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29 Ways to Tell If Someone Is Lying to You

Updated on October 16, 2016

29 Clues to Deceit.

Lying is common,but it's not very difficult to detect a liar.In this article,you will learn 29 ways to catch a liar.

#1.When a person is telling a lie,his Body lacks animation

When we are passionate about something, we emphasize our spoken point with hands and arms movements. But a liar tends to be less expressive with his hands and arms movements because he’s paying a lot of attention to his spoken words to get his story straight. There’s little or no emotional investment in what he’s saying so his hands remain on his sides or on his lap or stuffed in his pockets or clasped together, while he is relating ‘’the facts’’.

#2.A liar may show inconsistencies between words, emotions and gestures

Any inconsistency between words ,emotions and gestures should be taken as a clue to deception.

An example is a person who grins while she expresses sorrow to a friend who has lost her job.

Pay close attention to the face and look for any change in emotion.
Pay close attention to the face and look for any change in emotion.

''Watch for what is known as the initial reaction expression (IRE). This is an initial expression of true feelings that may last for less than a second, just until the person you are observing has a chance to mask them. Even if you can't read the fleeting expression, the fact that it has changed is reason enough to suspect that the emotion you are currently seeing is false'' says David J. Lieberman, PhD. who is an adjunct professor of communications at Fairleigh Dickerson University.

#3.Observe and study normal behavior of the liar

If you want to catch a liar then you should spend as much time with her as possible. Observe her closely and notice her normal behavior .Once you know her normal behavior it will be very easy to catch when she lies.

when catching a liar, familiarity with the person can help you a lot.

#4.Liars tend to display Artificial Movements

As mentioned before, a liar is less expressive with gestures and arm movements. But even when he tries the movements appear contrived and unnatural because there’s no emotion behind them. Just like novice actors his movements lack fluidity.

#5.Timing Is Everything

If a person shakes her head in a confirming direction as words come out of her mouth or before the words come out--it indicates that she is telling the truth.But if she shakes her head after the point is made,she may be trying to show conviction .As this movement is contrived and not based on real emotion--the timing is off.

#6.A liar may make partial gestures

shrugging of one's shoulders is a gesture that indicates ignorance or indifference:"I don't know" or "I don't care." Usually when someone makes this gesture they mean to communicate this very message but if the gesture is fleeting then that person is just pretending to be casual or relaxed about her answer.Because what she feels isn't a true emotion, she doesn't really shrug.

Similarly,when someone is embarrassed by a joke but pretends that its funny.They smile with a '' lips only'' smile ,not a big grin encompassing their entire face.

#7.The Posture of a Liar

Liars tend to take as less space as space possible and have a closed body posture.They may hunch their shoulders,fold their arms and cross their legs.


#8.A liar has difficulty in faking the timing of emotions

A liar can fake emotions but she cannot fake the timing of emotions.So, when a person is faking an emotion,the onset of emotion is delayed ,the emotion is prolonged and it may disappear from face abruptly.

For example,People faking surprise will leave their eyebrows raised for too long and open their mouth too wide. expressions like anger,fear,sadness and surprise are difficult to fake.'' Expressions of long duration—certainly ten seconds or more, and usually 5 seconds—are likely to be false.Most felt expressions don't last that long'' says Paul Ekman, a renowned expert in lie detection.

Surprise comes and goes quickly, so if it is prolonged it is most likely false.
Surprise comes and goes quickly, so if it is prolonged it is most likely false.

#9.The liar will rarely touch the person,he is lying to

Most of the liars feel guilty when lying, so as to reduce their guilt, unconsciously they try to put some physical distance between them and the person they are lying to.

There are some people who feel no guilt when lying so you shouldn't just rely on one indicator, you should look for other clues too.However, this is a reliable indicator when a loved one such as family member or close friend, is lying to you because she's more likely to feel guilt.

#10.A liar may reveal himself unconsciously

People can’t hide their true nature, they always reveal themselves. If you are a patient observer you’ll find out the real nature of a person.

