How to Tell When Someone is Lying

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Lies LiarsWatching body language in addition to what is spoken might just save you from being a victim of fraud, or it could help you figure out when somebody’s being genuine. The police do this during an interrogation.

You have to learn the little facial and body expressions that can help you distinguish a lie from the truth. Here are some steps and tips to do so.

  1. Learn to recognize deflections. Usually when people are lying, they will tell stories that are true but are deliberately aimed at not answering the question you asked. If a person responds to the question “Did you ever hit your wife?” with an answer such as “I love my wife, why would I do that?”, the suspect is technically telling a truth, but they are avoiding answering your original question, which usually means they’re lying.
  2. Mind exaggerated details. See if they are telling you too much, like “My mom is living in France, isn’t it nice there? Don’t you like the Eiffel tower? It’s so clean there.” Too many details may tip you off to their desperation to get you to believe them.
  3. We have illustrators, and manipulators. Illustrators are a sign of telling the truth, this is when you are using your hand gestures to talk. moving your hands while you are talking is a sign of telling the truth. We also have manipulators. These, are the opposite of illustrators. An example of a manipulator can be playing with your wrist-watch, your jewelry, pulling on your ear lobe, etc. People who behave this way tend to be hiding something. The last, commonly unknown sign of hiding something is reptile tissue, most people have a reptile tissue in their nose, and it itches when you’re hiding something. But, before you assume that the person is hiding something, please establish a base line.
  4. Base Line: A base line is what someone acts like when they are not lying. You have to get a base line before you proceed with anything. Imagine you have a itch on your nose ever since you got out of bed. And someone thinks you are hiding something because you scratch your nose when answering a question…oops. What the person should have done is establish a baseline. To establish a baseline, you need to see the person when they aren’t lying. Try asking what their name is, and what they do for a living.
  5. Look out for micro-expressions. Micro-expressions are split second facial expressions that flash on a person’s face for a less than a 25th of a second and reveal the person’s true emotion underneath their facade. Some people may be naturally sensitive to them, but almost anybody can easily train to be able to detect microexpressions. Put focus to the upper and lower eyelids, the corner of the eyes, the mouth and the muscles surrounding the mouth, the eyebrows and forehead.
  6. Shaking hands When you meet the person who you think is deceiving you, shake their hand. Take note of the temperature. When you are sure they are lying to you, pretend to be leaving and quickly grab their hand for a “Good-Bye” Handshake. If the temperature is colder, they are fearful.
  7. Notice the person’s eye movements. Contrary to popular belief, a liar does not always avoid eye contact. Humans naturally break eye contact and look at non-moving objects to help them focus and remember. Liars may deliberately make eye contact to seem more sincere. You can usually tell if a person is remembering something or making something up based on their eye’s movements. When someone is remembering details, their eyes move to the right (your right). When someone is making something up, their eyes move to the left. It’s usually reversed for lefties. (although not always true.)
  8. Be aware of their emotional responses
    • Timing and duration tends to be off when someone is lying. If you ask someone a question and they respond directly after the question, there is a chance that the person is lying. This can be because they have rehearsed the answer, or they’re already thinking about the answer just to get it over with and move forward. A delayed answer can be a sign of lying. To tell the truth takes 2 parts of your brain at most, however to lie takes 6 parts of your brain. If the person has a long story then you can ask them to tell it backwards. Liars have trouble telling stories backwards, because in their mind they have rehearsed it forwards, but not backwards. And, as with smiling, facial expressions of a poor liar will be limited to the mouth area.
    • Pay close attention to the person’s reaction to your questions. A liar will often feel uncomfortable and turn their head or body away, or even subconsciously put an object between the two of you. Also, while an innocent person would go on the offensive (usually responding with anger, which will usually be revealed in a microexpression directly after you say you don’t believe them), a guilty person will often go immediately on the defensive (usually by saying something to reassure their facts, such as deflections).
  9. Listen for a subtle delay in responses to questions. An honest answer comes quickly from memory. Lies require a quick mental review of what they have told others to avoid inconsistency and to make up new details as needed. However, when people look up to remember things, it does not necessarily mean that they are lying.
  10. Be conscious of their usage of words. Verbal expression can give many clues as to whether a person is lying, such as:
    • Using/repeating your own exact words when answering a question
    • Not using contractions
    • Avoiding direct statements or answers (deflections)
    • Speaking excessively in an effort to convince
    • Speaking in a monotonous tone
    • Speaking in muddled sentences
    • Vocal pitch rising
    • Using classic qualifiers such as “I’m only going to say this once…”
    • Using humor and sarcasm to avoid the subject
    • Using Deflections (beating around the bush, not answering the question.)
  11. Allow silence to enter the conversation.
    • If they’re lying, they will become uncomfortable if you stare at them for a while with a look of disbelief. If they’re telling the truth, they will usually become angry or just frustrated (lips pressed together, brows down, upper eyelid tensed and pulled down to glare).
  12. Change the subject quickly. While an innocent person would be confused by the sudden shift in the conversation and may try to return to the previous subject, a liar will be relieved and welcome the change. You may see the person become more relaxed and less defensive.
  13. Watch his or her throat. A person may constantly be either trying to lubricate their throat when he/she lies by swallowing or clearing their throat to relieve the tension built up. A person’s voice can also be a good lie indicator; they may suddenly start talking faster or slower than normal, or their tension may result in a higher-pitched speaking tone. See baseline info
  14. Check the facts. If you have the means, check the validity of what the liar is saying. A skilled liar might give some reason why you shouldn’t talk to the person who could confirm or deny a story. Perhaps the liar will infer that the person is particularly favourable towards the liar, or that the person would have little time for you. These are probably lies themselves, so might be worthwhile overcoming your reluctance and to check with the person you’ve been warned against.
  15. Judge the character. Most people tell the truth most of the time, and will cherish their reputation. Liars will ‘sail close to the wind’ – they’ll artificially bolster their reputation so that they seem more credible or desirable than they actually are.
    • If you overhear a version of an anecdote that seems wrong, listen to those alarm bells – it might be a liar.
    • If someone takes the time out to ingratiate themselves with you out of the blue, it’s very flattering, but you have to ask, why are they doing that?
    • If John rubbishes or smears people more than normal, John is possibly putting in the groundwork so the audience are more receptive to John, and less receptive to the people who John has lied to – they’re discredited before they can say ‘John is a liar’.

