How to Tell When Someone is Lying

In all areas of life, it is likely that you will run into an individual who is less than honest. There are so many ways for people to deceive, cheat, lie and steal, and if you’re not diligently paying attention, you might be swindled or betrayed by someone you’d considered as trustworthy.

This is not permission to go over the edge and be paranoid or adopting the extreme thought pattern that, “everyone’s out to get me,” only to be aware enough of your surroundings to be looking for clues that someone might be trying to put one over on you.

For a proficient or pathological liar, their ability to confidently state an all-out lie is unparalleled, so these tells may not be effective in getting to the truth from a cleverly deceptive liar. But other, “normal,” people will express some behaviors because they are not comfortable when lying.

Uncovering Deceit Expose the Liars

Being aware means getting to know someone well enough to establish their baseline behavior in a normal non-threatening conversation. If you don’t know how a person acts like when their engaged in conversation about something they interested in, when they would have no interest in being deceitful, you do not have enough information to notice a change in their behavior, which is your first clue that something might be awry.

Body language will likely change when someone is being deceptive. If in a normal conversation, he or she looks you in the eye and his or her body faces you straight on, and in the present conversation, they are not making eye contact, or their body is now at a 45 degree angle, that could be an indication that something’s up.

Someone’s facial expression, or eye movement which is different from their normal pattern of communication could also indicate someone is being less than honest and open, or intentionally hiding something.

Yes means yes, and no means no. If you’ve asked a simple yes or no question and the person you’ve asked answers with a long drawn out story, and can’t seem to settle on a yes or no conclusion, this is a clear indication of deceit or coverup. If you want the truth, you might want to ask this person, “Is that a yes, or a no?”

If you notice some inconsistencies in someone’s delivery, it could be connected to some other life experience which would trigger a signal which could be interpreted as a sign of someone’s deceit. If you really want to get down to what’s going on (and risk getting too personal) you might want to ask more questions and drill down to make a better determination whether this person is lying to you, or if he or she connected your question to a life experience in their past, which caused him or her to react differently.

When you’ve completed your conversation, gathered whatever information they’ve had to tell you, and you’ve confirmed that he or she has nothing more to say, then watch their reaction when you ask them if everything they’ve told you is true.
This is another simple yes or no answer. An honest person may admit to some inconsistency or add information that was purposefully left out at this point, which after allowing them to speak their piece would indicate the need to ask again if that was everything, and if they are telling the truth, leaving you waiting again for a simple yes or no answer.

A deceptive person will dance all around “Yes,” or, “No,” citing all kinds of irrelevant information and/or confusing details, and once you’ve received your simple yes or no answer, you might be brazen enough to follow up with the infamous, “Why should I believe you?”

Again, if their reply is over the top, emotionally charged, or they offer up a liturgy of character references, appalled that you might challenge them in such a manner, it could be an indication that they are being deceptive or withholding important information or details.

While brief and incomplete, hopefully these key signals indicating that someone’s not being honest and open with you will help you in determining if you’re dealing with a deceptive person, or an otherwise honest person who is not being completely forthcoming.

Good luck.

Don’t get paranoid, but be aware.