We all tell lies, it’s a part of our human nature. Sometimes they’re harmless, even well intentioned, and told to avoid hurting someone that we care about. Other times they’re not so minor. Instead of being trivial, they end up truly harming others and lead to nothing but trouble. We even lie to ourselves, we just can’t help it!
As often as we hear them, one would assume that we’re quite adept at detecting a lie when we come across one. While that may be the case for some people, for the majority of us it’s not. Thankfully there are signs to look for that can help us detect when someone is telling a lie. That way we can minimize any possible negative effects of the ones we happen to come across. Here are the top signs you need to know on how to spot a liar:
1. They hide or cover their mouth. A liar will often touch their face and mouth area when they’re being deceptive. It’s as if they are subconsciously attempting to cover up and shut down any further conversation about it.
2. They stare and maintain eye contact for an uncomfortable amount of time. This is classic behavior of a liar who is very likely consciously trying to deceive you. They believe that by staring and not blinking they are showing real honesty and are thus offsetting any suspicions others may have of whatever it is they’re lying about. According to the accompanying video, honest people maintain eye contact for a little over half of the entire conversation. Someone who lies will gaze steadily at you for 70-100% of the time.
3. They blink rapidly. People who are uncomfortable tend to blink rapidly 5 or 6+ times in a row on average. This is a manifestation of the stress they’re likely feeling. It may also be an indication that they’re attempting to be more convincing, either way it’s a red flag you should pay close attention to.
4. They point. This can be both physical and verbal. They may be trying to deflect attention away from their lies by pointing your attention elsewhere. It’s also a way to shift the blame and defend themselves. Literally waving a finger around and becoming aggressive shows that they sense they’ve been caught in their lie and are attempting to distract you in a last ditch effort.
5. They give you too many details. Over sharing and offering up more information than is necessary is a sign that whoever is talking too much has a guilty conscience. They think that by being so forthright you’ll perceive them as open and honest, and will buy whatever line of bs they’re feeding you.
6. They fidget. While we all can be a bit restless at times, moving around more than average or nervously is a sign someone is lying. People will adjust their clothing, loosen a tie, play with a necklace, tuck hair behind an ear, wipe their glasses, twiddle their thumbs, clean up the immediate area surrounding them, straighten a pencil and pad, wipe the swear off their brow, and do just about anything else as they squirm their way uncomfortably through a lie.
7. They have trouble swallowing, clear their throat, and purse their lips. All of these indicate that the person is stressed and anxiety has set in. When that occurs our bodies slow salivary production which causes our throat and mouth to become dry and uncomfortable. Liars will appear to gulp before speaking, pinch their mouths closed, and purse their lips in vain attempts to get past this.
8. They display verbal and non-verbal disconnects. Our physical actions tend to naturally match the words that come out of our mouth. As such, when we agree with someone we nod in agreement, and when we disagree with someone we shake our heads from side to side as if to say “no.” When there is a disconnect, a person will nod in denial while saying no, and/or shake their head from side to side in agreement while saying yes. These are unnatural movements that do not match up and are a strong indication that someone is lying.
9. Their voice changes. Depending on the liar, they may do a number of things with their tone of voice. They may speak rapidly or slow down, talk quietly or become much louder than usual, and maybe even stutter over details that they should be able to recall effortlessly had they been telling the truth. Some people will just sound nervous or agitated at inappropriate times where they need not be. Others may be jumpy and defensive or hesitate before answering questions.
10. They start sweating more or breathing harder. A liar’s body will often give them away. Lying is stressful and causes both our heart rate and blood pressure to increase, which in turn makes us breathe more heavily and perspire. These two physical changes are highly noticeable within the setting and circumstances, so watch out for the obvious signs!
By honing in on a person’s body language, actions, voice, and their overall manner of speaking, you should be able to discern if they are lying or not. Simply training yourself to notice the above signs will give you a clearer overall picture down the line and help you figure out the truth. The accompanying video covers these and a few additional signs so check it out and be sure to use them to your advantage. Call out the lies and the liars when you see or hear them, whatever comes first!
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