22 Obvious Ways To Detect And Tell If A Person Is Lying

Lying is something that happens everyday in every society. A person may want to to deceive, maintain a secret or reputation, or to avoid punishment. In business, politics, romance or at home it happens and it would also be nice to know when we’re being lied to.

  1. Fidgeting
  2. Fidgeting is the most obvious giveaway. Watch for hands and legs that are shaky, rubbing, stiff, self directed, touching the face, nose, chest or behind the ear. Arms crossed over the chest while speaking is the body language for protection and sense of insecurity linked to lying. Other actions include biting the lip, covering the mouth, rubbing the forehead or temple, squinting of the eyes or rubbing of the neck. Women tend to touch their throat’s trachial area.

  3. Over Denial
  4. image source

    Repeating protests of innocence.

  5. Lack Of Detail
  6. Liars’ stories often lack detail. Push for particulars. The more specific details that a liar has to provide, the more likely he is to slip up.

  7. Uncooperative
  8. Liars are noticeably less cooperative. They are also more likely to complaint, make more negative statements and appear unfriendly to minimize slip ups.

  9. Eye Contact
  10. Unwillingness to make or never breaking eye contact is often sign of deceit.

  11. Dilated Pupils
  12. Dilated pupils and a rise in vocal pitch are more common in liars than people who told the truth.

  13. Pausing
  14. Forced to make up a story on the spot, most speakers will take a beat or two to collect their thoughts. Lies require a quick mental review of what they have told others to avoid inconsistency and to make up new details as needed.

  15. Inconsistency
  16. Having someone repeat the story again will enable you to look for inconsistencies to ferret out lies.

  17. Consciously Trying Too Hard
  18. Someone who is consciously trying to make you think he’s honest may be lying. For example you may hear the phrase ‘to be honest’ more often than not. Generally, people assume that they will be trusted most of the time. If someone expects otherwise, take a moment to think.

  19. Being Open To Possibilities
  20. Liars succeed in the area where listeners themselves do not really want to know the truth. So be honest with yourself about what it is you want to hear. A boss may want to believe that a trusted employee didn’t have his hand in the cookie jar. However, does the story make sense?

  21. Eye Direction
  22. Their eyes are not fixed upon whom they are speaking to. If the person looks up to the left upper corner of their eye, they are pulling strategy from their right side of the brain, which is the creative side, therefore creating a situation or lying. Looking at the right upper corner of the eye will invoke the left side of the brain which indicates visual recalling.

  23. Stuttering
  24. Stumbling over words without natural fluency.

  25. Change Of Subject
  26. Changing subjects quickly. A liar will definitely welcome the change and try to maintain the new subject. Their interests are clearly seen. An innocent person will appear confuse and may also try returning to the previous subject.

  27. Level Of Comfort
  28. When someone is comfortable with you while answering your questions, they will move to their comfort positions, eg. tilting their head to one side or the other. When asked a question that they might lie about or feel threatened by, they will straighten or stiffen up, no longer tilting their head.

  29. Unusually Longer Response
  30. Q : Are there any drugs or weapons in your car?
    A : There shouldn’t be.
    Q : Is this your car?
    A : Yes.

    There are drugs and/or guns/knives in the car. An innocent person in their own car would answer with an emphatic ‘NO’. Unusually much longer responses or too many details may tip you off to their desperation to get you to believe them.

  31. Filling The Gap
  32. Someone trying to lie may also ‘bridge’ over something they do not want to tell you.

  33. Ah’s Um’s Er’s
  34. People using um, ah, hmm, before answering questions are trying to think of an answer, that more times than not, is going to be a lie.

  35. Over Formal Speech
  36. Use of long words, painfully correct grammar and the full form of words or phrases that would normally be shortened, suggesting a scripted speech rather than natural conversation.

  37. Very Few Gestures And No Pointing
  38. Physical movements illustrating something being described is a common and natural activity.

