Are you guilty of lying to your colleagues?

A new study has revealed Brits are pretty partial to telling fibs, and one in five (19%) lie to their work colleagues more than anyone else while one in ten (10%) say it’s their boss who is usually at the receiving end of their porkies. A worrying 8.9 million (13%) have even lied on their CV.

The research by contact lens retailer Lenstore surveyed 2,000 UK adults to determine how often Brits lie, and what the nation most frequently lies about. They also spoke to Counselling Psychologist, Dr Georgina Barnett about how different eye movements and body language can indicate if someone is being truthful or telling a lie.

On average Brits tell three lies every week, although men lie more frequently than women, with almost a quarter of men (24%) lying once a day compared to just over one in six women (16%). Overall, men aged 35-44 were revealed to tell the most lies at work.

Fibs frequently told in the workplace make up much of the top ten list of common lies, with British workers regularly fibbing about not seeing emails, and of course, calling in sick when they’re not.

Top 10 most common lies Brits have told at least once:

  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%)

One in ten (10%) also said they’ve lied about how far along they are with work to avoid getting into trouble with their manager.

With lies both big and small so prevalent in Brits’ professional lives, Dr Georgina Barnett, Counselling Psychologist at Psychology and Lifestyle, has provided her expert tips on how you can determine whether a person is being dishonest by their eye movements and other body language cues: “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 do 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.

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.

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.

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.

If someone is telling the truth, their eye contact and expression will align with other gestures such as nodding or shaking the 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.”

Five ways to spot if your colleague or boss is lying to you just from their eyes:

  1. They hold eye contact for too long
  2. They squint.
  3. They cover or block their eyes for a few seconds.
  4. Their eyes dart around.
  5. They avoid eye contact all together

Commenting on the study, Lenstore Business Director Alex Matthews said: “Our research suggests Brits are frequently telling little white lies – lying three times a week on average – most frequently at work, but also to partners and other close relationships.

“Some of the lies we tell are innocuous, but a worrying number have included lies on their CV, so it’s important to know the tell-tale signs someone is being dishonest.”