Jana Hocking on three words that liars say on first dates

Imagine if you could read people’s mind, find out what makes them tick, spot the red flags early and avoid bad dates. Better yet … bad relationships.

No more dating f-boys, the emotionally unavailable, or the time wasters.

Well, it turns out you can.

I discovered this during a chat with Scott Taylor, who is famously known as “the human lie detector”.

Taylor is a security expert with a profound understanding of human behaviour and deception detection. He has received training from the head of the behaviour unit of the FBI (the FBI, people!) and the lead interrogator at Guantanamo Bay. Safe to say, the man is more than qualified. Yep he can spot a big fat liar a mile away.

So I begged him for guidance in this mad, bad dating world and he really provided.

Scott started the chat with a shocking statistic. He revealed that 80 per cent of people lie on their dating profile. The lies are usually to do with age, or body shape, where they live, availability/ relationship status, financial status, or even their entire identity.

Yes, 80 per cent! But before we’re too hard on these cheeky deceptions, please be aware that not everyone is doing it with bad intentions. It can sometimes simply come down to the fact that the person putting together their dating profile are feeling a little insecure. The dating apps can be a dog-eat-dog world with fierce competition everywhere. So of course, people are trying to make themselves stand out.

I wanted to find out how to decipher dating profiles and spot the red flags early. Turns out bad eggs are surprisingly easy to find.

Red flags on dating profiles

Scott revealed that word selection and order are crucial when examining a dating profile. For example, if someone states that they will offer “affection, support, good energy, and loyalty,” but loyalty is at the end of the list, then it may not be a priority for them.

Since dating profiles are a form of free speech, every word used or omitted has significance. If someone writes a line like “I’m not into playing games,” it’s worth considering what led them to include that statement. They might be trying to communicate that they don’t play games or that they’ve had games played with them in the past.

(Sidenote: I’ve always thought it was a red flag when people say “I hate drama” and you just know they are usually the ones who cause it.)

Taylor said you want to look for the emotionally intelligent individuals on the dating apps. He said they are comfortable showing vulnerability, which they may express through their photos or words.

He said honest people convey facts, while liars try to persuade or convince. If someone provides a lot of extra information on a particular aspect of their life, it could be an indication of their inflated self-perception or an attempt to tell you what you want to hear.

Eek. I’ve always been such a sucker for those kinds of people. Just last month I went on a date with a guy who kept ranting on about being able to speak three languages, which yes, is pretty cool but when he kept switching to those languages during our date it got a bit tedious.

Now, upon reflection he wasn’t just conveying a fact, he was trying to convince me. Mate, I got it loud and clear. That was the first red flag. A highly inflated self-perception.

Body language on dates:

I asked Taylor about dating cues to pick up on. How can we read someone’s body language to detect if they are into us or not?

Taylor said if a person is leaning in during discussions that’s a good sign, we lean into more of what we like.

Power zones

He also noted that if someone doesn’t like you, they will lean away and drop their chin. He said when we feel uncomfortable or notice deceptive behaviour, we subconsciously cover our power zones. For example, guys will cover their groins or women will cross their arms. A person will also place a phone and a drink or plate or any condiment they can find in front of themselves almost to create a barrier between the two of you if they feel uncomfortable. Wild.

Hygiene gestures

Taylor also noted hygiene gestures – like playing with hair, straightening appearance – are indications that the other person wants to put the best version of themselves forward.

Oh gosh I do this all the time. Could you be more obvious, Jana Hocking!

Vulnerable areas

Then Taylor said something pretty quirky but fascinating: if the person you are on a date with shows more vulnerable areas on their body – like the inside of their wrists or neck visibility from a head tilt – these are all positive signs as well. He provided an example using puppies. Saying these hounds tilt their heads to hear sounds from different angles, we do it for interest and openness.

Slow blinking

Another unusual body indication that someone is into you is they slow their blinking right down. Taylor said blink rates usually come in at around 12 to 14 blinks per minute however if you find someone really interesting your blinking drops to six to eight drops per minute.

Huh! Anyone else going to start counting their love interests blinking rate? No? Just me?

Words to look out for

I then asked him what the signs are a guy just wants to get you into bed during a date and he said look for words in their conversations that are just ‘filler.’ For example if they put out statements like they ‘like looking after pets, or parents or grandparents’ they are drip feeding you things they think you might find enticing. Things that may make up your value system.

He repeated once again that truth tellers ‘convey’ and liars ‘convince.’

When I asked what words someone might use to try and ‘convince’ you of something that is perhaps a lie he said they will use grand words like “Oh, 100 per cent” or they will repeat the words “definitely” or “you know.” It’s like they are pleading with you to believe their BS.

They will also change their speaking rhythm, speed, volume, and pitch if they are lying. Explaining it’s because they haven’t pre-planned an adequate lie and are trying a little too hard to sound like they’re telling the truth.

You want to be dating someone who keeps their language simple and straight forward. That’s a good sign they are being themselves and their intentions are positive. It all makes perfect sense when you think about it.

I asked Taylor for a tip on what to wear on a date if you want it to be successful and he said wear something that creates conversation and is unique to you.

Wear a unique piece of jewellery, or a certain colour that pops or an outfit that stands out. This will connect you both and create conversation that allows you to open up about yourself right from the start.

Simple yet effective.

So there you have it. Thanks to men like Scott Taylor, we can now spot the lie from the truth a little easier. We just need to read their body language and take a deeper dive into their dating profiles.

Note to self: No more swiping right just because they look hot.

Jana Hocking is a columnist and collector of kind-of-boyfriends | @jana_hocking

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