Lying is a part of human nature. We’ve all lied, and we’ve all been lied to. However, recognizing when someone is lying to your face can be challenging!
Luckily, there are subtle signals and body language signs we can look out for when trying to detect a lie. Here are twelve factors that reveal even the most experienced liars!
Number 1 – LONG PAUSES BETWEEN SENTENCES
Liars sometimes hesitate more than normal during a conversation. A pause following a sentence might indicate that a person is thinking about how best to
deliver a lie. Pauses are a definite warning sign when they color the speech of someone who’s normally a fluent speaker. If a person who normally speaks without thinking, suddenly has to think before speaking, then chances are high that they are busy constructing a lie. Lies certainly don’t come as easily to us as the truth, which is where the pauses come in. They buy us some time while we think up the next portion of our latest lie.
Number 2 – VOICE TONE & SPEED CHANGE
Changes in pitch can give a lie away faster than a fine-tuned lie detector! When a person tells a lie, his voice may become higher in pitch, as vocal cords tighten. Changes in speech rate are another potential giveaway that you’re talking to a liar. If you notice that a person starts speaking as if they’ve been hit with the fast forward button, then watch out for a lie. Quickening speech can be a manifestation of an unconscious desire to get the lie out as fast as possible. Alternatively, a person whose speech becomes more deliberately drawn out, might also be lying. Slowing speech can be a sign of labored processing of a lie. The more complicated the lie, the longer it takes for the brain to piece it together. Hence why a person may talk like a zombie while their brain works to produce a coherent lie.
NUMBER 3 – EYE CONTACT
People think that liars avoid eye contact, when in fact they maintain eye contact for longer periods of time than non-liars do! Knowing that people assume that they’ll avert their gaze while telling a lie, liars sometimes overcompensate by locking their eyes with you for longer than is necessary to convince you of their honesty. People typically maintain eye contact for three to five second intervals during everyday conversations. If you notice someone holding your gaze for much longer than that, then your lie detector sensors should go off. The way I see it, they’re either attracted to you or lying to you.
Number 4 – BREATHING SPEEDS UP OR SLOWS DOWN
Changes in breathing patterns can be a giveaway that you’re being lied to. Deep breathing, for instance, suggests that the brain has increased its activity.
And increased brain activity is also associated with lying! If mindfulness has taught us one important lesson, it’s to pay attention to our breathing. In this case, you should pay attention to the breathing of others just as mindfully.
Number 5 – EXCESSIVE SWEATING
Sweating is a symptom of anxiety, and anxiety often accompanies a lie. Some liars break out in a cold sweat as their lie unfolds; others sweat the lie out without physically perspiring. If your conversation partner isn’t prone to sweating, or if they’re known for sweating when telling a lie, then the beads of sweat on their forehead could be a warning sign that they are lying. Just be sure not to jump to the conclusion that someone’s lying based on their excessive sweating alone. It might be really hot in the room, or they might have recently developed a medical condition.
Number 6 – FAKING A SMILE
We’ve all been in situations where we had to fake happiness in order to spare someone’s feelings. And smiles indeed can be deceiving. They make you look happy, but that happiness might actually be a lie. There’s a subtle difference between an honest and a fake smile. An honest smile engages both the mouth and the eyes, while a fake smile only makes use of the lips. When a person’s smile isn’t reflected in their eyes, it probably isn’t genuine.
Number 7 – CONTRADICTORY GESTURES
Our words don’t always match our actions, even when we’re not intending to lie. Occasionally, liars will betray themselves by engaging in behavior that contradicts the story that they’re telling. For example, a liar might unconsciously shake their head signaling no when answering a question with a yes. Or, a liar might speak in a light tone about something devastating. When words and gestures, or words and tone of voice, don’t match, you can be sure that one of the two is a lie!
Number 8 – TOUCHING THE NOSE
We’re all familiar with the effect lying had on Pinocchio’s nose. Scientists have found that the human nose actually expands when a lie is being told. This is caused by chemicals being released due to the pressure of telling a lie. While you won’t actually be able to see the effects, what does happen, is this swelling can create a tingling sensation or itch which the liar will want to scratch, and as a result, they end up touching their nose.
Number 9 – TOUCHING THE NECK OR PULLING ON THE COLLAR
This is a classic tell-tale sign of a liar, and the reason behind it comes from the sensitivity of the delicate facial and neck tissues. When someone lies, it creates a tingling sensation in these areas, which the liar will want to touch. The pressure of lying also causes sweat to increase around the neck which is why the collar pull is so common. Another giveaway is when someone scratches the side of their neck just below the earlobe. This usually tends be done in a specific way – namely with the index finger of their dominant hand. This is a typical signal of insecurity, doubt and uncertainty which is running through the mind of someone who isn’t telling the whole truth.
Number 10 – OVERLY DEFENSIVE
When you confront a liar with the facts, they usually become extremely defensive, refusing to answer any questions and even accusing you of lying. If the suspect responds to your questions with phrases like ’Why do you want to know that?’ or ’That’s not important now,’ they are surely reaching their limits and using this defense as an attack.
Number 11 – CHANGING THE SUBJECT
Everyone feels vulnerable and uncomfortable when telling a lie. Even if a person is an experienced liar with a relaxed look on their face, inside, they are panicking. A liar will surely try to change the subject quickly and jump to another topic!
Number 12 – COVERING THE MOUTH
Covering the mouth, in particular, is a subconscious reflex that can literally mean someone is trying to suppress the deceitful words that are coming out of their mouth. It could manifest as a literal hand over the mouth or even a finger placed over the lips in a ‘Ssshh’ gesture. This is likely to come from parents who may have made this gesture to indicate a desire to keep quiet. But in adulthood, it could indicate an attempt for someone to tell themselves to withhold feelings or words. Now you know how to tell if someone is lying to you! So practice observing these signals and you can catch people in their tracks! By being aware of these signs, no matter how sincere a person may sound, it will be less likely that they’ll be able to fool you with a lie! However, don’t automatically assume that a person is lying to you if they exhibit any one of the signs on this list. But, if several of these signs come to your attention, then you might want to verify that person’s statements!