10 Foolproof Ways To Catch A Liar

Liars everywhere! Beware!

If you suspect that someone is lying, how can you tell for sure? Can you look them straight in the eye and be sure that that person is not telling the truth?

Trained experts like FBI agents or psychologists, for instance, can identify dishonesty in the blink of an eye, just by paying attention to certain details, gestures, inconsistent stories etc.

Luckily, if you want to become just as skilled in the art of identifying deception, check out these 10 things you need to look out for to confirm that a person isn’t being honest.

But first, here are some facts pointed out by Pamela Meyer, author of the book Liespotting:

  • An average person is told to 10 and 200 lies per day
  • On average, meeting for the first time, tell each other approximately three lies in the very first 10 minutes of interaction.
  • Mothers are lied to by their teenage children in in one-fifth of their interactions.

With these numbers in mind, let’s find out how to detect liars easier than you think, according to Meyers and other experts.

Photo by Antonio Guillem on Shutterstock
  1. Inconsistency

The general belief is that liars get confused in details and cannot keep their stories straight. But, as experts agree, even people who tell the truth can also mix stories or details and change certain details, because they might remember something new when retelling the story.

The explanation for this change is that people tend to remember the last time they told their story, not the event itself.

But in the case of liars, as revealed by J.J. Newberry was a trained federal agent for 30 years, “when you want to know if someone is lying, look for inconsistencies in what they are saying, […] inconsistencies that just don’t fit.”

  1. Suspicious expressions

Apart from inconsistencies in their stories, another telltale sign when someone is lying is their micro expressions.

According to Paul Ekman, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California Medical School in San Francisco and renowned expert in lie detection, “a microexpression is a very brief expression, usually about a 25th of a second, that is always a concealed emotion.” Blushing, blinking, fake smiles, flared nostrils, these can all indicate that someone is not telling the truth.

If someone seems exceedingly happy for one of your achievements, but in reality, they are jealous, this emotion can be seen in a subconscious flash of jealousy on their face, in their eyes. The secret is to pay attention enough so that you can observe it.

  1. Repeating the question

It’s not always a sign of someone lying. Maybe they did not hear the question the first time. However, if they repeat your question, stall before answering, asking a question in return, it might be that they are trying to hide something or thinking about what lie to tell you.

Liars seem to have an answer for everything you throw at the. In fact, according to behavioral experts, around 5 percent of liars are very good at deceiving others. But even they can make mistakes. And that’s where you can come in.

“Watch them carefully,” suggests Newberry. “And then when they don’t expect it, ask them one question that they are not prepared to answer to trip them up.”

  1. Using unnecessary superlatives

Absolutely. Utterly. Marvelous. It’s not unusual for people to use such words, but there should be context related. Most of the times, people who insistently use such superlatives try to distract you from something they want to keep hidden.

If someone is using superlatives to tell you about something ordinary, then it might be your cue that something is amiss.

See also: Blink and You Could Miss These 8 Disapproving Body Language Signs

  1. Changing the subject

When someone does not want to talk or try to change the subject, it may be that they are uncomfortable talking about a certain topic. Or that they want to shift attention from their deception.

Sometimes, it might be that they are just not interested in the subject you’re discussing, but in most cases, when someone is eager to move the conversation focus to something else, it usually means that they are untruthful.

  1. Qualifying language

More often than not, people who usually tell the truth like to point out that people are usually dishonest. Maybe to emphasize their sincerity, to make you appreciate their honesty etc. However, liars also use all sorts of phrases to point out that can be trusted and that they are sincere and honest people.

If someone is excessively using phrases such as “In all candor” or “If I’m being completely truthful”, then you might want to get your Pinocchio detection antennas out. When someone constantly has to emphasize that they are not lying, they probably are lying or at least guilty of withholding or distorting some things in their stories.

  1. Using the word no excessively

The word No, could be a simple negation. A simple no doesn’t have to raise suspicions. But when the person you’re talking to is saying no and looking the other way or closing their eyes, or hesitating and then saying no, then these might be signs that that person is not telling the whole truth.

How to know for sure if someone using the word no excessively is also lying? Ask them an open-ended question. For instance, instead of saying: Did you forget to send the report? ask: Do you have any idea what happened to this month’s report?

Photo by fizkes on Shutterstock
  1. Not remembering details upon retelling

You might say that this is the same with number one. But there are slight differences between the two. If the person suspected of lying cannot remember what they previously told you or adds new but contradictory details to their story, it might be that their story or part of it, is made-up.

According to former FBI counterintelligence agent LaRae Quy, ask someone to tell the story backwards. It is difficult for someone to tell a made-up story in a different order.

  1. Inappropriate emotions

What you need to pay attention to, when trying to expose a liar is contradicting emotions. For instance, bad news but positive attitude. Or the opposite, good news and extremely tempered enthusiasm.

“The general rule is anything that a person does with their voice or their gesture that doesn’t fit the words they are saying can indicate a lie,” says Ekman. If an aspect of one’s behavior is contradicting another one, like words and attitude, words and gestures, words and expressions, then it might be because they are not telling the truth.

Read also: 8 Common Ways Most Cheaters Are Discovered

  1. Contempt

Contempt is not always a sign that a person is telling you lies, but it does mean that you should pay attention to the conversation and take mental notes for further evaluation. That’s because someone treating you with contempt means they feel anger and resentment towards you or other people. They see themselves as superior and continue the story, thinking you’re too dumb to realize you’re being lied to.

How to identify contempt and the associated lies? Search for asymmetrical expressions such as one lip corner pulled up and in, explains Meyer. If you notice such a detail, whether accompanied by lies or not. Just turn the other way and stop interacting with that person.


People lie for all sorts of reasons. Whether we’re dealing with white lies, exaggerations, deceptive lies or pathological liars, it’s never pleasant to discover you were taken for a fool. This doesn’t mean you should consider everyone you interact with a liar, but it pays off in life, to pay attention to small details that might bring in big changes and results.

It all depends on the approach we take on life. When taking a trusting approach instead of a suspicious one, life is going to be a lot more pleasant but sometimes we are going to be taken in”, suggests Ekman.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

most popular