None of us are true to people all the time and we cannot help but admit that the societal norms shape us that way. But when there are people who are always lying and behaving deceptive, it becomes a nature for them. Here, we will help you determine how to tell if someone is lying. From common behavioral changes to body languages, there are many things that can help you catch a liar.
There is little research to explain how much people actually lie. Some surveys suggest that almost 96% of people have admitted to lying at some point in their life. There was a national study done on 1,000 people in America and more than 600 respondents admitted that they don’t lie at all. The researchers found that around half of all the lies were told by 5% of the people. The prevalence rate definitely varies, but there is surely a small group of prolific liars.
If you look into yourself right now, you will probably be able to answer the last time you lied. Some lies might be white lies that people say only to not hurt someone. But in most cases, lies are serious and it often becomes a habit for a constant liar.
How to tell if someone is lying?
To be able to determine how to tell someone is lying, you need to be observant. Their body and behavioral change will indicate what is what. But people who can pretend well might make you believe what they’re saying is true.
It is easy to catch a liar when they are not conscious about what they speak or when you know they can lie to you. People who pretend well or the ones you trust absolutely will be tough to crack through.
Check out the common behavioral changes that can help you catch someone who’s lying:
1. No consistency in the stories
We usually assume that liars can’t keep their facts straight. But people who are good at it can keep lying and continue the stories. You will not be able to catch them as long as you don’t study their deceptive look.
If you ask a truthful person to tell the story many times, they will not only give you the main facts but will also add the additional details. If a liar does the same, they might get caught or deviate from the main part to make things up.
When you ask someone to remember a past event, they first think about the time they tried to recall it once before. A liar will immediately think of new ways to make things up, as they know they can get caught. You need to study these inconsistencies and that will answer you if someone is lying.
2. Doubtful expressions
If you look into a person’s facial expressions, it will have a lot to say. If you see lack of veracity, blinking, blushing, fake smiles, or flared nostrils, these are signs of suspicion.
When you are doubtful about a person and you find them giving you such signals, you might catch them lying. However, you can also go horribly wrong doubting about a person if they genuinely give you an expression you weren’t expecting. It sure is difficult to make out if someone is lying with the help of expressions only, so you do need some more signs.
3. Asks you to repeat what you say
If someone you are suspicious of, asks you to repeat what you just said, they are probably thinking about lying. They take extra time to put their words together and then give you a false statement. You need to weigh the actions to realize if the person is lying or if he actually didn’t hear you right.
4. Unnecessary superlatives
If a person uses words like “literally”, “tremendous”, “absolutely”, too many times, they are probably ‘sugar coating’ everything they say. There are definitely times when we all want to use such words while talking, but not all the time. People who tend to pepper their speech is probably trying to avoid a quarrel or distract you.
5. Trying to shut people up
If someone doesn’t want to talk about something or changes the topic you, they have something to hide. That person can also be uncomfortable about talking on that subject. But if you think he is lying, he is probably trying to shut you up from discussing that.
6. Qualifying language
People who are honest often remind us that many aren’t generally honest. But do you know how? People who use phrases like “I swear on you”, “If I am being absolutely truthful”, generally aren’t being truthful. Their actions, way of speaking, and choice of words will confirm that they’re lying.
7. How they say “No”
If a person says “no” and looks into another direction or closes their eyes, they are probably lying. Someone who exclaims by stretching the word “noooooo” can also lie or try to be manipulative.
If you know people who are upfront and have the habit of saying “no”, simply twist how you speak. For example, use a lot of passive voice sentences rather than asking direct questions. It can confuse them and make them give you a better answer.
8. Not remembering details
Best way to know if someone is lying is by asking them to recall the entire incident. Someone who makes up stories will probably not remember every lie he/she said related to it. They are bound to fall prey to things they previously said and get caught.
The best way you can charge a person is by asking him to tell the story backward. A liar is bound to make mistakes and get easily caught.
9. Inappropriate emotions
If you find someone giving you terrible news with a funny attitude, you will find it suspicious. Even good news that comes with over-enthusiasm might seem doubtful.
