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How To Tell If Someone Is Lying To You

Updated on April 7, 2009

There is no such thing as a completely honest person. It is in our nature to tell fibs and small white lies to avoid such things as confrontation, hurting another's feelings, avoiding trouble, or simply to keep from getting into trouble. Nobody walks around with a lie detector test so we don't think much of it. Some lies are in ours or someone elses best interest. It's the big one's that cause trouble and need to be watched for.

White lies are not terrible things. White lies can save embarressement from the person telling them, the person being told them, or from a third party completely absent from the conversation.

The problem faced with lying, white lies or not is that generally speaking, the truth eventually becomes known even without that lie detector test. You can only lie for so long and a lie begets a lie. A liar will eventually find themselves have to admit the truth or lying more to cover previous lies.

Is someone lying to you?
Is someone lying to you?

I've been told some pretty extreme lies. A cousin of mine is a pathological liar and a theif. She's been that way since she was very young so I grew up knowing that you can't always trust people even those you think you can. Despite this I somehow choose to follow my gut instincts and generally trust people initially and take them at their word.

The father of a friend of mine once told her that "Stephanie(me) is not gullible, she just always trusts you are telling her the truth".

This statement was quite true when I was first getting to know her, and no she is not a compulsive liar not anything close, but like everyone she's told her share of small ones. I still trust her completely to this day, and part of that trust is knowing that sometimes some of the things she, just like everyone else is guilty of occasionally saying things are incorrect.

To avoid not trusting enough or trusting people to much.. Just give people the benefit of the doubt and remember that just as you tell some small lies, they are going to as well.

How Do You Catch Someone In A Lie?

So, everyone lies. But how do you catch someone in a lie without a lie detector test?

Well, it's not always easy at first. It would be more handy to have that lie detector test, But eventually as you get to know someones behavior you can pretty much hone in on when their story isn't exactly straight if you pay close attention and LOOK for discrepancys when their story doesn't seem to be real. Be your own lie detector test so to speak.

Clues To Watch For

  • Avoiding eye contact is a huge giveaway!
  • watch their body language. Do they fidget, or seem oddly distracted by something else?
  • Do they have trouble remembering details?
  • Do they avoid your questions about the topic and continue to speak, or do they answer questions fast and then try to move on to something else as quick as possible
  • Do you have a intuitive feeling that something about their story just isn't right.
  • Look for tangible evidence of the lie. Receipts, store bags, phone numbers, etc. Look for LACK of evidence. A "pregnant" women who buys absolutely nothing during her pregnancy for the new "arrival"

These are common ways that would give reason to believe they may not be telling the truth.

My favorite though is watching for hints of lies by watching their lies to other people. We all have witnessed a friend or family tell another person a lie. How did they react to that person, was there something they said to them that they also said to you.

For example: One friend of mine would occasionally tell her now ex-boyfriend when he insisted she wasn't telling the truth but could not definitively know for sure. "You can believe whatever you want".

Years later her and I were in a situation where I expressed my wishes that she not do something specific(sorry no details). Later I had a feeling she did it anyways. I confronted her on it and she completely denied it. At the very moment she told me, "You can believe whatever you want" I started laughing so hard. I called her out on it immediately and told her that she gave herself away on that one and why.

She ended up buying me a new set of very nice bed sheets and all was good.

Ask Questions

If catching someone in a lie and calling them out on it is your ultimate goal, ask questions. To keep them from suspecting your questions are anything but innocent curiousity, keep them minimal but important. Do not interrogate. A person will clam up and avoid the coversation if they think you are calling them out, but if they think you are just curious, they will give you quick answers and then look for a way out of the conversation.

For example: Before my cousin died he and his girlfriend were living with my grandmother. Despite the fact that the family dissaproved of her, because she claimed to be pregnant, when my cousin died, she was allowed to still live in my grandmothers house. Having been pregnant just a year before I knew what pregnancy was like and she did not seem to act or behave like a normal pregnant women. I casually questioned her on questions about her doctors visits that only someone who actually went to them would be able to answer. I chose not to tell her to her face that I knew she was lying, and instead repeadetly asked questions I knew that she could not answer whenever I was visiting grandma. Questions such as

"When are you doing that flat orange drink test"

"Oh I would love to look at your ultrasound pictures

Besides the questions. I set her up. I purposely left tampons that convienently dissapeared when I came back a few weeks later. Grossly enough, I saw them in her trash. She claimed she gave them to her mother, who never once stepped foot in my grandmothers house.

Many times, drastic measures are not neccesary and can do more harm then good. So if you are planning to really investigate before calling someone out, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons and that you are not do anything that would be considered breaking the law For example: recording phone conversations.

If you know someone who creates some pretty serious elloborate lies for the sake of attracting attention consider what else may be going on. They may be needing some medical attention for their mental health. Many times constant lying is the not the cause but the symptom of something much more serious.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you.

      I had to search this because one of my friends lie About everything she says and she steals too then lies about that even tho Ive seen her steal things from school or even from me and some people have caught her out but she still denys it and theres even times where she would get pissed if you try to accuse her when she does something wrong.But she has become so good at lying I cant tell how to catch her. but again thanks :D

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Good artical. I believe for sure that not hitting them hard to start is a smart move, doing a little research can't hurt either to make sure you have all your facts in order.

    • profile image

      justin de sagun 

      8 years ago

      yah that's good to know to become a person wise to her partnet if she;s telling the truth

    • profile image

      dave from london uk 

      8 years ago

      many thanks guys,,i met up with a girl from school,,she told me her brother in law was a engineer on eurostar,,she worked in a cafe,,was offer the job of headmistress in a school,,everything i said she had done it,,or something the same,,know if she sees me she turns away in embaressment

    • susanlang profile image


      8 years ago

      I think for some people, lying is an art.

      I happen to know some of those types. Good hub work.

    • profile image

      The Mad Hatter 

      8 years ago

      Anither trick into finding out if they're lying or not is to tell their story in specific details, after that tell him/her to say the story backwards.

      If they forget a detail that means they're lying.

    • profile image

      issues veritas 

      9 years ago

      Actually, I know someone who can lie straight to your face, and he remembers all the details as if it were true. It is almost like he is reciting a memorized script but not that rigid.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Very interesting, sunstreeks. I have a friend who lies all the time. It seems he just likes to make things more interesting or exciting than they really are. Some people, it seems, just can't tell the truth. But it looks like they couldn't fool you!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      9 years ago from St. Louis

      You've hit on some good examples and things to look out for. As you say, you don't have to be untrusting, but you don't have to be gullible either! Thanks!


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