Let’s face it, no one likes to be lied to, especially by someone who we are supposed to trust. Perhaps something deep down is telling you that a person is being deceptive. Here are some signs of lying that you may want to look out for.
Pay Attention to the Face and Eyes
Professional interrogators often use something called “micro-expressions” to tell whether a person is lying or not. These are those small expressions that flash across a persons face for just that split second before they start talking, which can clue you in to their real feelings or intentions. Let’s look at how to spot a liar via face and eyes:
Nose and Mouth – When someone is lying they tend to get a bit fidgety and many will give themselves away by touching their nose, ears, covering their mouth, or just having a hand near their mouth. Nostrils tend to flare a bit more as well.
Eye movement – It has long been said that a liar can’t look you straight in the eye. But a liar’s eye movements can give away quite a bit too. For example, when a person is making something up their eyes tend to shift left or right. A person who actually recalls details will shift their eyes to the opposite side of their “writing hand”. So if you are left-handed, your eyes shift right and vice versa. When a person is lying or trying to come up with a lie, their eyes shift to the same side as their writing hand. Another giveaway is eye blinking. A person who is lying will blink more rapidly or rub their eyes a lot.
It is thought by scientists however, that using eye contact as the only indicator of how truthful a person is being, is not entirely accurate. It is natural for a person to break eye contact under normal circumstances and seasoned liars will make a point of looking others in the eye so as to come across as being sincere. Other people may find it hard to look into someone’s eyes due to shyness or low self confidence issues.
Observing a person’s body language is another way to spot a liar. When someone is lying they tend to sweat a bit more. Bear in mind that some people may sweat more due to shyness or a health issue. Liars also tend to blush a bit or may seem to be swallowing or gulping a lot.
Another technique used is incongruence, when a person shakes their head opposite of what they are actually saying. For example, someone saying “I did do that chore” while shaking their head “no”. Fidgeting can be a big giveaway as well when a person is not telling the truth. They tend to fidget with their hands, their clothing or body, or even objects that are lying around. This is a result of nervous energy building up and needing a way to release it.
A person’s overall stance can tell a lot as well. In an unstressed environment a person will appear more natural and comfortable, sitting with their legs sprawled, standing comfortably and using hands when talking, leaning in towards you when speaking. A liar tends to be stiffer and will have their arms folded, or will be leaning away.
When someone is feeling the stress of lying to another, their voice can become higher and they talk faster. Over exaggerating details is another pitfall of someone who is lying. They tend to go overboard with these details as a way of making their story sound more believable.
Pay attention to how they respond to your questions. It’s normal for a person to pause a moment before answering. But those who answer directly may have been rehearsing their response or were expecting to be questioned – in other words, they seem a bit too prepared. Or they may immediately try stalling for time while they come up with that gem of a lie.
Glossing over important details is something else to watch for, or someone who tries to make light of details. And watch how they react to your question; do they suddenly go on the defensive, try to stall or deflect the question? They are probably lying then.
These clues should not be used individually to tell if a person is being truthful or not. You need to look at the whole picture, taking into account how they normally act, whether it is a person who is normally nervous or shy, etc. The combination of these signs of lying though can go a long way in determining whether someone is going out of their way to deceive you.