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How to Tell If Someone Is Lying: 12 Signs to Check

How to Tell If Someone Is Lying: 12 Signs to Check

Being able to spot a lie can keep you from falling prey to cons and scams. People lie for many reasons. Sometimes, they wish to avoid speaking the truth to take advantage of you, and other times they see dishonesty as a means for survival.

Unfortunately, most of us aren’t very good at detecting lies. Research shows that without training, most people have odds slightly better than chance when it comes to spotting a lie.[1] To put it another way, you may as well flip a coin to determine if someone is swindling you.

Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to determine whether or not a person is lying. By using the power of observation, you can become a human polygraph test and identify a fibber right away.

Below are a few techniques that can help you avoid being a victim of deceit.

Liars are less likely to smile at you

When you see someone smiling too much, you may get the sense that they are being disingenuous. Some seasoned liars, have taken the opposite approach in an attempt to foil their audience. According to Paul Ekman, liars, especially men, don’t smile as much as they would when they are telling the truth.[2]

When a con artist does smile at you, it may be a fake smile. False smiles are easy to spot because the individual controls the shape of their mouth, but they aren’t able to smile with their eyes.[3]

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Look at their feet to see if they’re grounded in the truth

Foot movement can offer clues about a person’s trustworthiness. When people lie, they tend to restrict the movement of their feet.[4] This may give the liar a stiff appearance.

When a person is lying, they orient their feet toward the exit. A subconscious discomfort with dishonesty causes their feet to seek an escape. Since our feet are so far from our brains, we don’t always notice that our feet reveal our innermost feelings.[5]

Look for quick changes in facial expression to understand how someone truly feels

Your face reflects your thoughts and feelings. When someone lies, their expressions may flicker between the facade that they want you to see and their true feelings. These micro-expressions, which may last for only 1/25 of a second, are subtle indicators that a person is masking their intentions.[6]

The person who says “honestly” repeatedly is worried that you think they aren’t telling the truth

Liars may exhibit verbal tics whenever they feel the need to reinforce their trustworthiness. Over-using phrases like “to be honest”, “believe me”, and “to tell the truth” are clear indications that person is insecure about their believability. Using these phrases once in a while is okay, but if someone’s speech is peppered with such reinforcers, they’re hiding something.

Liars lick their lips because they are stressed

Lip-licking is a nervous habit that can betray a lack of confidence, but it can also show you that someone is lying. When we are under stress, we may unconsciously resort to repetitive physical behaviors, such as lip-licking, to relieve our jittery feelings.

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    If the person won’t look at you or maintains eye contact for too long, they may be worried that you’ll catch them in a lie

    If eyes are mirrors to the soul, then dishonest people tend to be nervous about what their eyes reveal. A misleading person may avoid eye contact all together, or they may try to maintain eye contact for an extended period to attempt to prove their trustworthiness.[7] When eye contact seems forced or nonexistent, look out!

      Long pauses indicate that the person is working to make up a story

      Generating a believable story out of thin air takes time and talent. When someone is telling a tall tale, they may pause frequently to create a sequence of events. The person may also have to work out the logical progression of a story as they go, which means that they’ll have to stop and think.

      You’ll only see this pause if you catch the liar off guard. If they have time to prepare a statement or story, they will work out the bugs well before they tell it. They may do such a convincing job that they believe their own lies.

      Sweating profusely can signal that a person is stressed about lying

      If you’ve watched an interrogation on a popular detective show then you might have noticed that the person being questioned often sweats profusely. That sheen across the liar’s face, neck, and palms is the body’s response to the stress of lying.[8]

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        Liars fidget excessively

        A person who is lying usually has to do something with their hands. Liars tend to adjust their clothing frequently, touch their noses, fidget with their hair, and squirm in their seats. Lying is uncomfortable business for many people, and their mental discomfort can lead them to addressing minor physical annoyances with greater frequency.

        Dishonest people have trouble fabricating a story with good posture. They may shift their weight or fuss and readjust for no obvious reason.