Note –

  • Some people are extremely experienced or even professional liars. He or she has told their made up story so many times that they are actually believable, getting all their days, dates and times down perfectly! Sometimes, you may need to simply accept that you can’t catch every lie all the time.
  • If you do catch a lie, don’t reveal it to the liar; they will just adjust their story. Once you know one thing that is not true, you can use it to find more of the net of lies, and other nets of lies. Then decide which points you reveal and to whom.

  • Azar:

    Thanks for the info!

    • I always though when a person is looking side ways while answering a question it means he or she is lying while if the person is looking down, it means the person is trying to remember the details of the truth?

  • Redfox007:

    8*Be aware of their emotional responses:
    Timing and duration tends to be off when someone is lying. If you ask someone a question and they respond directly after the question, there is a chance that the person is lying.

    9* Listen for a subtle delay in responses to questions. An honest answer comes quickly from memory.

    These two, while possible, appear to be almost contradictory.

  • Bhagirathi:

    These are great tips. I have never closely observed anyone but now maybe I shall. But one does have an uncomfortable feeling with people who are not genuine. Thanks for sharing.

  • ajay deshpande:

    This is very important to know and understand and can be very useful in day to day life while dealing with people .

  • jegadeeswaran:

    very usefull and thought provoking.

  • Deepak joshua:

    Excellent info… tanx…

  • Binod prasad:

    Very good signs

  • Juhi:

    What i say Listen to the whole lies or cook up story. If possible probe like lawyer. If he/she isn’t good at then Lie would comes out else, leave the matter for the time being but don’t forget the whole cooked up story, one or the other day contradictions would surface. This I truly believe as it has always happened. One Indian proverb says Lie has no feet or roots, so it’s always get caught.

  • Excellent article.Good Tips.

    There are persons who most of the time speak lies by force of habit. I really wonder why?.I once asked one such guy why he always spoke lies and he simply replied that he never was conscious that he was telling lies. This also could have been a lie also.

    I do think that the home environment and early formative years also do contribute towards lying.

    Further lies come under various categories,professional lies, innocent lies,written lies,lover’s lies and host of other types.

    The article could also have stressed on why people adopt to speaking lies. Of course no single person can claim to be 100 percent truthful all the time, but the fact of the matter is that telling a truth is much easier and needs little planning, while telling lies is more difficult but can assume alarming proportions and become habit forming.

    People perhaps resort to lies assuming that truth will hurt more than lies to the listeners.

    Thanks for sharing the tips.

  • i appreciate your work….Thank u

  • Fakera:

    helpfull tips,thanks for sharing

  • Sourav:

    Great ideas. I will be next Holmes!Thanks Priya.

