Ever get that feeling when you just know someone isn’t telling you the whole truth? It could be a tiny white lie or something more serious, but being able to spot a lie is seriously handy. You won’t believe it, but studies reveal that, on average, we’re lied to anywhere from 10 to 200 times a day! Crazy, right?
If you are smart enough to recognize the subtle signs of lying, you can save yourself from being taken advantage of. So let’s dive into some key indicators that someone may be lying to you.
15 Signs Someone is Lying
You may have heard the phrase “liar, liar pants on fire” in your childhood playground, but the truth is that catching a liar isn’t always as easy as looking for flaming trousers. However, there are some tell-tale signs that can help you identify when someone is not being truthful:
One of the most significant signs of lying is contextual inconsistency. When telling a story, you will notice contradictions. These contradictions may be in the information. Plus, you will notice details changing concurrently. For example, if someone is recounting an event and mentions being at home with a friend on one occasion but alone on the next, it could be a sign that they are not being completely truthful.
Avoiding Eye Contact
Eyes are the window to the soul. And if you notice someone avoiding eye contact, they are denying entry to their soul. Hence, avoiding direct eye contact is a classic sign of deception. Still, it’s not foolproof. Some people may maintain eye contact even when lying. The key is to observe a person’s eye contact patterns and any sudden changes.
Language is not only in the words they use but also in the way they move, talk, etc. Watch for nervous body language from the person to whom you are talking. They can be fidgeting, sweating, or shifting weight from foot to foot. Some people may involuntarily touch their face or cover their mouth when lying.
Have you ever seen someone constantly touching a strand of their hair? Some people may touch their hair, face, or clothing more frequently. It may be a sign of lying, among other reasons. This mostly shows they are stressed or anxious. Grooming helps them feel more assured in these cases.
Sometimes, people’s tones may change all of a sudden. Look for changes in speech patterns. They may start speaking more slowly or hesitating. Some liars may also speak with a higher pitch, especially when they sense being caught red-handed. Others may repeat the same phrases or stammer.
Overly Detailed Stories
When people try to be truthful, they usually just give a quick summary of what happened and move on. But when someone is lying, they tend to go on and on about irrelevant details and add unnecessary information. They do this to try and make their story sound more believable, you know? So, make sure to pay attention to all those extra details and see if they stay consistent throughout the story.
Change in Breathing
Just like speech changes, breathing patterns can also be a significant indicator of lying. When a person is nervous or anxious, their breathing rate increases. This increased breathing can lead to shortness of breath or even shallow breathing. If you notice these changes while someone is talking to you, it could be a sign of deception.
Sometimes we miss social cues when we are trying to cover something. We may display inappropriate emotions because we are not interested in or engaged in the ongoing situation or conversation. Suppose a friend is discussing a serious matter, and you laugh. Or you show little emotion when talking about something emotional. There are other inappropriate reactions and actions that convey something that is not quite right.
Someone who is trying to hide something, lie, or be deceitful may become defensive or evasive. This is particularly relevant when you question them about their story or ask for details. They may become more aggressive, change the subject, or try to make you feel like you are overreacting.
Potential liars use more fillers (“like,” “um,” “uh”), stammer more, or pause a lot as they speak. These patterns appear as they think about their responses. They will also try to speak professionally as they craft their message.
Changes in Breathing
Some individuals may exhibit changes in their breathing patterns. They may take shallow breaths or hold their breath briefly as they lie. These phenomena are induced by their inflicted tensions or anxiety.
Micro expressions are fleeting facial expressions that reveal genuine emotions. While difficult to spot, trained observers may detect them. Micro expressions may be of discomfort, fear, or guilt. These expressions last for a fraction of a second and may reveal what the person is really feeling, despite their attempt to hide it.
Changing the Subject
Changing the subject is another way to evade questions or avoid giving direct answers. If someone tries to change the topic abruptly, it could be an indication that they are trying to divert attention away from their lies.
Liars often unintentionally give away information while trying to hide it ironically. This occurs as they volunteer details they weren’t asked about. Or, while narrating any incident, they may provide overly specific information. Their purpose may be to deflect attention or seem transparent. However, this added information can be a sign that they are trying too hard to convince you of their story.
Avoidance of the Subject
And finally, someone who is lying definitely won’t want the situation to ever come up. They may try to change the topic. But mostly, they will prepare ahead to avoid discussing certain aspects of the situation. They will try their best not to mention any related topics. Follow the same lead and avoid bringing up anything related to the subject you suspect them of lying about. This behavior can reveal a lot about their intentions.