If someone is lying to you, they’ll display these 9 subtle behaviors

by Isabel Cabrera | July 7, 2024, 12:26 pm

We all know honesty is the best policy, but let’s face it – not everyone sticks to that rule. In fact, people lie more often than you might think.

The trick is learning how to spot the subtle signs that someone isn’t being truthful with you. It’s not about playing detective, but about understanding the little behaviors that can give a liar away.

In this article, we’ll delve into nine tell-tale signs that someone might not be telling you the whole truth.

And trust me, once you know what to look for, you’ll be surprised at how much clearer things become. So, ready to become a human lie detector?

Here are some behaviors you should watch out for when interacting with others.

1) Inconsistent body language

Body language often speaks louder than words. Even the most skilled liar can’t control every micro-expression, twitch or gesture.

Inconsistency between what the person is saying and their body language can be a huge giveaway. For instance, if someone is telling you a happy story but their body language is closed off or tense, it might be a sign that they’re not being entirely truthful.

This isn’t about catching someone out with a “gotcha!” moment – it’s about understanding that when words and physical cues don’t line up, there’s usually more to the story.

Watching for inconsistent body language can be a powerful tool in spotting when someone might not be completely honest with you. But remember, context is key – don’t jump to conclusions based on one isolated instance.

Keep an eye out for patterns of inconsistency. It’s these repeating patterns that are often the real tell-tale signs of dishonesty.

2) They avoid eye contact

Eye contact can be a tricky one. Contrary to popular belief, not all liars avoid eye contact. In fact, some might maintain unnaturally steady eye contact, as if they’re trying too hard to convince you of their sincerity.

But in my experience, I’ve noticed that people who aren’t being entirely truthful tend to have a hard time maintaining steady eye contact.

Just last week, my friend was telling me about how he had “accidentally” missed our weekend hangout because he was caught up with work. But as he spoke, his eyes were darting all over the place – rarely meeting mine.

Sure enough, a few days later, I found out he had actually gone on a last-minute road trip with some other friends. His evasive eye contact was a subtle sign that he wasn’t being upfront with me.

Remember though, cultural differences and personal comfort levels can influence eye contact too. So it’s important to consider these factors before drawing conclusions.

3) Their voice changes

When someone is lying, their voice can undergo subtle changes. They might start speaking more quickly, or their voice could become noticeably higher. This is because lying can cause a person to feel nervous or anxious, which in turn can affect their vocal cords.

According to researchers, individuals who are lying tend to have a higher pitch in their voice compared to when they’re telling the truth. The study suggests that this is due to the tension and cognitive effort that comes with trying to keep a lie under wraps.

Of course, not everyone’s voice will quiver like a character in a detective novel when they lie. But it’s worth paying attention to any sudden or unusual changes in a person’s normal speech patterns.

That could well be a sign that they’re not being entirely truthful with you.

4) They offer too many details

When someone is telling the truth, they usually stick to the main points. But if someone is lying, they might feel the need to overcompensate by providing an abundance of unnecessary details in an attempt to make their story more believable.

It’s like they’re trying to build a convincing narrative, and they think the more information they give, the more credible their story will seem. But often, it just ends up sounding rehearsed or unnatural.

5) They touch their face frequently

This one might surprise you, but it’s actually backed by science. People often touch their face more when they’re lying. It’s a subconscious response to the stress and discomfort that lying can cause.

According to psychology experts, liars often unconsciously touch their face, mouth, or throat.

So if someone you’re talking to suddenly starts scratching their nose, rubbing their eyes, or covering their mouth while speaking, it might be worth paying a little more attention to what they’re saying.

6) They avoid answering directly

Have you ever asked someone a simple question, only to have them dance around it without actually giving you a straight answer? That’s a classic sign of evasion, which could suggest that they’re not being entirely honest.

I remember the time when I asked my sister if she had seen my favorite book, which had mysteriously disappeared from my room. Instead of giving a clear yes or no, she started talking about how disorganized my room was and that I should take better care of my things.

After some prodding, she finally admitted that she had borrowed the book without asking. Her initial evasion was her way of trying to avoid admitting the truth.

It’s hurtful when people we care about aren’t honest with us. But understanding these subtle signs can help us navigate these tricky situations with more insight and empathy.

It’s not about catching them out, but about opening up communication and understanding each other better.

7) Their stories keep changing

When someone is being truthful, their account of events usually remains consistent each time they recount it. But when someone is spinning a web of lies, it can be hard to keep the story straight.

I experienced this firsthand when a former colleague was constantly late for work. Each time he was questioned about his tardiness, he would have a different excuse. First, it was car trouble. Then, it was a sick pet. Next, it was a faulty alarm clock.

His ever-changing stories raised red flags and eventually led to the discovery that he was actually interviewing for jobs elsewhere during work hours.

Though it was a tough situation to navigate, it taught me the importance of observing consistency in people’s narratives. It’s not about prying or being distrustful, but rather about protecting oneself from potential dishonesty.

8) They become defensive

When people are being honest, they usually welcome questions because they have nothing to hide. But when someone is lying, they may become defensive or even hostile if you probe too much.

This defensiveness is a way of deflecting attention away from their dishonesty. They might turn the tables and accuse you of being nosy or untrusting, all in an attempt to shift the focus away from their lies.

However, context does matter. Keep in mind that people can become defensive for many reasons, not just because they’re lying.

9) They use qualifying language

When people are being honest, their statements are usually direct and straightforward. But when someone is lying, they might use qualifying language to give themselves an “out” in case they’re caught.

Phrases like “to the best of my knowledge,” “as far as I remember,” or “I could be wrong, but…” can be red flags. This kind of language allows them to adjust their lie later if needed.

Therefore, pay attention to how people phrase their statements. Qualifying language doesn’t necessarily mean someone is lying, but it can be a clue that they’re not entirely confident in the truth of what they’re saying.  

The truth within the lie

In conclusion, recognizing these 9 subtle behaviors can enhance your interpersonal interactions and relationships. However, it’s essential to remember that these are merely potential indicators of dishonesty, not definitive proof.

People are complex creatures with a myriad of emotions, reactions, and habits. Sometimes, a lie may be a cry for help or a defense mechanism rather than an attempt to deceive.

So the next time you notice these signs, remember – it’s not just about detecting a lie. It’s about uncovering the truth that lies beneath.

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