  39. Justification
  40. Attempting to justify every detail with lengthy explanations.

  41. Conflict In Verbal And Physical Projection
  42. You can find many discrepancies between a lie and the actions. You may also find mismatches between the tone of voice and expression. Be sensitive to the person’s emotional expression, specifically the timing and duration, which tends to be off when someone is lying. Emotions can be delayed, remain longer than usual, then stop suddenly. Likewise, they might not match appropriately with verbal statements.

  43. Most Obvious Giveaway
  44. On paper. Seeing what someone said in writing is much more effective in detecting lies than listening to them.

If someone who knows what he is going to be asked will surely have prepared himself. The best liars in the world are the most thorough ones. For example, when Bill Clinton looked at those reporters and told them he never had relations ‘with that woman’ and never blinked or gave ANY indication he was lying, he broke the mold.

42 replies on “22 Obvious Ways To Detect And Tell If A Person Is Lying”

this list has flaws, most notably not everyone is the same.
i for one, fidget all the time…whether or not im talking to people or if im lying. 2nd, i HATE looking ppl in the eyes..idk why i just never liked it so i never do it

I’m the same way, I hate making eye contact with people, it’s just incredibly awkward for me.

It is a funny thing to look ppl in the eye when you have double vision. I had a car accident that left me with permanent damage (double vision) to my eyes. Looking you in the eye PHYSICALLY hurts me… I mean painful. I was concerned about my inability until I realized it was warranted.

They didn’t mention the adam’s apple. People who lie take a big swallow -just before they lie.
Also forgot to mention that a liar will ALWAYS repeat the question that they are asked of they are going to lie. Example :
Law Enforcement : Did you steal that pair of jeans from the store?
Criminal/ Liar : Did I steal the jeans from the store?
Perfect example of a liar. A liar loves the art of delay to gather their lie.

Tenniscoach…NEVER use the term ALWAYS…not all users use this technique everytime…though it IS a red flag.

I find that #3 and #20 are in direct conflict with each other. Which is it? Liars give more detail or lack detail? A smart/good one with give less detail. Hoping that their accuser will leave it at that. Bad liars give far too much detail and hang themselves fairly quickly.

I always found this trick to detect liars quite helpful: If a liar got time to make a story up, most of them tend to be just _too_ perfect. In most cases, the story will have far too many details to be true.

I left the following reply (as well as my comment here earlier) to Seems to be the same here too… Now it says: 18,662 Views on this site. You CANNOT all be intellectually dishonest?!?


Sigh… Have any of you even read the links I gave you? This is bullshit. And seeing all these lists (in this blog) purporting to be the way to eternal bliss (or whatever)… All I can say is that you are deluding yourselves… …big time.


In my 41 years on this planet I have realized that…most of what is said here is good IF it is cross checked a second time.
Think about it..if they tell a story, wait a day or wo and rephrase the question. Ask them again, get the same event under question and THEN see what they say. Does their story change. Liars WILL add new detail, because to the liar it gives them more credibility…they think…in YOUR mind. BUT if the facts cannot be true…you’ll know it.
an example would be: Of course I was at work, Larry, Lisa and Mark were there doing the dishes etc.
Next day: I remember Mark and Lisa doing the dishes, they can tell yo I was there.
YOu: What about Larry & Tom?
Liar: They had already gone home.
YOu: Really? Are you sure? (a good way to get “them” to solidify their own answerLiar: Yes I am sure, “why would Ilie about that?
You: Hummm.Yesterday you said, MArk, Lisa AND Larry!
Liar: No I didn’t, you must have heard me wrong.

Now can people forget, what they said the day before? Sure BUT they are “probably” and I say this thinking about the law of averages, they are probably liying about what really happened.
IF you can keep revisiting, (and I would suggest writing what they say down a short time later-so your memory doesn’t come into question) but revisiting thier stories, allows you to see a pattern of either a mental problem with memory recall -or- a liar telling lies.

A great way of spotting a liar is when you catch them not making sense and pointing out how “their own stories” do not add up….they,”not having a leg to stand on”, will attack your character…”ad hominem attack” as a way to discredit your facts about them.

