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How To Know If Someone Is Lying To You About Something

Studies show that people act and move in slightly different stressful ways when lying compared to when they are telling the truth. There is also a few seconds longer of delay when they answer a question with a lie. These are things which you can utilize to your advantage if you want to find out if someone is lying to you or not.

It is important to note that while body language and facial expressions are good indicators of when a person is lying, they are not always fool proof. The body language signs of lying only give you a warning that something may not be right about what someone is saying. So don't base your judgement of a particular situation on just one or two signs, but rather try and get a handful in order to feel safe that you are right in your assumption that the person may be lying to you.

Firstly, A Word Of Warning...

Before you start looking for signs, be familiar first with the person’s normal body language in different situations. Some of the signs we'll be going through might be normal to the person you are trying to get the truth out of ...so just because they exhibit that particular sign, it doesn't mean they are lying.

Signs someone is lying include:

  1. Stiff Movements: Stiff expressions, fewer hand movements, and taking up less space than usual are things to watch out for.

  2. Face Touching: Touching the lower face area, lips or chin, and scratching the nose are common actions when telling a lie.

  3. Stance: Standing slightly to the side or with shoulders offset while talking can be an indicator of lying. It is a sign of discomfort in front of the person being lied to.

  4. Expressions: These are limited to the mouth. You can recognize a fake smile if only selected muscles move. Muscles over the whole face are utilized in a natural smile.

  5. Palms: Hiding the palms of the hands or placing hands behind the back or in the pockets are also indicators of lying.

  6. Objects: Playing with objects such as worn jewellery, a mobile phone or even their own hair is also an indicator. Putting an obstruction between you two while in a conversation is a subconscious attempt to relieve the tension of lying.

  7. Tone: When lying, the tone of voice is often inconsistent with gestures or statements being said. A rise in pitch is due to the increased tension involved in being deceptive.

  8. Sarcasm: This is often used when answering accusations with a lie.

  9. Answers to questions: An interesting study observed that liars use the exact words in your question to answer it. For example, if you ask “Did you come home late last night?” the answer would be “I did not come home late last night.”

  10. Too many details: Adding unnecessary details is an attempt to comfort the other person while lying.

  11. Nonsensical: Deceptive speakers often say words that don’t make sense, have speech hesitations, mispronunciations, and incorrect grammar. This is due to their mind desperately searching for convincing answers.

  12. Avoiding direct answers: Answers tend to be implied rather than denying something directly. This gives a liar the possibility of taking back an answer or changing them.

  13. Defensive: People who lie get defensive at the first indication of an accusation. On the other hand, honest people get offensive.

  14. Subject: Changing the subject is done to shift the topic from the lie. And the liar will perceive that you believe the lie if you disregard the topic change.

Again, observing only one or two of these indicators may not necessarily indicate a lie. So exercise caution because accusing someone of lying is not a light accusation.

Need more info?

Yes, why is telling the truth so difficult for a compulsive liar?

What are some signs of lying that even good liars find difficult to hide?