Liar, liar pants on fire! Well, that’s one way to tell if someone is lying to your face. Here are 13 other ways to tell for sure.
One of the most annoying, frustrating, and even insulting things someone can do is lie straight to your face. Even if it’s just a little white lie, it’s still irritating enough for you to get angry with them—but only if you know they’re really lying.
If they’re lying about something a lot more serious and don’t even have the audacity to tell you the truth, it can be enough for you to write them off as a friend or person of importance in general. The truth may hurt, but lies hurt much more.
The harmful truth about lying
Lying hurts everybody. There is no situation in which lying produces a positive outcome. For the person who is lying, it creates anxiety which can cause damage over the long-term. For the person who is being lied to, their self-esteem can take a hit, their trust will most certainly take a hit, and little by little they’ll begin not trusting more and more people. [Read: How to stop lying to yourself and to everyone you love]
Lying is my biggest pet peeve in any situation. I don’t care what it’s about, don’t lie to me. I would much rather have the opportunity to handle and sort out the truth than be lied to—especially if I know someone is lying to me.
How to tell if someone is lying to your face
As if lying in general isn’t hurtful enough, someone lying right to your face is basically a punch in the gut. Not only do they lack the respect to tell you the truth, but they’re disrespecting you directly to your face. If you really want to be able to spot someone lying to your face so you can call them out on it, here’s how to tell if they are.
#1 They avoid eye contact. The first tipoff that someone is lying to you is if they avoid looking you in the eye. Everybody knows this one for the most part because whenever we did something wrong and lied about it as a child, our parents always demanded, “Look me in the eye!” when they asked us. If you ask someone a question and they immediately avert their gaze before responding, it may be a lie.
#2 They look nervous. Sweating is a big sign that someone is nervous as is a flushed complexion. When someone is lying, their heartrate increases and makes them sweat and flushes their face. If you ask a simple question and you see these signs, they could be lying to your face.
#3 Their details are really vague. A giveaway that someone is lying is if their response doesn’t have enough details to make sense. This is because they can’t think on their feet fast enough to make up any details so they just go with the bare minimum and hope you buy it. Don’t!
#4 They have far too many details. On the flip side, some people often give way too many details that are unwanted and unneeded when you ask them something. They do this because they don’t want you to think it’s a lie so they throw in as much detail as they can so it seems as though it’s the truth because there was so much stuff going on that they can recall. But there wasn’t and they’re a liar.
#5 Their story keeps changing. If you ask them something and they give you an answer and then you question them further and their story changed a little somehow, they’re probably lying. Some liars lack the ability to make stories believable and even forget the details they give you. Don’t fall for their response of, “Oh I just forgot that part,” either. They didn’t forget because it probably never happened.
#6 The story doesn’t add up with who they are. If your shy, reserved friend starts talking about how they went out and got in front of people or approached someone for something, they might be lying. When their story doesn’t really make sense with who they are as a person, they could be lying right to your face.
#7 Their demeanor is defensive. If you feel like they’re arguing or answering your question a little harshly, it could be a giveaway that they’re lying to your face. People who are lying generally activate their “flight or fight” response in their body and can put on more of a defensive attitude due to the “fight” aspect. [Read: How to recognize selfish people and stop them from hurting you]
#8 Pay attention to their body language. Twitching, crossed arms, facing away from you—these are all telltale signs that someone is lying to your face. Body language is a huge indicator that people are trying to get away with something other than the truth. So if you see anything abnormal or anything that causes you to think twice, they could be lying.
#9 They use too many hand gestures. Now, this may not matter if the person who is talking to you normally uses a ton of hand gestures. However, if someone is using so many gestures that you’re taken aback and noticing that they are, it could be a sign of lying. They may subconsciously move their hands a lot during a story to deflect your attention from what they’re actually saying and bring the focus to their hands and arms. Don’t let this fool you.
#10 They talk too fast or too slow. A change in speech patterns indicates that something is not coming off their tongue naturally. If they’re talking too fast, they could just be trying to get the lie done and over with so they can move on. But if they’re talking too slow, they could just be buying time to think of details to add to their lie. Either way, this is a giveaway that someone is lying to your face. [Read: 16 reasons why you’re always being taken for granted by people around you]
#11 They repeat the same thing over and over again. As if to convince not only you, but themselves of the lie, people who are lying have a tendency to repeat themselves often. If you’re finding that they are repeating things that you easily understood the first time, it could be a solid giveaway.
#12 They hesitate when giving information. If they’re stuttering over their words or just hesitating when you ask for details to their story or explanation, it’s a sign they’re lying to your face. The truth flows out naturally without much need to think on it. Lies tend to need time to formulate—hence the hesitation.
#13 Something just seems “off.” Things don’t really add up and even if you trust this person, you’re having a hard time believing what they’re saying. This is the biggest sign that they’re lying to your face. Your body is hardwired to detect things that are abnormal and if your gut is telling you something doesn’t seem right, then there’s a good chance someone is lying to your face.