Monday, June 17, 2024

Dr. Love – Puzzled by a best friend’s opinion

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Dear Doctor Love,

I met an awesome guy a few weeks ago. We have had two dates and I would like for this thing to go further but at the same time, I am kind of worried. My best friend, who has been like my twin since high school, does not trust my new guy. She says that there is something about him that makes her believe he is a natural born liar. With anyone else I would just laughed something like this off, but my friend and I have been through a lot together over the years. One thing I have learned is that when it comes to people, she can read them like a book. Every time she has warned me about someone, it always turns out she is right. I don’t know how she does it but she does. Believe me, she would like to see me in a good relationship and happily married like she is but she says this is not the guy and that there is definitely something wrong with him.

How does that work? How is it that she can tell there is a problem and I can’t?

Also, I only met this guy a few weeks ago and when we met he had no reason to lie to me about himself. Why would he?

/s/ Puzzled

– – – –

Dear Puzzled,

First, let’s look at the reasons why people usually lie at the beginning of a relationship. Here are some of the reasons: 1) To make themselves look better than they really feel that they are. 2) To hide something 3) Because they think it will help them avoid being rejected. 4) To keep from being embarrassed about something.

Most of these reasons are related to each other and all of them seem to come down to one: To make themselves look better than they feel they are.

There are several dozen cues that professionals, like detectives, the school principal or your mom, look for to decide whether or not a subject is lying. The problem with these, is that they are all related to stressful situations where the person being questioned does not want to look bad.

What was that? Yes, you are right. It is exactly the same situation as the beginning of a relationship, when people want to look their best. Unlike detectives, we do not have lie detector machines to tell us when the people we are interested in are lying. We have to rely on the same skills used by mothers, school principals and wives.

The basic skill used by these experts is one of congruency, which means that everything fits together. A person whose body language, their words, and even the way they dress all fit together is congruent. If anything is out of place, it strikes a note that is jarring to someone who is skilled at reading people.

Here is an example: You meet a guy who is well spoken and well dressed. He is quiet, somewhat reserved and acts mature. He orders a drink that the bartender and no one else at the bar has ever heard of, then goes into excruciating detail of how the drink is to be made. Upon observing this, the skilled reader of congruency can make two different assumptions.

One is that the guy is a jerk who is trying to impress people. Ask your friend what the other assumption could possibly be. She will know right away.

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