6 ways to tell if someone is lying to you
Whatever one's propensity for lying, we can usually detect lies through certain verbal and non-verbal cues, some of which I elaborate on below:
1. Eye contact: If a person is having a hard time maintaining eye contact while talking to you, it usually means they're hiding something. For example, let's say the person you're chatting with routinely looks at the floor or ceiling during the conversation. Yes, this can be indicative of sheer boredom or a lack of self-confidence, but in most cases, it signals that the individual can't deliver his or her words with conviction. Instead, he or she is displaying the kind of sheepishness characteristic of a person caught in a lie -- or about to be caught in one.
2. Speech patterns: When someone is lying, they're more likely to clear the throat, stutter, get tongue-tied from talking too fast, and employ filler words like "uh" and "um" during moments of hesitation. Interestingly, research shows that people will also nix contractions, using "was not" rather than "wasn't" and "did not" instead of "didn't."
3. Repeated pauses and questions: Instead of giving you a straight answer, a liar will often repeat your question, or you'll notice the person pause between answers. The person might also ask that you repeat the question you just asked, even though you know the individual heard you the first time. He or she does this to buy time in order to formulate as believable a lie as the person can.
4. Gestures vs words: When a person's words are incongruous with his gestures, it means he is probably making stuff up.
5. Defensive behavior: When people emphatically deny lying and become highly defensive after the finger is pointed at them, it suggests that something is amiss. Think about it: Why become overly emotional when you know what you're saying is true? People who are being sincere are more likely to remain composed and back their position with poise and substance.
6. Changing the subject or story: Liars have a penchant for changing the subject, especially when put in the hot seat. They also tend to contradict themselves, changing the details of a story as they go along.
So there you have it. Next time you want to probe into whether someone is a liar, put on your detective hat and look for these telltale verbal and non-verbal signs.
Have you already looked for any of these cues when sizing someone up?