7 Ways To Tell When Somebody Lies



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You must have been, at least one time, in a situation where you’ve wondered if the person you are speaking to is telling the truth or not. People often lie, and you want to know when this happens.

Any person you encounter could lie to you. Your partner, when he tells you he didn’t cheat, your parents when they say your cooking is great, your work colleague that says is happy you got promoted, or even the salesman that presents you the best offer of your life.

You start analyzing the things that happened and try to guess if that person is lying or not. Even after you do this, you are not 100% sure that you have the right answer. What you can do, to be sure, is look for clues. I’m going to tell you about the 7 signs that will help you find out if somebody is lying or not.

“I can spend the whole day lying. I don’t actually tell any lies, I just act out one big one. I feel guilty for that. I don’t want to let you down. I would really like to fold up within myself. Things might be better like that. I should be able to get properly depressed, but I can’t. Sometimes I can’t even make myself cry. Even if I think of the saddest part of me there is just a blankness. I don’t have much to say, so I stare in the mirror until I lose myself.” ― Grace Bowman, Thin

1. Speech pause or behavioral delay

When you ask somebody a question, and they remain still, don’t move, or they stay quite more than they should, before responding, they are probably lying to you.

2. Verbal and nonverbal behavior inconsistency

The words they say are opposite to what their body transmits. For example, if a person says “Yes” but they move the head side to side (which means NO), they are lying. Their body is telling involuntary the truth, while the words that come out of the mouth are lies.

“Liars lie. That's what they do. Lying, and in so doing trying to make me lie to myself. Trying to make me not trust my family. Liars lie by cutting you loose from what you thought was so and persuading you this other thing they are waving in front of you is the new truth. ... Liars want you off balance and alone, so you can drown in self-doubt.” ― C. A. Fletcher

3. Hiding the mouth or the eyes

When the person you ask something hides their moth or eyes with their hands while responding, they are lying. It’s a clear and obvious sign of a lie.


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“There is beauty in truth, even if it's painful. Those who lie, twist life so that it looks tasty to the lazy, brilliant to the ignorant, and powerful to the weak. But lies only strengthen our defects. They don't teach anything, help anything, fix anything or cure anything. Nor do they develop one's character, one's mind, one's heart or one's soul.” ― José N. Harris

4. Touching the face

Same as the previous one, if they touch their face when responding, they are lying. This is a sign most people do when they lie that I see it all the time.

5. Coughing or swallowing hard

You ask them a question and, before responding, they cough or swallow hard. Of course, maybe they needed exactly at that moment to cough, but you would be able to tell if it’s a fake and anxious cough or a real one.

“Telling one lie almost always requires another, and before the storyteller knows it, they will be caught inside of their own web.” ― Jenna Alatari

6. Arranging the clothes or the hair

Arranging their clothes while responding, like suddenly their t-shirt doesn’t fit them properly. Playing with the hair or arranging it, means they are lying.

“Everyone lies. But amid the overwhelming monotony of the everyday, it’s the rare individual who enjoys lying, who indulges and revels in it, who relishes treating others with malice.” ― Fuminori Nakamura, Last Winter We Parted

7. Moving the body’s anchor points

Let’s say the person you are speaking to is standing up, leaning on a wall with one leg on the wall. The other leg is supporting the body’s weight- this is the body’s anchor point. If he moves that leg, he is lying.


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“On the whole, lying is a cheerful affair. Embellishments are intended to give pleasure. People long to tell you what they imagine you want to hear. They want to amuse you; they want to amuse themselves; they want to show you a good time. This is beyond hospitality. This is art.” ― Isabel Fonseca, Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey 

Final Thoughts

These are the signs you need to pay attention to when you speak to somebody. Of course, there are a lot of other ways, but these are the main ones that are easy to observe and look for.

All of the signs are from the book “Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception” written by Philip Houston, Mike Floyd, Susan Carnicero, and Don Tennant. There are a lot of other ways and methods that can help you tell if someone is lying. I wrote just about the ones that are easier to use by anyone.

In conclusion, even if you want to find out when someone lies, or you want to become better at lying, these signs can certainly help you. Now you just have to test what you’ve learned on everybody you speak to. By exercising, you can become an expert at finding out when someone lies and at hiding your lies.

“Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” ― Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

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