In this article, we will discuss Do empaths lie?. We will do that by discussing empaths and lying. This will follow up with a detailed discussion on lying and its signs.
Do empaths lie?
Yes and no. It is a difficult question to answer because there are always individual differences. So, one answer does not apply to all empaths. There might be some empaths who don’t lie, some might tell white lies, or some might be dark empaths who have actually told lies with the intention to hurt others. Furthermore, there is no scientific evidence that has associated empaths with lying behavior.
However, we do have some indicators that are partially backed by research that can tell whether someone is lying or not. If you want to know whether empaths lie or not, use them in your evaluation. Similarly, if you want to know whether empaths can detect the lies of others or not, then empaths with high intuition may be able to pick out a person’s patterns of lying.
Empaths are people who can understand the world from another person’s perspective. They can detect the emotions of another person and understand their feelings. They are warm and compassionate people who extend their help to people who need it. Sometimes, they absorb the feelings of other people which can overwhelm them and affect their mental health.
Empaths and Lying
Empaths have a strong intuition based on which they can often pick out when someone is trying to lie to them or deceive them. They also try to live life honestly and usually try their best to live a lie free life. However, there are always individual differences. Being able to detect the emotions of others does not preclude them from whether they are dishonest or not. These are two separate behaviors. So presenting empaths as people who can never do anything wrong would be misleading.
One study has shown that being deceptive can impair our ability to read other people and affect our relationships negatively. Julie lee conducted 8 experiments in which she compared empathic accuracy i.e. ability to correctly identify another person’s emotions versus deception. She found that as people continue to lie, their ability to identify/read the emotions of other people gradually lowers down.
So, this may point to the idea that people who lie a lot may have reduced empathic ability in detecting the emotions of others. There are also dark empaths i.e. empaths who have the empathic ability and the dark triad traits. It can include traits of narcissism, psychopaths, and Machiavellianism. So, it is highly likely that these personalities while being empathic also use lying as a tool to manipulate others for their self-benefit.
Lying and its signs
The dictionary defines lying as ‘ intentionally making up a false statement with the intention to deceive’.
We know that dishonesty and lying are common human behaviors. A survey indicated that 96% of people admitted that they lie at least sometimes. So it is possible that empaths are part of this population like any other person. Many people lie but the nature of these lies can range from white lies that are intended to protect someone to lies actually intended to hurt someone.
It is difficult to identify when people are being dishonest. Although there is no true science of telling whether someone is lying or not, there are a few indicators that when combined, can give a general idea of whether someone is lying or not. This also includes having a gut feeling when someone is trying to deceive you. With practice, one can become better at detecting lies as well.
Research on body language and deception suggests a few giveaways of lying behavior. These include the following red flags:
- A liar is usually someone who prefers ambiguity in his conversation and offers little details.
- The flip back questions rather than answering them.
- They break down their sentences into fragments.
- They cannot offer a satisfactory answer when their story is challenged.
- They utilize grooming behaviors while lying including playing with hair or putting fingers to their lips etc.
According to a lead researcher, R. Edward Geiselman:
“Without training, many people think they can detect deception, but their perceptions are unrelated to their actual ability. Quick, inadequate training sessions lead people to over-analyze and to do worse than if they go with their gut reactions.”
A few tips for detecting lying include the following:
Do not completely rely on body language alone
Usually, people have a tendency to focus on physical or behavioral signs when they try to detect deceptive behavior. However, focusing on these alone does not give reliable results. e.g. Howard Ehrlichman, a psychologist, found that eye movements that have been popularly associated with signs of lying do not actually indicate lying. They may be related to the idea that someone is trying to think of trying to recall information.
So, instead of focusing on individual signs and behaviors of deception, one should focus on the overall body language.
Focus on the right signs
It is important that while trying to detect lying behavior, one focuses on the right indicators. These include:
Vagueness: the speaker is ambiguous and vague in their conversation and leaves out important information.
Vocal uncertainty: the speaker seems unsure or uncertain in their tone
Indifference: The speaker exhibits body language of indifference e.g. Shrugging, blank expression, bored posture. It could be that the person is actively trying to avoid expressing emotions for fear of being caught in a lie.
Overthinking: the speaker thinks too hard while adding details to their story
Request for the story in reverse.
Whenever you ask someone to tell their story in reverse instead of in chronological order, the liar may have difficulty doing so. This is because lying can be quite hard and if cognitive complexity is added to it, behavioral indicators of lying become more apparent. Liars also monitor their behaviors with more effort to ensure their credibility which makes it easy to spot cracks in their story.
Trust your gut reactions.
A lot of the time, simple gut or instinctive reactions can tell us whether someone is lying or not. However, many times people consciously try to identify dishonesty which can hamper their instincts in detecting lies.
In the end, we would just like to say that if you ever suspect that an empath is lying, consider the above signs while making your assessment. If you are an empath yourself and wonder whether other empaths lie or not, honestly ask yourself this question first without any biases or defenses. Do not try to deceive yourself by placing empaths on moral high ground in comparison to everyone else. Include white lies and little lies as well in this self-evaluation. You will find your answer much easier. Remember that, there’s nothing wrong even if you find that empaths do or do not lie. We are all just humans prone to making mistakes. Just try to learn from them.
FAQs: Do empaths lie?
Can empaths be manipulative?
Yes, empaths can be manipulative if they have negative traits in their personality, especially dark triad traits. These people can use their understanding of the feelings of others to manipulate them.
Why you should never lie to an empath?
One should not lie to an empath especially if they have high intuition because they might be able to detect that you are lying or trying to deceive them. This is because they are sensitive in detecting tone, emotions, and body language changes of a person which can help them detect when someone is trying to deceive them.
Are empaths intelligent?
Yes. it is highly possible that empaths are high in emotional intelligence which helps them detect the emotions of others and use that information for modifying their behavior to act according to the situation.
In this article, we discussed Do empaths lie?. We found that it is a difficult question to answer because there are always individual differences. So, one answer does not apply to all empaths. There might be some empaths who don’t lie, some might tell white lies, or some might be dark empaths who have actually told lies with the intention to hurt others. Furthermore, there is no scientific evidence that has associated empaths with lying behavior.
However, we do have some indicators that are partially backed by research that can tell whether someone is lying or not. If you want to know whether empaths lie or not, use them in your evaluation. Similarly, if you want to know whether empaths can detect the lies of others or not, then we can say that empaths with high intuition may be able to pick out a person’s patterns of lying.
I hope you found this article interesting. If you have any queries or comments, please state them in the comment section 😊
Lee, J. J., Hardin, A. E., Parmar, B., & Gino, F. (2019). The interpersonal costs of dishonesty: How dishonest behavior reduces individuals’ ability to read others’ emotions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.