Although is it tricky to figure out liars like this, you need to understand why a person will react differently from what they should. Such behavior can give cues to catch criminal acts. But it might also be an emotional problem the person is going through.
Contempt isn’t always lying, but it does need you to consider why and where a conversation is coming from. It is usually a mix of moral superiority and anger. It is difficult to develop a rapport with a person who feels like that.
To understand contempt, you need to keep a check on one’s body language. It is denoted by one lip corner pulled in and up. It is the only asymmetrical expression followed by a deceptive look.
Note that all these are potential evidence but none of them can indicate that someone is definitely lying. In order to know how to tell if someone is lying, you need to keep a tab of their actions. When you are constantly keeping a check on a person, they will give you enough evidence to get caught
Body cues are as important as expressions and way of talking. You need to observe how a person behaves in overall to determine how to tell if someone is lying:
1. The hands
Liars usually use gestures with their hands to back their lies up. If they think that something they are about to say is going to be opposed, they will use an external force. A lot of people do use their hands while speaking, but there’s a catch if its unnecessary.
A mind tries to do many things when they make up a story. They keep processing how their lie will come out and if people will believe it or not. These thoughts make a liar rethink about what they’re saying.
A study was done in 2015 by the University of Michigan. Researchers had to go through 120 videos from the media that were involved in court cases. They had to understand how people behave when they lie versus when they are truthful.
The study showed that the people who lie use more gestures with both hands. 40% of all the people who were lying in the videos were using both hands. 25% of the people who used their hands were speaking the truth. Moreover, a person who uses hands to express all the time will have a certain in-built body language. They do it all the time and you can tell if that’s how they speak every time.
To determine how to tell if someone is lying by gestures, you’d find their palms away from you. People who lie will try to hold back unconsciously. This means they might put their hands in their pockets, slide them under a table, and more.
If someone is constantly rocking their body to and fro, cocking their head to a side or shuffling their feet, these are signs of deception. Fluctuations in the autonomic nervous system regulate bodily functions and can have an effect. When someone is nervous, it prompts people to feel itchy. This leads to the fidgety behavior. Signs like playing with hair also falls under this.
3. Facial cues
Check out the different facial cues that can tell if someone is lying or not:
Someone who is lying will have the least chances to look into your eyes and talk. People who lie, tend to look away during the crucial moment. They might move their eyes around while trying to figure out what they will say next.
Another study conducted in 2015 by the University of Michigan found that people who lie are more likely to stare. They will look into a specific object instead of facing you. Almost 70% of the video clips showed that people who lie look directly into an object or even on your face but not into the eyes.
When you roll the lips back to a point where they almost disappear, you can lie to someone. Observe this trait on another person when you try to determine how to tell if someone is lying. People who do this, are trying to hold back emotions and facts.
One research found that people who lie a lot are like to press their lips if you ask them a sensitive question. This is also a sign to show that they don’t want to get into a discussion. This is a type of instinctive reflex, which shows that you don’t want to talk.
Change in complexion
Have you ever seen someone go pale when you asked them a question? They behave like they have seen a ghost. Such an instance can make people lie and you will find it easy to catch them.
When someone is nervous and they know that they can get caught, they start to sweat. You will find their upper lips, chin, and forehead sweat. They can also have dryness in their eye or mouth area. If you also find the person blink too much, swallow hard, or bite their lip, these would all be signs.
Tone of voice
When someone is nervous, he/she will have a high-pitched voice. The muscles of our vocal cords tighten up when we are nervous. Our voice starts to sound high pitched. You might notice a creak in the voice. A liar often tries to clear his throat to cope up with the discomfort of tightened muscles.
People who don’t lie all the time are easy to catch. Most of us aren’t born liars and that’s why we can easily slip-up. For example, if someone says “I was fired… I mean I left my job” you will know that he/she slipped-up. Every time people slip up, they are either hiding something they don’t want to say or lying. It is easy to catch such lies and confront that person immediately.
These were some of the ways you can determine if someone is lying to you. Depending upon the situation and the relationship you share, you must confront the person you suspect. You might be upset when you are being lied to, but you must be open to understanding why people lie. You need to understand why a person lied to you and how you can help them say what is true.