Let’s face reality — people lie. Every single day. When we call in sick for work. When we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. When we’d rather have a lazy Sunday playing online games at home than attend a friend’s birthday party (I’m sure you’ve had those moments).
Sometimes, lying helps us become more likable and fit in with society’s expectation of a well-balanced person. However if caught, lying can taint your reputation permanently.
So what kind of signs do liars give off?
How would you know if your partner is cheating on you? How would you know if your colleagues are talking smack behind your back? How would you know if your friend was honest about not having the money when you asked for your loan back. It’s uncertainties like these that make you want to be a human lie detector.
Luckily you can with these physical cues.
They move their head, awkwardly
When asked a direct question, liars usually make an unordinary movement with their heads. It can be a tilt, a jerk, a bow down or a retraction. This usually occurs before they answer, giving you the opportunity to measure the truth of their words from the start. But why do they do this? It’s simply their body’s way of coping with the stress of lying. They know they’re being dishonest inside, so moving their head becomes an aftermath of their guilt. Not to mention, this lets them distance themselves from the main source of their nervousness.
Their mouth changes angles
Unless it’s eating, most people can’t control their mouth. They can hide their true feelings, but they can’t hide those twitches or quivers of the lips. Liars might try to mask such slips by laughing afterwards, but don’t let that fool you. If you notice a slight change to the angle of their mouth, be on high alert. How to spot this? It’s pretty easy — either their lips will shrink or their smile won’t match their angry face.
They cover parts of their body
When someone lies, they feel uncomfortable in their own body. And it clearly shows. Sometimes, liars will put their hands over their mouths or cover their throats. It’s a subconscious act that tells you they’re not willing to open up and continue the conversation. Besides the mouth and throat, liars will also cover other vulnerable areas like the head, chest, and abdomen. By protecting their weak points, they feel more relaxed to hide the truth.
They look away
You know someone is lying to you when they can’t keep their eyes focused on you, even for a moment. They either look somewhere else, trying to find a random object in the room to focus on except your face, or they look down as if they’ve done something wrong. It’s human nature to run away when you’re confronted with dishonesty, so look for these signs when you’re questioning the person standing right infront of you. Of course, you might need to know their personality as shy people tend to avoid looking at others in the eyes. If anything, check for rapid blinking — liars blink more than usual while talking.
They excessively sweat
If a person’s forehead is drenched in sweat when you ask them a question, chances are they’re lying. Due to the adrenaline that rushes into their body, dishonest people start to sweat profusely. It’s something out of their control, so keep this in mind while analyzing your potential liar.
They shake abnormally
It’s normal to shake at times, especially if people are talking to their boss’ boss or their celebrity crush. However, if it happens very often, get suspicious. Liars express their dishonesty by a constant shaking in the voice, their hands or legs. If they’re feeling too nervous or uncomfortable, they’ll shuffle their feet or cross their legs and arms tightly. These reactive behaviors give them a sense of protection from threat or danger. It may be their way of coping with the lie, but it’s definitely your way of telling when they do.
Editor’s note: Giving credit to Reader’s Digest for their original post: How to Spot a Liar: 7 Clues Anyone Can Use.