How to Tell when a Liar is Lying to You, Here Are Some of the Signs to Look For
While there is no exact formula for spotting a liar there are plenty of general clues to help you weed out the liars. In this article I will share the ways I have learned to tell whether one is lying to me or not.
The biggest telltale signs are a higher vocal pitch than usual, sweating, heavy breathing, fidgeting and no eye contact. Averting eye contact could also be cultural and not indicative of a liar so you must in this case consider the source. Liars frequently give short or one-word responses to questions they could also give consistently evasive answers to direct questions. Many liars haven't thought through their stories and therefore prefer to keep their answers short and not specific. Liars provide fewer details and use fewer words than an honest person would give. Liars may be more likely to ask you to repeat your questions or they will repeat your question back to you, which gives them a little more time to come up with a believable answer. They sometimes tend to stutter, repeat themselves after they have made their point, clear their throat frequently or answer a question with a question. Also, liars may start the answer to your question with "to tell you the truth", "to be perfectly honest", "in all honesty", "I'm not going to lie to you", "to be truthful" or pretty much anything along those lines. Another clue would be imprecise pronouns. In order to psychologically distance themselves from a lie, people often tell their stories with 2nd and 3rd-person pronouns like "you," "we" and "they". For example "Well, we all know that it wasn't any of us who would do a thing like that."
While telling the truth, people usually make hand gestures that go along with the rhythm of their speech. The hands emphasize points or phrases; this is a natural and compelling technique when people actually believe the points they're making. Less truthful people will not use their hands at all. I believe that this is why pitchmen like Billy Mays tend to use their hands a lot while pitching their infomercials. It is a technique they are taught that subtly makes them more trustworthy and believable to the at home customers.
The body gives away many signs when one is telling us lies, as compared to when someone is telling us the truth. When a person lies, their body becomes tense, and body language is less animated. When they use their hands, the movement is more for self-comforting. When a person lies, their hands are more likely to stroke their hair, touch their neck, face, or to shield the mouth with their hand. They may feel the need to cross their arms in front of them as a barrier, scratch their neck, repeatedly crossing their legs and uncrossing them, in other words a liar will fidget a lot. When a person is telling the truth they are more likely to touch the center of their chest, as though they are speaking from their heart; however, when someone is lying they'd be more likely to touch their head and face area, because this is the area the lies are coming from.
Of course, not every single person using the above signals is being dishonest. So you should only use this advice as a possible warning sign and not as a rule of thumb, and just judge according to the person and situation in question. The mode of communication does matter as well. Studies have shown that we are less likely to lie while face-to-face than over the phone or on the computer. In a weeklong study of 30 college students, it was observed that the phone ranked #1, enabling 37% of all the lies, as opposed to 27% during face-to-face exchanges, 21% using Instant Messaging and only 14% via e-mail.