But I’d have to say as a rule…”there could be exceptions of course”, but as a rule these tell tale signs above are pretty accurate.
Most people do not realize how they give themselves away. Your job is to read the person, on the spot and compare it to what they “usually” do, if you can.

But people do lie…alot.
My ex’s van was not at work when I drove by. She tried to say later that she probably just left before I got there.
I got curious and asked for some proof. The fact was her timesheet said she clocked out at the same time I was driving by. She went on to say “now that she remembered” she was there.
When I pointed out that I am sure of when I went by….she resorted to saying I was delusional or crazy and just didn’t see it…lol!

The real give away was when she made her 1st story of why she was there, “and i just didn’t see the van” she gave too much time to being there and then…..she couldn’t explain how she gave the cook a ride home and came home herself in just 15 minutes….laughs.
So what did she do?
She said that she never gave the times in question, that my memeory was bad…(glad I wrote it down) and said I was just crazy…even more!

Point: Don’t believe what you hear. Ask not just once but several times and see if they prove it and stick to their own facts -or- lie!

Good Hunting!

I spent 10 years in the FBI as an interrogator and a video analyst. My job was to report whether or not I thought a suspect was lying or not by just listening to them – no polygraph. You can always pick them out when they do something they don’t normally do. Almost this whole list branches from this concept. For example, if during the entire questioning a person is calm and cool, and all of a sudden they tilt their head to the left when answering a controversial question, you can bet he is lying. However, like kyouki said, if the person normally fidgets and they are fidgeting during questioning, then you cannot assume the person is lying based on their fidgeting.
Good post, though.

I completely don’t agree with a lot of what is on this list.
First of all, because I think a lot of these examples are
people that are nervous (during an interview) I almost
always look to the side and then make eye contact and
not because I am lying! But because it is a nervous habit.
I am aware of it when I do it and some habits are very
hard to break. But you can’t make assumptions and assume
that person is a liar just because of some guys “opinion”.
Trying to find “clues” as to whether someone is lying to
you can lead a person to being Paranoid and overly critical.
And, honestly~ I don’t know of one person who has never
told a lie before. So, this is list is just jumping to conclusions
and jumping the gun when it really isn’t fair to the person
you are “guessing” about. You could be completely wrong,
and then what???? You didn’t hire that person because of
a stupid list? or you kill your wife in a jealous rage because
you think she is lying? I don’t know, I just think these
“lists” go way too far. If you want to know if someone is
lying to you???? I say, go with your intuition and your
gut feeling when you meet a person. If you are in a relationship
and want to know if someone is lying, ask them flat out and
show them the Bible verse that shows what God says about
Liars and what will happen to liars. I know it may sound
extreme but it may also work. Take care! and quit being
so paranoid. See the good in people. Not all people are bad.

Beth, you’re mistaken. All people are bad.

Genesis 6:5
Genesis 8:21
Isaiah 64:6-7
Jeremiah 17:9
John 3:19
Romans 3:10-18
Romans 8:8
1 Corinthians 2:14
Ephesians 2:1-3
2 Timothy 2:25,26

Hey! I also found out that current research says that liars and truth tellers eyes can react the same way! It doesnt really matter about the eye stuff!

Hi , I’m a good liar , so next time , i will pay attention to this stuff and avoid them like the eye direction and the body langage !!!

Whoever typed this article has some serious grammer issues. Hey buddy, put it in Word, do a spelling/grammer check, and THEN post it on the internet. It’s hard to take someone seriously when every sentence has an error.

I think that #5 and #11 conflict… usually if someone makes direct eye contact when answering a question they want to check the person questioning’s expression to see if they are buying into it. although the whole eyes looking to the right or left thing may be true… it’s a combination of these looks that will ultimately tell you whether they are lying or being honest.