Once I asked a so-called friend of mine, “ so do you value your friendship with other girls’’ she responded, ‘’of course I do. I still keep contact with my decade old friends’’.

But after a few days, while we were chatting, she said, “my relationship with my mother is truly valuable, the rest are just formalities’’

You should observe people closely and look for any slips of tongue or subconscious leaks.If you let people talk about themselves--an activity that everyone finds enjoyable-- they will reveal a lot.

#11.A liar is likely to avoid direct eye contact

Little or no direct eye contact can be a sign of deception. A person who is lying to you may glance down or his eyes may dart from side to side. Conversely, when we tell the truth , we give our full attention and lock eyes with our accuser.But you shouldn't rely on this clue too much.some of the smooth liars look into the eyes of the victim while telling lies. Bernie Madoff ,the American fraudster ,stared at people while lying to them.

#14.A liar tends to globalize and depersonalize the question asked

Dr. Lieberman says that If you ask a question from someone and the person responds with an answer that globalizes and depersonalizes the question, this should be seen as a red flag. Let’s say you ask someone, "Have you ever been caught driving under the influence of Alcohol or narcotics? Be suspicious of the person if you get a reply like , "No, I think driving under the influence is the worst thing you can do''.

#15. Liars tend to give answers containing unnecessary details

Liars tend to give elaborate and detailed answers containing a lot of unnecessary information, that you have not even requested.They just think that with their openness and talkativeness people will believe them.

#16.A liar is slow to answer a question

For instance,during an interview you ask a question and the person takes longer to evaluate the question and formulate his response. Then you should receive his answer with caution,as he may be lying.

Another thing to consider is pacing advises Lieberman.'' How fast does the rest of the sentence follow the initial one-word response? In truthful statements a fast no or yes is followed quickly by an explanation. If the person is being deceitful the rest of the sentence may come more slowly because she gets that no or yes out quickly but then needs time to think up an explanation.''

#17.Liars tend to give implied answers

Dr.Lieberman says,''Often when a person doesn't want to respond to a question he will imply an answer. For example, Ralph is speaking on the telephone with a girl he has never met before. He says jokingly, 'So, are you gorgeous?' She proceeds to tell him that she works out three times a week, takes an aerobics class every other day, and has dated several male models. This is a non-answer. She is attempting to circumvent the question altogether by implying that she is attractive.''

liars can't trust.
liars can't trust.

#18.Deceitful people are suspicious of others

George Bernard Shaw is so right when he says “The liar's punishment is, not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.”

Liars and deceitful people are very suspicious of other people,because a corrupt person thinks that the whole world is corrupt.If someone won’t trust you and treat you with caution as if you are a dangerous person,even though you have not given any reason to justify such behavior, then this should be seen as a red flag.

Deceitful people are secretive and don’t reveal much information about themselves because they think you will misuse it.

#19.A deceitful person is more concerned with how he appears to you

A truthful person is simply interested in making himself understood by the person he is talking to. He is not very concerned with how he appears but a liar in his attempt to appear honest becomes conscious of his every word and movement. He is focused on himself so that he plays the part of an honest person well.

#20.To a serious question,you should expect a direct response

Lieberman warns,''Beware of the person who uses humor and sarcasm to defuse your concerns. For instance, you ask one of your salespeople if she met with the competition and she replies, "Sure did. We meet every day in a secret warehouse. You can get in only if you know the special knock. It's there where we discuss the eventual downfall of your business empire." This makes you feel foolish about inquiring further. And she knows it. When you ask a serious question, you should expect a direct response.


#21.Liars do not ask the right questions

A good liar may be practiced at answering questions,but often liars fail to ask the right questions. Because they so want the subject changed.

For example, peter asks his new girlfriend, “Have you ever had a one night stand” she decides to lie,because she thinks if she tells the truth ,it might give a bad impression.

She says: Absolutely Not..

