With some people it’s almost impossible to know if they are lying. Certain people seem to have a “knack” for sounding sincere when explaining something or telling a story. If we have not had prior contact with this person it’s even more difficult to tell what is true and what isn’t.

But if we know the person we might have an easier time telling if they are lying. We can compare what we know about them, the way they talk and the way they act with the situation that has raised some doubt. This is similar to what good poker players do. The best players know that most people have “tells,” some action or way of moving that gives them away.

One of the basic ways to tell if a person is lying is to look at their eyes. In most cases, a person telling the truth will be relaxed and will be able to look directly into the listener’s eyes. If the person seems to be avoiding direct eye contact or looks around a lot while talking, it may mean he or she isn’t focused and is making things up as they go. Some experts in psychology believe that telling the truth takes little effort so the person talking shouldn’t need to expend a lot of energy “remembering” what to say.

Even before a person begins telling you something you may discover that what they are about to say isn’t completely true. People who are about to launch into a lie or want to stretch the truth might seem reluctant to even tell you about it. Hesitation at the start of the conversation could be a signal that the person isn’t being completely honest.

If the lie is a bit more serious in nature and might involve a real change in a relationship for example, you may be able to put the person on the spot without coming right out and accusing them. Suggesting in a normal tone that you don’t understand and want to find out more could bring out nervousness, a change in the story and even anger. If a person tells you he or she was at a particular location (store, coffee shop etc.) you may want to suggest that you’ll be stopping by that place very soon. Make it seem like a normal part of the conversation, then watch the reaction.

One of the best ways to tell if a person is skirting the issue or is telling an outright lie is to listen for certain words. For example, if they haven’t “gotten their story straight” they may resort to repeating words you use when asking a question. It’s a simple way for them to answer and seem to be agreeing with you. What may be happening, however, is that they are just filling in the conversation without admitting anything.

In summary, you may be able to discover the truth or uncover a lie by paying close attention to how the person sits, stands or walks. If it seems they are overdoing it by being in a hurry, by consciously slowing down or by trying to do something for you that is out of character, you could be listening to someone who is lying.


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Lucas Beaumont
Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.

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