Tired of having the wool pulled over your eyes? Find it difficult to tell fact from fiction? Don’t fret, we’re here to help! As avid fans of detective shows and keen listeners of crime podcasts, we’re always eager to hunt for the twists in the tale. With that in mind, we’ve scoured the internet to find some of the key signs to look out for when you suspect someone is lying to you…
Answering Questions with Questions
Most people have a conscience, even liars, so our natural instinct is to avoid having to tell a lie in the first place! Telling a bald-faced lie to someone also carries the risk of detection. In order to avoid this, liars usually avoid answering the question posed to them by any means necessary. One of the most common tactics is to answer your question with another question. This is an example of a common scene played out in every TV drama featuring a cheating spouse:-
Wife:- ‘Where did you go after work?’
Husband:- ‘Why, did something happen?’
Wife:- ‘I’m just wondering why you couldn’t call me to say you would be late. Dinner is overdone now.’
Husband:- ‘Did you try my mobile? What is for dinner?’
The above is a very basic example but you can see what we mean. In order to avoid telling the lie, the husband never actually answers the question. He just keeps asking questions of his own.
Talks Too Much But Says Little
Verbal diarrhoea is another sign that someone is trying to hide the truth from you. In order to divert your attention away from what they are not saying, they fill the conversation with meaningless chat. They will actively divert your conversation away from whatever you want to know that they don’t want to tell you.
When asked a direct question, their statements will be vague, lacking any real detail and may not even relate to the question you have asked them. The liar will want to minimise the risk of discovery so everything they say relating to the truth you are trying to get to will be non-committal with few real facts involved.
When most of us are accused of something we haven’t done, we get upset and emotional, then follow up with the reasons why we could not have done it. When caught in a lie, the natural state of most liars is to go on the defensive. Subconsciously, they feel that if they deny something, it will cease to have ever happened. They don’t want to face up or admit to what they have done for fear of facing the consequences of their actions.
Instead, they get defensive. In most cases, this looks like aggression or passive aggression. They get angry and shout. They try and change the subject. They sulk or go silent. They use every tactic they can to make you back down and try to make out that they are the wounded party. If they can intimidate you enough with their reaction, then they know that they have won.
Promises and Oaths
‘I swear I’d never do that.’
‘I promise you it’s the truth.’
‘I want to be honest with you.’
Statements like the above can be a sign that someone is trying too hard to convince you they are telling the truth. If they are continually making promises and oaths and dropping in repetitive phrases like the above, they are probably lying. If they are telling the truth, there is no need for them to try so hard to support you.
Never Says Sorry
A true apology is something that you will rarely hear from a committed liar. They don’t want to have to admit to the things they have said or done behind your back. Instead they will try to smooth things over by changing the subject or getting aggressive.
In the rare instances that they admit fault, there will always be a ‘but’. An example of this is:-
‘I’m sorry but you gave me so much to do that I was overwhelmed’
‘I’m sorry but I just felt that you didn’t love me anymore’
‘I’m sorry but you really gave me no choice’
Notice how they always blame you? They try to shift their own faults on to you and make you the reason for their lie. At the end of the day, it’s all about them. This is also very common narcissistic behaviour.
The Eyes Have it
They say the eyes our the windows to the soul. Well, they certainly help when spotting a liar! When people lie, there are a few eye movements you can watch out for to spot when they are spinning you a tale. Looking away and breaking eye contact is a dead giveaway. They can’t bring themselves to look you in the eye – it’s a classic shame response.
There’s also the liar who maintains eye contact for long periods of time, without looking away and rarely blinking. This is a common trait of the manipulative liar. It’s almost like a staring contest, if they can get you to look away first, they can feel as though they have won and have control of the conversation.
Uncomfortable Body Language
Body language is another good indicator of a liar. Most people are so wrapped up in what they are trying to sell you that their body can subconsciously give them away. Covering your mouth during a conversation is a good example of this as it is literally a way to stop yourself from telling a lie. Some people subconciously cover vulnerable body parts like the chest, throat and abdomen when telling a lie as though to protect themselves from attack.
If someone is constantly shuffling their feet when talking to you, it means that they can’t wait to get away from your scrutiny. Their subconcious is literally making them run for the nearest exit! As well as shuffling feet, hand actions can also be a dead giveaway.
Liars tend to use gestures with their hands after they speak rather than during a conversation. Their brain is so caught up in the lie that they can’t do two things at once. They may also hide their hands or put them in their pockets as an unconscious signal that they are hiding something from you. A defensive liar when confronted will use aggressive gestures with their hands, such as pointing, in an attempt to put the blame on you and take back control of the situation.
In truth, these are just a few ways to spot whether someone is lying to you. Be vigilant and always be careful when confronting someone with your suspicions. They may not take it too well. Try and make sure that you always have someone else with you when tackling a liar – two heads are often better than one. We’re off to do some more armchair detective work. Until next time…