“Seriously, I’m sick of guys bullshitting me”, exclaimed Kerry.
“Me too”, agreed Tina, “I’m so over the dating scene, did I tell you that it turned out the guy I caught up with last week was married?”
“I think I’ve been single for too long” said Karen quietly. “I’m just too scared to put myself out there and get hurt again”.
I listened to the discussion and understood their frustration. The women in the group were taking part in my Truth, Lies and Love coaching program. All had stories about dates or relationships where deception had caused disappointment, pain or heartache.
Some told me that they felt blocked by the past, by fear or a lack of belief that they could ever have the wonderful relationship they had always dreamt of. I reminded them not to let past experiences stand in the way of future opportunities and to keep on the journey of growth and awareness.
When it comes to the world of dating and relationships, knowing how to read behaviours, notice subtle emotions, ask better questions and uncover signs of deception early, are critical skills to stay safe and weed out the dud guys from the gems.
I first became interested in the topics of truth and lies when I was a rookie Policewoman at the age of 22. I discovered getting the truth from someone who had a reason or intent to hide or twist it, was more difficult than I thought.
I remember many years ago I was working nightshift. A job we were called to at about 1am moved me to think more deeply about truth and trust, and the serious implications in some situations of incorrectly reading a person and their intent.
A young woman had been bashed in her home and was collapsed semi conscious on her queen sized bed in a pool of blood. It was the first time I had seen anything like that. I didn’t know all the circumstances at the time, but I remember the Sergeant saying “Looks like she trusted the wrong guy”. That really shook me and has stuck with me since.
There are lies and there are lies
After that, I began exploring the areas of life where missing subtle warning signs in behaviour could result in unfavourable outcomes. Lying is stitched into the fabric of the way people communicate but not all lies are told with an intent to hurt or mislead. Little white lies are told daily, usually without intent to harm. They are considered acceptable or even welcome in many situations.
It’s true that our gut feelings can often give us the first clue that something is not right, but there’s more to truth-attracting and lie-detection than most people realise. Learning how to encourage more truth from someone who is reluctant to give it, or spot signs of harmful deception early can save you time, heartache and even keep you physically safe.
But what about the more serious lies that cause us to trust the wrong person or make decisions that we wouldn’t have otherwise made had we been armed with the truth? How good are we at spotting those before it’s too late? Not as good as we’d like to think we are.
Here are some tips to stay safe on the dating scene:
- If you meet online, chat first before meeting up
- Research him – FB, LinkedIn, Google – does it match what he is telling you? (it’s not stalking it’s just checking)
- Don't give out your personal information – such as where you live or too much about your world
- Meet in a neutral and public location – don’t let him pick you up from home
- Keep a friend in the loop – tell her where you’re going and with whom
- Keep a sharp mind – a drunk or drugged mind won't spot harm signals
- Notice when he doesn’t answer questions and ask yourself why
- Read body language and watch for incongruence with words and body/face
- Don’t feel pressured to do what doesn’t feel right
Sadly, on the dating scene, there are some people out there who mislead from the start. This is not always done with evil intent, but it can impact on what happens next. Then there are those who set out to cause emotional, financial or physical harm – you certainly want to avoid those ones, so use my tips above as a starting point.
Bonus! Download your free copy of my e-book: 55 Excellent Dating Questions – never get stuck in awkward silence again!