It’s not unusual for online daters to fib a bit in their profiles about details like their height or their body type. But it’s hard to know when someone is flat-out lying to you in a message, or an email or text, because you don’t have access to real-life cues like their body language and facial expressions. The Wall Street Journal interviewed intelligence expert Tyler Cohen Wood, who has some tips on how to detect a stealth liar by picking up on the following:
- They heavily emphasize or repeat everything they’re saying to you.
- They omit personal pronouns and don’t make references to themselves in stories.
- They hedge their answers to your questions, or change the subject altogether.
- They “tee-up” by using expressions like “to be honest” and “there is nothing to worry about” to mitigate the blow of whatever they’re about to tell you next.
- They “tense hop,” like when they use the present tense halfway through describing a past event.
So what should you do if you suspect an online paramour isn’t been straight up with you? The WSJ suggests if someone’s email or text seems off, you should “ask the person if he or she would mind switching immediately to phone or Skype” or “ask for a real-time photo stamped with the time and date.” And, I guess, pray that your date isn’t secretly armed with wizard-level Photoshop skills.