Let’s discuss the word “with” as it relates to deception.
Consider these two phrases
A co-worker was asked what he did over the weekend. He responded:
- “I did some Christmas shopping with my wife.”
Another way he could have responded:
- “My wife and I did some Christmas shopping.”
These two statements are not saying the same thing.
The co-worker responded with the word “with.” In deception detection, the word “with” is always code for distance. Look where in his sentence he and his wife are situated – at complete opposite ends. This indicates he did not want to go shopping. If he was probed further, he’d likely confirm that was the case.
However, in the second response the co-worker is placed right next to his wife. The word “and” is always code for a unification, a joining together. The second example signifies the coworker was not opposed to going shopping with her.
People will always word their statement based on all their knowledge.
The co-worker wasn’t thinking about which way he should word his response about his weekend activities. He merely phrased it the way he was feeling, without realizing the extra information he was offering up.
Now that you understand the importance of the word “with” in a statement, let’s look at another example.
Didn’t want to? Or Lied?
An employer suspected his employee of not being at work when she claimed she was. When he asked her about her whereabouts on Wednesday afternoon, she stated “I was in the records room with Marie.”
Notice she used the word “with.” It could mean that she didn’t want to be working in the records room with Marie. The other reason she may have used the word “with” is because she was lying about being in the records room.
Because she was not where she said she was it was hard for her to use the word “and.” She couldn’t place herself next to Marie, therefore, she unknowingly used the word “with.”
It is easier to tell a lie using the word “with” than using the word “and.”
The employer checked out her story and discovered she was in the records room on Wednesday. But slow down, we still have a problem. There is a reason why she used the word “with.” It could be that at some point she left the building. She then returned to the records room before the close of business to make sure she was seen at the end of the day. Because she knew she went somewhere other than just the records room, it caused her to unknowingly use the word “with.”
TAKEAWAY: It’s important to point out that while the word “with” always means distance within a statement, it does not always mean deception. With focus and practice the word “with” will jump right out at you. It’ll then be up to you to withhold jumping to conclusions, but to probe further.
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