She then continues on a bit, about how risky and emotionally unfulfilling casual sex is and how important it is to have a connection,etc.and then nothing.

If she were honest about her response she would have asked John the same question.

#22.A person lying about a particular topic,Wants the subject changed

If you accuse an innocent person of something abominable,the person will insist that the topic be explored further.but if you accuse a guilty person,he'd want the subject changed.Pay close attention during conversation when the subject is changed.Does the person become more relaxed or happy?Notice change in his mood and posture.

#23.Be suspicious of people who need to declare their virtuous nature

Liars in their attempt to appear honest and credible will added emphatic phrases to their statements.

‘’I swear to God, I wasn’t there when the fire broke out’’.

"To be perfectly honest, I was at home last night.”

“To be frank,…. “

I swear on a stack of bibles,I have never taken office supplies home.”

“To tell you the truth, I don’t even know that woman.”

'' If someone's going to tell you the truth, it's unlikely that he would start off by saying just that. If he feels the need to tell you that he's being honest and that you're about to receive the whole truth, you can be pretty sure you're not getting it'' says Lieberman.

#24.Look for negative phrasing of answers and statements

Liars know that they are guilty, so often they would negatively phrase their answers and statements.Disproving their guilt is at the forefront of their mind.

For example:

‘’I never tell lies’’ instead of saying “I always tell the truth.”

“I’m not guilty” instead of saying “ I’m innocent”.


#25.Liars often make distancing statements

A liar tries to put distance between himself and the lie, so he avoids using possessive language.

For example a liar might say:

“Your presentation is good, it contains a lot of information."

But an honest person might say:

“I really like your presentation,it contains a lot of information.”

#26. A Liar may dodge the question

Sometimes liars in order to avoid answering a question, dodge it subtly.They may give an elaborate answer but it doesn’t contain the information requested. They do this to avoid something for which they are guilty of and try to focus the attention of the person( asking the question) on another issue or person.

For example if a question is asked from a politician

Q.Power shortage is getting worse, why haven’t you done more to alleviate energy crisis in the country?

A.Power shortage affects the whole country. If you look at the neighboring countries, there the crisis is even worse. The demand for more and more energy has been increasing. Population explosion is a serious problem affecting the country at the moment. We have put a lot of money in family planning programs to reduce burden on resources.

The politician deflected the conversation to a new area where he wasn’t guilty.

#27.look for Answers That Sound Well Rehearsed

Lieberman says,If a person has facts and details at her fingertips that shouldn't be easily recalled then its a sign that the person was expecting the questions and took time to craft her answers.

Answers that sound well rehearsed is a sign of lying.Suppose Tina

when asked where she was on a particular day a month ago, responds with, "I went to school, left at four-thirty, went shopping until six fifteen , and then went straight home."

Most of us can't remember what we had for dinner yesterday!

#28.Can You Repeat the Question, Please?

A liar in order buy himself some time so as to prepare his answer or review the best course of action may resort to one of the following statements.

1. "Could you repeat the question?"

2. "It depends on how you look at it."

3. "Where did you hear that?"

4. "Why would you ask something like that?"

5. "What's your point exactly?"

6. "Where is this coming from?"

7. "Well, it's not so simple as yes or no."

Smile is a most common mask that liars put on .
Smile is a most common mask that liars put on .

#29.Beware of the fake smile

A genuine smile lights up the whole face.It affects the muscles around the eyes and takes some time to form and fade.But a fake smile appears and disappears abruptly and is created only in the lower half of the face.

Acknowledgement:The principal ideas and examples in this blog post came from a reading of the following excellent books:

You can read anyone and Never to be lied again by David J. Lieberman

Detect deceit:How to become a human lie detector in under 60 minutes by Dr.David craig


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    • passionatelearnr profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago

      You are welcome.janellegems

    • Janellegems profile image


      2 years ago from United States

      Excellent Hub. These are great ways to detect liars. Thanks for your insightful wisdom in this area.


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