A few years ago I dated (past tense) a woman who had a tendency to make alibies that consisted of extremely long-winded story lines. If she couldn’t make a date she had previously agreed to, would go into a 5-10 minute (or longer) shaggy-dog story which included extraneous details that covered the gamut from A to Z, and some of the letters from the runic alphabet just for fun. If, for instance, the reason was that she had “forgot” that she had promised her kids she would take them to a movie that night, she would spin her lovely alibi into an epic length extravaganza that would scare Cecil B. Demille. It would include (but never necessarily limited to) each and every detail about her relationship with the kids from the time of infancy to the present day. NO detail was too small or even totally not-germane to the subject whatsoever to be left out of the explanation. “Meanwhile back at the ranch” was the norm in such explanations . By the time she was done, so many bases and subjects had been covered the only thing you could be sure of was that she was throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the explanation in the hopes of misleading. These overly-lengthy explanations = “me thinks thou doth spin the story out way too much, my dear”. Beware.
Truth is usually “to the point”, and doesn’t have to justify itself with overly detailed alibies.

(rk) Exactly. Story spinning and over detailing is another characteristic of a person lying. Good to hear it’s now in the past for you.

I say um a lot simply because I can’t remember the correct word to describe what I mean. And what about if you’re just self-conscious around certain people (i.e. people of authority, bosses, in job interviews, etc?) And tests….. If I feel that a person of “authority” is putting me under a microscope or “testing” me, I get anxiety really bad, even if I know what I’m doing and that I haven’t done anything wrong.

In my experience, people that are liars do so compulsively. They tell themselves the same story over and over in their head that they to begin to believe it. So when you catch them in a lie, and they know they have been caught. They are too convinced from themselves that they will not admit it. That is another issue people have with liars. Even though you cant see those signs mention on this page, some people in this instance will not show signs because in there minds from, lets say, “self hypnosis. I know what some of you mean about body language or eye contact. I am very bad about eye contact, and I myself realize it as I am talking to someone as well. These are good examples of people not being honest but ARE NOT 100% accurate.

i did an expirement and found out that majority of the signs are true the fidgiting and em’s and er;’s most likly are not i found that out on the two test subject i done it on

I think a lot of the points are valid and can be used in the majority of circumstances to see if someone is lying or not. However many people are saying how they act that way to begin with and hence unfair to assume that they are lying as a result of their normal behaviour. You should be aware its people who act differently from what they do normally would be the give away. There are so many contributing factors though when it comes to lying, I guess if you cant prove them wrong, you have to either just believe them or severe your ties.

watch “lie to me” on SKY TV on thursdays. its such a good show. all about this lie dectector and ways to find out if someone is lying, whilst still being a cool show.


and about bill clinton
not blinking MEANS someone is lying.

and also pretending to look shocked when they are caught out/asked if they are lying (very dramatic and over the top reactions)

i found that on “lie to me” :o)

Okay ; for all of you that are complaning that they are not true ; then why look it up? It makes no sense at all. This is actually true. I know plenty of liars and they do almost all of what’s above. Dont look something up if all your gunna do is knock it.

Dave, a commenter on this page has a good example with some valid points. With the eye movement trick, it is true. But, keep in mind, it is opposite for left handed people. You should also have a baseline behavior for the person in question. Some of these lying ques can be natural and normal for some people, such as fidgeting and stuttering.

good luck. =]

actually, president Clinton showed several signs that he was lying. “i did NOT have sex with that woman” used two words instead of a contraction, and using the phrase “that woman” depersonalizes her. he also used a clarifying hand gesture which indicates deception. actually, it was on an episode of LIE TO ME as a prime example of deception. a laughable one, at that.

alot of these things i do regularly as i have aspergus for example when i talk i generally do not use contractions as they are untidy and i am very ‘jittery’ and i rarely point or gesture. this has nothing to do with aspergus but my pupils are always very dialated

In my point of view, ‘qualified’ liars tend to be a more give away than an unexperienced one.

When the person in question usually jitters etc… All those things that could be signs of lying… It is here that KNOWING the person is important. Because they will do the opposite of their normal relaxed or usual behavior. Such as sitting still . Or giving that eye contact. Knowing the person intimately to see them behave oddly, for that split second, cn be detected and noted. :)

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