Body language is such a fascinating thing. We can say a lot by saying nothing. When we’re embarrassed, our face becomes flushed. When we’re happy, we smile. When we’re amused, we chuckle. When we’re tired, we yawn. While we may think sometimes people are not able to call us on our bluff, little do we know we emit signs without even knowing; especially if we are lying.
According to a 2002 study by Robert Feldman, the average person tells two to three lies in a ten-minute conversation. While lying is never a good thing, the truth is most people lie every day and as a result, we have been deceived by the truth at some point. People lie about their age, their job occupation, and other mundane things. While a little white lie may not hurt, fortunately, there are ways to call somebody on their bluff; no lie-detecting apparatus needed. They say if you always tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything. Nonetheless, here are a few signs to remember when determining if somebody is lying.
10. Eye Contact
Eyes are the windows to the soul. They are also key indicators to determine if a person is lying. However, analyzing eye contact is not always what it seems. A person who is lying may take one of two routes: prolonged eye contact or very little eye contact. Professional liars are more likely to look you square in the eye to deceive you. Nervous or timid liars are more likely to break their eye contact or give very little eye contact while fibbing. They may also look away to look for a lie to come up with.
Did you know rapper LL Cool J once stated that his infamous lip-licking was mostly done out of a nervous habit he picked up as a kid? If this is in fact true, it would be no secret knowing that lip-licking also doubles as a sign of lying. When a person is lying they may develop anxiety which will cause certain parts of their lips to be cold. As a result, the nervous system kicks in and helps dispel this anxiety by sending blood to these spots. In the end, if a person is constantly licking their lips or touching them while telling a story, you might have a liar on your hands.
8. Still Movement
Another tell-tale sign to determine if somebody is lying is how minimal their body movement is. Stiff body language is a result of being tense or nervous. When a person is normally engaging in conversation, their body movement is fluid and relaxed. Think of how many people you know who use their hands while elaborating a normal conversation. When a person is lying or put on the spot, their muscles will stiffen up as a result of the “fight or flight” human instinct. This action is similar to a deer in headlights; they are so frightened and surprised that they can’t move.
7. They Provide Too Much Information
Have you ever engaged in a conversation where the other person was offering information that served little relevance to the story (and probably left you questioning why it was even brought up)? Well chances are, that person was probably lying to you. In a Business Insider article, Lillian Glass, a behavioral analyst, states: “Liars often talk a lot because they are hoping that, with all their talking and seeming openness, others will believe them.” So just remember, if what is being said sounds like bologna, there is a good chance that it is.
6. Throat Clearing
According to a former CIA Officer, another sign to look for to determine if a person is lying is what they do with their throat before they are faced with a question. If a person swallows significantly before answering a question, they could possibly be lying. I know you’re probably thinking: doesn’t everyone clear their throat to avoid an embarrassing scraggly voice? Well, a person clearing their throat might indicate that they are about to dress up a lie. Also, the person may have experienced discomfort after being asked an uneasy question causing dryness in their mouth and throat.
5. Excessive Sweating
Another common indicator of whether or not somebody is lying is perspiration. Granted, we all may know a person or two who sweats profusely because of a medical condition (or just because), but you might want to pay closer attention if you suspect that a person is lying to you. Lying causes tension and stress, which in turn will cause sweat to appear in the palms of the hands, on the forehead, and underarms. Next time you’re interrogating your friend or significant other on their whereabouts (if you have reason to), pay close attention to this helpful tip.
4. Contradicting Expressions
While some of us may not be the best at expressing emotions, this may be problematic when telling a lie. According to previous studies, if the timing of the emotions are off, more than likely than not the story is off too. For example, if a person smiles after making a statement instead of smiling simultaneously while making the statement, the emotion is not genuine and neither is the story. To go more in depth, when a person is insincere, they will not use all of the required muscles used naturally to express an emotion—i.e. smiling and frowning.
A guilty dog barks the loudest and when it comes to telling a lie, this maxim stands true. Have you ever asked a person a simple question and he or she immediately got really defensive? Well, you can count on a person being a liar if he or she gets on the defensive side when faced with a question they are guilty of. An innocent person will usually take the offensive side. To elaborate a little further, a person who is caught in a lie will sometimes avoid the question altogether and answer it indirectly as a method to divert the attention of the interrogator.
If you’ve ever asked a person a question, and they asked you to repeat it (even though you were very clear the first time), they may have been trying to cleverly buy time to come up with a lie to tell. This stalls time and allows the liar to gather their thoughts. Another repetitive mechanism liars will use is restating their answers. A person who is in the middle of lie will often repeat themselves in hopes of trying to convince you to believe they are telling the truth (or convince themselves in some cases). This repetition validates the lie in their mind according to Glass.
1. They Can’t Tell The Story Backwards
As a method police detectives use, asking a person to reiterate a recollection backwards is a slick way to catch a person in a lie. This method makes the person have to think harder therefore will make signs of lying more obvious and will drive them over the edge. Asking open-ended questions and asking for as many details as possible starting from the end, will also help catch a liar in an act. However, Ronald Fisher, a former UCLA psychologist, and Geiselman, found that a really good liar will try to stick to his or her story while monitoring your reaction.