imagine." (Getty Images)
"No, I'm single right now. Absolutely single. Singler than you could imagine." (Getty Images)

“Less confident or nervous liars will often manifest the more common behaviours we associate with liars. People’s eyes may dart around the room or to the left or right for a few seconds to give themselves a few seconds of reprieve from the guilt they are experiencing by looking into the other persons eyes.

"They may also avoid eye contact as far as possible because of the emotion and discomfort being triggered."

Read more: Elon Musk has this test to spot a liar and it works

But are you right to be so cautious? Very much so, according to a new survey of 2000 people by Lenstore. One in eight (16%) admit they lie to their partner or people they’re dating most often. Alarmingly, one in 12 (8%) have lied about being unfaithful in a relationship and a further 8% have fibbed about who they’re dating right now or have dated in the past.

It may not amaze you to find that men lie more often than women. Millennials lie the most, and are also most likely to have told particularly taboo untruths about a family emergency, death, or funeral.

On average, Brits admit to telling three lies every week.

Young Asian woman looking at the watch to wait for friends or someone at a cafe with hanging on cloth mask with neck strap or lanyard for anti lost or forgotten at the coffee cafe.
"Oh no, is that the time? I have a thing I can't miss. In another city." (Getty Images)

Top ten most common lies

1 Saying you’re busy to avoid doing something / seeing someone (38% have done this)

2 Saying you’ve not seen messages / emails when you actually have (30%)

3 Saying you’re OK / well when you aren’t (27%)

4 Saying you’re sick when you’re not (24%)

5 Saying you like a gift you don’t actually like (23%)

6 Saying you’re happy when you aren’t (19%)

7 Saying that something cost more / less than it actually did (15%)

8 Saying that your Wi-Fi battery died when it hadn’t (15%)

9 Saying that you liked a meal someone made when you didn’t (15%)

10 Saying you like someone’s outfit when you don’t’ (14.5%)

Middle aged male couple eating evening meal in a restaurant
"Oh, I love Uzbekistan... or do you mean Uttoxeter?" (Getty Images)

According to the survey, these are the lies you're most likely to hear on a first date:

Their job (6% have lied about this)

Where they’ve travelled to (6%)

The languages they can speak (6%)

Their favourite music (6%)

Their favourite TV/films (5%)

The TV shows or films they’ve seen (4%)

How to be confident that someone is telling the truth:

Barnett explains, "If they're being honest, their eye contact and expression will align with other gestures such as nodding or shaking their head, rather than being out of sync.

"The eyes will widen and be expressive, as people who are telling the truth tend to be animated and earnest which will show through dilated pupils, open eyes and sometimes raised eyebrows."

Watch: How to spot a liar

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