Lying is pretty high up on the list of negative traits. No one likes to find out they’ve been deceived, yet it’s something nearly all of us do on a regular basis.
According to James Patterson, author of The Day America Told the Truth, among two thousand Americans, 91 percent lied regularly both at home and at work.”
Surprised? Possibly not. Most people aren’t out to deceive us for selfish gain. With loved ones, you’re more likely to be lied to in order to save your feelings from being hurt and we’re usually none the wiser.
But what if you really want to know when you’re being lied to? Can you really tell if you read the signs well enough?
The Biggest Giveaway of a Liar
So how can you spot someone who’s lying? Words are hard to decipher when it comes to lying. What someone says can be rehearsed and controlled especially if a person is particularly good at it.
When it comes to spotting clues, actions really do speak louder than words because it’s all in a person’s gestures. Unlike words, these tend to be uncontrollable and automatic so to know the truth, you have to focus on the body language.
The Crucial Body Language That Exposes a Liar
What exactly are the typical gestures people give away when spinning a lie?
These are the most common signs to look out for.
They smile less when lying
Research has found that people tend to smile less when they’re lying – and especially in men. In his research, Paul Ekman felt this reflects the idea that people associate lying with smiling and so enter into a double bluff by reducing the smile factor. If someone does smile while lying, it tends to be less genuine meaning they smile more quickly and hold it for longer.
They scratch their neck as they feel nervous
This is a typical signal of insecurity, doubt and uncertainty which is running through the mind of someone who isn’t telling the whole truth.
They tend to touch their faces a lot
Bringing a hand to the face is probably one of the most common signs of deception. This could be covering their eyes or putting their hands on their forehead or cheek and most likely stems from childhood characteristics. Children often cover their mouths, cover their ears, or cover their eyes in order to stop talking, stop listening or stop seeing. These are always exaggerated but as we get older these gestures become quicker and less obvious yet still used subconsciously.
It doesn’t always indicate blatant lying, however. It could just mean that the person is holding back information which for some can be seen as equally deceitful.
They cover their mouths uconsciously
Covering the mouth, in particular, is a subconscious reflex that can literally mean someone is trying to suppress the deceitful words that are coming out of their mouth. It could manifest as a literal hand over the mouth or even a finger placed over the lips in a ‘ssshh’ gesture. This is likely to come from parents who may have made this gesture to indicate a desire to keep quiet but in adulthood, it could indicate an attempt for someone to tell themselves to withhold feelings or words.
They touch their noses while talking
We’re all familiar with Pinocchio’s nose and the effect lying had on it. Scientists at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago has found the human nose actually expands whilst lying. This is caused by chemicals being released due to the pressure of telling a lie causing the tissue inside the nose to swell.
While you won’t actually be able to see the effects, what does happen is this swelling can create a tingling sensation which the liar will want to itch therefore creating the nose touch.
They pull their collar as their neck tissues become more sensitive while lying
They rub their eyes so as to avoid looking at you
This one is, again, stemmed from childhood. Children often cover their eyes when they don’t want to look at something and this doesn’t entirely leave us in adulthood. We will still subconsciously rub or touch the eye area when we don’t want to look at something (in this case the person we’re lying to). It’s the brain’s coping mechanism to block deceitfulness and the pressure of facing the person we’re deceiving.
Actions Are More Honest Than Words
With these signs, you’ll be less likely to be cheated by people no matter how sincere they sound. Sometimes you don’t even need to hear the true answer because you already get that from their body language. Practice observing these signals and spot out people who are lying to you.