  • Umesh:

    Very Nice & helpful


    Very Well explained.. however i second Redfox 007 views on the two points. Thank you 🙂

  • Sunil Mujumdar:

    The information was fantastic and very useful in day-to-day life.

    Thanks and Regards,

    Sunil Mujumdar

  • Vilas Chavan:

    Thanks for your valuable and interesting mail.

  • vspangal:

    A delicate subject. May not give the desired result if the above directions are followed and also may tend to mislead people in many cases. I think these can be only true in some percent of cases. The human reactions can not be predicted always on the body language. It requires lot of study of individuals and the surrounding society/ background to establish or come to a conclusion on the body language.



  • Sweetu:

    Great Post. Thank you very much for sharing the details.

  • tigist:

    It was that what I want to read!! Thank you!!

  • Bakul:

    Very interesting and usefull too

  • Suman Thakur:

    Nice informative article,useful in all respect.

  • wow not a bad idea to read some ones mind

  • Manoharan Thangavelu:

    Bit of experience talks here not in detecting alone.
    Topic is lovely. Think twice before talking to Priya.

  • kulbir:

    Sounds great.

  • Bond 77:

    Very interesting, Yet I knew that there can be clues to deceit. The most determined liars may be betrayed by their own behavior.

  • Vikas:


  • sanjumay8:

    Thnx for the tips. 🙂

  • jayesh:

    Excellent, helpful tips!!!!!

  • Nicci:

    What about other the phone, when the person constantly clears their throat and pauses during answering a question?

  • shabbir:


    ask the LIAR…. 1 question…
    “Are you Lying?”
    “Are you telling the the truth?”

    The answer to them is +ve / YES if hes a LIAR and will laugh after the first question.

    The answer to them is -ve / NO and +ve / YES if the guy is truthful and admits that he is not a liar

    The answer to them is +ve / YES and -ve / NO if the guy is truthful and admits that he is telling LIES

  • Very usefull and Interesting Points Thanks.

  • Well, as for as textual information is’s good. But I think you must add relevant images for each behavior.

  • Thanks for a valueble information.
    Infact i think iam a good liar. I don’t cheat public but, try to make them believe by telling boasted stories.
    Is is bad manners?

  • Ramagopal:

    I can use it during cross examining witness next time

  • salmi:

    i have read this article perfectly on time, because soon im gonna meet my lover. i will try to do the same as mentioned above.”do u love me” why u love me”
    lets see

  • F H ARIF:

    Dear, U r catering a wonderful service to thousands, by disseminating knowledge on rare but important matters. indeed, acting sincerely as a open university to many. Thanks with the sincere best regards.

  • Prof. Nagaraj Shenoy:

    Very good article indeed, thanks.

    I just want to recall a good old joke:

    Q: How to recognize a lawyer is lying?

    A: His lips are moving.

  • K.M.Ramanathan:

    Good analysis and useful tips.
    My observation is that a liar is a braggart

  • Nemkumar Dhabu:

    Good points given to investigate a liar. The points discussed are helpful in daily life to find out while conversattions.

  • Lore:

    A lot of these things can also just be a sign of nerves. I know say- the nose itching… if I’m uncomfortable for any reason with what I’m saying, it tends to itch.

    When I had to tell a close family friend, that my uncle, her best friend had died of a heart attack, at the age of 51- out of the blue- and she missed the funeral because she was away and nobody had her contact number- my nose itched like crazy… didn’t mean I was lying about it.

    It’s a whole number of things you have to put together, and sometimes it is conflicting. It depends on the nature of the question. You ask my age, I can blurt out 35 and it isn’t a lie. I don’t have to think about it. Ask someone their age, and their hemming and hawing- question it.

    You ask me what I was doing first Monday, last month, at 7pm, and God damn it’s going to take me a while to figure it out- if I could begin to figure it out. Someone blurts out an answer to that- question it… lol.

    But key is, you have to keep an open mind, and just notice things. Don’t start assuming someone’s lying because they don’t look in the right direction for accessing memories when coming up with a response.

    You need to look with what my horseback riding instructors called “soft eyes” as well, try to notice the person as a whole- if you’re too focused on how the body is being held, you might miss a microexpression.

    And I know if I’m annoyed by questioning, saying yes, and shaking my head no is something I tend to do. Doesn’t mean it’s a lie- but it is a sign I’m getting annoyed/stressed…

    I tend to be decent at spotting when people lie when I really pay attention, but otherwise I try not to really focus in on it. It’s not something that turns off easily if you’re always looking for it, and it can be stressful because everyone lies, you just don’t always know why.

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