People lie for different reasons — to feel accepted, to hide something they’ve done, to make someone else feel better or to get what they want. Whatever their reasons are, you’ll likely come across people who make a habit out of lying. Even if they’ve perfected the art of lying, there are several tell-tale signs you can look for to figure out that they aren’t telling the truth.
1. They Avoid Eye Contact
Even if someone is a pro at lying, somewhere inside they still feel a twinge of guilt that causes them to feel uncomfortable. They typically avoid too much eye contact, because they feel like connecting with someone for too long will allow them to see the truth. If someone is constantly looking away from you during a conversation, there’s a good chance they have something to hide.
2. They Act Nervous
If someone is lying to you or trying to hide something, they’ll probably seem jittery and anxious. They might talk fast, sweat, blush or pace back and forth. An experienced liar might be a little more calm, but if you sense that something is off, start asking one question after another, careful not to give them too much time to think of a lie. They might crack under the pressure.
3. They Look Troubled
Liars tend not to smile as much as people who are truly happy and living authentically. Lying strains the conscience, making liars feel like they have a huge weight on their shoulders. The pressure can reveal itself on the liar’s face.
4. Their Story Doesn’t Add Up
If a story someone has told doesn’t add up, it’s probably because it’s been embellished or completely fabricated. If a liar doesn’t have enough time to think of a legitimate story, their made-up details often get sloppy, allowing you to see right through their lies.
5. They Change the Subject
If you bring up one of their lies, a liar will start to feel uncomfortable and try to change the subject. They think they’ve gotten away with lying once. They don’t want to go over the story again and try to match the details — it’s too much pressure.
6. They Get Defensive
If a person starts getting overly defensive when you question them, it’s a sign that they have something to hide. People who tell the truth act calmly and are able to offer explanations that make sense. A liar will begin to show signs of anger, such as crossing their arms or balling their fists – a good indication that they’re upset their lie wasn’t accepted without question.
7. They Keep Their Distance
Liars harbor a lot of insecurity and pain, so they feel uncomfortable with human contact. They usually shy away from hugs or handshakes, and they’ll keep a noticeable physical distance from you. This serves as a form of protection for them. If they keep their distance, they won’t get too relaxed and accidentally reveal too much.
8. They Ramble
When one lie is told, it often needs to be covered up by more lies. If a liar feels like they might be found out, they’ll typically come up with complex stories to attempt to convince you that they’re telling the truth. These stories cause them to ramble, and the details and pieces don’t add up.
9. They Can’t Sit Still
Liars have a habit of fidgeting. They look for a distraction from the seriousness of the conversation, so they play with their phone, tap their feet, play with their hair, etc. Fidgeting is also a sign of nerves.
10. They Change Their Story
A liar often has trouble keeping track of the stories they’ve told. If you hear them tell a story a second time, chances are it sounds different. Even if a few minor details change, it’s a sign that the story was never true to begin with. If you question them and they fumble over the details, you’ll be able to catch them in their lie.