3 Proven Ways To Tell You’re Being Lied To


November 21, 2012   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Have you ever listened to someone speak and you secretly wondered if they were really telling you the truth?

Or maybe you recently listened to someone as that person told you a story…but the story seemed to have logical gaps… it just didn’t make all that much sense?

While we may like to think otherwise, the truth is that people lie to each other all the time.

The question is: Why?

Well, most people don’t do it to be mean.

Most people simply choose to lie when they think that telling the truth will harm them in some way, or harm the person they’re lying to.We see this on television and in movies all the time. We almost sit there cringing, wishing that the characters / actors would just be honest with each other because it’s clearly the only way to resolve the show’s tension and conflict.

And by the end, when the truth is told, we usually get to that happy ending that we’ve been craving all along.

But, how can you tell when someone’s lying to you in real life?

Usually when people lie to each other they become subconsciously stressed out (it’s part of our evolutionary wiring).

So, one thing behavioral experts look for are physical clues that a person is becoming unreasonably stressed out during a conversation.

Here are 3 proven cues that behavioral experts use to tell if someone is being honest or deceptive:

1. Blame Sharing

Did you ever notice that when most people do something that’s positive or good they tend to try to take all the credit?

Well…when someone is lying a funny thing happens: They suddenly don’t want any of the credit for what they’re discussing.

For instance, if someone’s telling you a story and they’re referring to themselves as “I” but then they suddenly shift from “I” to “we” in their narrative-style, it could mean they’ve begun to include an element of exaggeration or dishonesty in that story.

To further explain:

This sudden shift from “I” to “we” in speech or story-telling can indicate that a person is fibbing (or in more serious cases, outright lying)…and THAT’S what behavioral experts will look for when asking important questions about “who did what” in a given situation.

What to look for: A sudden shift in the person’s narrative; specifically from “I” to “we.”

2. Babbling Without Answering the Actual Question

This one might be more common for most of us than others.

How many times do we see politicians (and everyday people, especially in the media) never actually answer the question they’re being asked?

We remember once when watching Larry King, he asked his guest a simple question and the guest “answered” the question by discussing a million additional issues…none of which were directly related to the actual question Larry asked.

And, if you listen closely, this happens pretty frequently in real life.

In a normal, honest conversation, most people give each other pretty direct answers. Sometimes they’ll give each other a little more descriptive background to explain where they’re coming from…but never getting around to answering the question directly (especially if it’s not even a leading question)?

That’s a sign that the person you’re speaking to is trying to hide something form you….big or small…it’s your job to find out!

What to look for: The person doesn’t answer your question directly…and if you logically assess what the person just told you, it becomes increasingly evident that he or she didn’t answer your question at all.

3. Sudden Change in Voice Pitch

Have you ever asked someone what you thought was a fairly basic question over the phone and all of a sudden their tone of voice goes ten octaves lower or higher?

Why the sudden change in tone?

Well, it could be that the person wasn’t expecting that question and doesn’t have an answer that they think will serve their interests. The tension and surprise causes an immediate stress response in the body that affects the person’s tone of voice.

Now…does this always mean that a person is lying to you?

Of course not.

It’s your job to assess the context of the situation for yourself and make an intelligent decision about whether you should fully accept the answer you’ve been given or probe a bit more for additional details or some clarification.

What to look for: Sudden change in voice tone or pitch that might be stress-induced (potentially indicating some dishonesty).

And Remember

While these behavioral cues can indicate dishonesty or fibbing (depending on the gravity of the situation), whatever you do: Don’t get all paranoid and start thinking that everyone’s lying to you all the time!

Just keep these cues in the back of your mind, or refer to this post when you need to better assess what you’re being told in your life so you can respond in a way that benefits you, your health, success, and your well-being.

Now it’s your turn: Do you know of any ways to tell when someone is being dishonest? Share in the comments below!

Written on 11/21/2012 Cece Suwal & Mark Brener, coauthors of the national bestseller, A Guide To Your Supreme Power, and cofounders of The One World Initiative, where you can discover your path to money, love, power, success, life purpose, and meaning using their four powerful success secrets. Photo Credit:

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