How to tell if Someone is Lying: 10 Simple Tips

“Everybody Lies”, as rightly said again and again by Hugh Laurie in his television series House M.D. Lying is the basic part of the human philosophy, the only variably being about what. Everybody, literally every single human being, lies at least once in his lifetime. Some lies are small, some are big. Some lies are more significant than others.

Lying comes as naturally to some of us as perhaps breathing. In some cases lying is a part of a defense mechanism usually employed to save oneself from a situation. In some others, it is a mental condition due to which the person becomes a compulsive liar.

People have been lying since the beginning of time. We lie every day to people. We lie to our families, our loved ones, our friends, our teachers, and to random people as well. Most of the time, human beings lie because it is beneficial for them, in one way or the other.

In modern times, lying has become an indispensable part of our lives. It is probably the reason why most people have trust issues. Often, we no longer even think once before lying. Politicians lie when they make false promises to people. Insurance firms lie when they sell you policies that would rarely actually help you in times of need just to scrape more money off you. Product sellers lie about the benefits of the products they sell.  Ask yourself this: What is your reply when you’re late for a meeting or a plan you’d made with someone and they ask you “Where are you?” You reply “almost there”, when often you’re still getting ready, deciding what to wear. We all do it. But, how can you judge if a person is lying or being honest? Here are a few tips what will help you in deciding:

10. Changes in breathing

Lie (10)

Often, when someone is lying, their breathing changes and becomes heavier than normal. Basically, it becomes heavier because when they are lying, their blood flow and along with that, their heart rate changes. This causes them to feel breathless. How breathless they feel exactly, varies from situation to situation and person to person. The body experiences these changes because the mind feels tense and nervous. Thus, the more confidently a person lies, the easier it is for him to conceal the heavy breathing or breathlessness.

9. Repeating words or lines


Whenever a person is lying, they usually tend to repeat the words, phrases or sentences or phrases over and over again. This, as said by experts on this matter, happens because the person who is lying is trying to convince you and at the same time himself of the thing he is saying. In words, they are trying to validate that lie in their minds. The repetition occurs because the person is trying to buy time in order to gather their thought as, often, people cook up lies on the spot and then just go along with the flow.

8. Standing still

Standing still

Although, commonly people believe that people fidget around while lying because fidgeting is a sign of nervousness. That is true in some cases. However, it is also true that people tend to stand still and tighten their postures while lying. Now this may be because of the impending confrontation that they expect. It is observed that often during normal conversations people obviously feel more relaxed and thus are postures are loose and relaxed. So, whenever you feel someone become stiff or having restricted body movements, it may be sign that something is not right!

7. Shuffling feet


This is another sign to look out if you want to check if the person is lying or not. If the person you’re talking to is shuffling their legs while doing it (or shaking, either one of them), then they are probably lying about what they are saying to you. People shuffle their legs because they feel nervous and uncomfortable when they are lying. It is their subconscious taking over. Most of the time, they have no control over it. It’s like a reflex action. It is an indication that the person wants to leave the situation and just walk away.

6. Giving excessive information

Person Annoyed by Others Talking

People, when they lie, often tend to provide the listener or listeners with excessive information- related or sometimes even unrelated- to the matter and give details which are generally not required in that situation. They’ll tell you statistical data and other stuff which, at that point, will actually feel out of place. It will be pretty visible that the person is actually saying too much about a matter that doesn’t requires so much information. This, experts believe, happens because the person who is lying thinks that their excessive talking and apparent openness in the matter will make people believe them.

5. Covering their mouth

Covering Mouth

When a person touches or covers their mouth while talking, it is often suggestive of something fishy. While lying, a person tends to cover or fidget with their mouth because it the brains unconscious effort to trying to close communication. The ‘putting the hands on the mouth’ is suggestive of the fact that the person does not want to deal with the issue or question (obviously, because they are lying).

4. Increase in hand gestures

Hand Gestures

Pointing at things and other hand gestures could also suggest that the person in lying. If during a conversation, a person suddenly starts to move their hands more than the usual and start making hand gestures; it could be a warning sign that what they are saying is probably not true. This happens because the person who is lying tries to distract your undivided attention from what he is saying. If you’re distracted, there is a higher chance that you may accept what he is saying while being less hesitant that you would have had the person been talking without the hand movements.

3. Difficulty in speaking


It is a common observation that people often have difficulty in speaking in speaking when they lie. You might have seen it in many movies and television series which have stuff like police interrogation scenes. People tend to fumble and stammer and have difficulty finishing their sentences. There is a technical reason behind this behavior.  Directly quoting an FBI expert on these matters, “This occurs because the automatic nervous system decreases salivary flow during times of stress, which of course dries out the mucous membranes of the mouth.” Some people also start biting their lip, so that’s also a sign to look out for.

2.Language becomes impersonal


People, while lying, tend to avoid using personal pronouns like ‘I’, ’me’ and ‘mine’. Moreover they avoid using people’s names and instead tend to use ‘him’ or ‘her’. This is their way of distancing themselves from the lie. In many cases, they also try and try to cut down the conversation by trying to change the topic at every chance they get. They also start asking questions in return in order to avoid getting asked questions about their lie.

1. Reduced blinking and breaking eye contact

Eye Contact

It is commonly known that people tend to not make eye contact and look elsewhere when they lie. It takes a really confident person to look in someone eyes and lie to them. Blinking patterns can also be suggestive of a person’s lying. People, when they lie, sometimes have a tendency to reduce their blinking and stare while they lie. This happens because the mind subconsciously attempts to control and manipulate the person it is lying to. In some cases, people also start blinking rapidly when they are lying. So that could be a sign to look out for as well.

Now the big question: How bad a thing is lying? It is common belief that a lie which results in being beneficial for someone without harming anyone isn’t a lie after all. It’s widely accepted socially as well. In most cases that saying may be correct as well. However, as elders always have and will continue to advice us, we should try and be honest all the time. But then, some situations put us in a bad place which we have to lie to get out of.


About author View all posts

Shreyas Bhayana

An engineering student who would just about write on any topic that has some potential. Though, music would always have a special place. Originally from Noida (Delhi-NCR), currently in Patiala, Punjab.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • You can always tell when a politician is lying – you can see their lips move! (Ha!)

  • Lying is immoral. It’s that simple. If your social circle is full of liars then you should find a new circle. Your friends are the ones you can tell the truth to. If you can’t then they really aren’t your friends.

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