        Understand how a person usually acts so that you can tell when something is off

        It’s easy to catch someone you know in a lie because you have an understanding of how they normally act. You’ll have a mental image of their baseline, which you can use to determine when they are acting strangely.

        You can still establish a baseline even if you don’t know someone. Ask the person simple questions for which you already know the answers. They should be able to answer without lying, which can reveal how a person behaves when they are telling the truth.

        This is why when someone takes a polygraph (lie-detector) test, the initial questions are all based on basic information such as name and date of birth.[9] These establish the baseline to which other answers will be compared during the final analysis.

        When the story doesn’t add up, you might be dealing with a liar

        Even if you have the slightest doubt that the other person is taking you for a ride, ask him to repeat the story after discussing a couple of things in between. Of course, if a person’s response seems canned, then they may have rehearsed this tale several times before telling it.

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        Liars tend to add or remove details from the original telling. Major deviations and logical leaps are red flags that a person is lying to you.

        Changes in speech reveal a dishonest person

        Stammering, stuttering, and speech that is either faster or slower than normal often indicate that a lie is in process. In this case, you can actually hear the person struggling to take their lie from their brain and out into the world.

        We’ve already seen that symptoms of stress and signs of lying go hand in hand. Rapid speech indicates that the person may be nervous about what they are saying because it isn’t true.

        Use all the clues available to you to catch a liar

        Determining whether or not someone is telling the truth can be tough, but if they exhibit several of these signs, the likelihood that they are being dishonest is high. Use context, your instincts, and these visible indicators of dishonesty to avoid being fooled.

        Reference

        [1] Quartz: Research shows how you can tell if someone is lying
        [2] West Side Toastmasters: The Allure of Laughter and Smiles
        [3] Business Insider: A neurologist explains how to spot a fake smile
        [4] The Telegraph: Our feet can talk, says study
        [5] Wonder How To: Mind Hacks: Look down to tell what others are really thinking
        [6] Paul Ekman Group: Catching Liars
        [7] Psychology Today: How to detect a liar
        [8] North American Investigations: The physiology of lying
        [9] The Law Dictionary: Common questions asked during a lie detector test

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        Brian Lee

        Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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        Last Updated on April 23, 2019

        13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

        13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

        Let me begin by being 100% frank with you – everyone is capable of happiness.

        Happiness is first a choice but it also takes persistence to maintain. Happiness is our birth right and my mission is to help as many people as I can live their happiest life.

        My mission is to spread the message that everyone deserves happiness.

        To live a happy life; however, you must do the work, gain the necessary knowledge, and increase your awareness.

        You must fully embody this state and begin to think and feel happiness on every level of your being.

        Often times, excuses present themselves and our mind gives us the reasons why we can’t be happy:

        “I am too busy right now to focus on happiness”

        “I will be happy when I finish school, when I have the money, when I am in the right relationship, when I have kids, when my children are older….”

        “I would have had a happy life if this traumatic event had never happened”

        “I don’t deserve happiness”

        EVERYONE deserves happiness. The reason that you are here right now is because you have a purpose and you are on the earth to enjoy your journey.

        Think BIGGER than your excuses. Push FARTHER than your complaints.

        Don’t be pulled away from greatness. Get uncomfortable. At least these are what happy and successful people do on a daily basis.

        This article highlights the top 13 tips and tricks of how happy people think and feel.

        If you would like to begin embodying this life-changing state, then… Here are the 13 ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently:

        1. Happy People Put Happiness First

        Happy people have made the decision that their end goal is happiness.

        Every situation, event, bad day ultimately ends with happiness.

        To them, happiness is equivalent to sleep and water – it is a necessity to their life. To live an unhappy life is to have never lived at all.

        The happy person asks,

        “What would be the point of living if every day and moment were filled with negativity?”

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        “Why would I deplete my energy on negativity when I expend less to be positive?”

        They make happy-based decisions which means in EVERY MOMENT they choose happiness.

        If their circumstances can’t change then they instead change their perspective, they look for the silver lining in the negative.

        Happy people don’t let negativity steal their moments away – a positive mindset always prevails.

        If you ask a happy person how their day was, they will always answer your question with a highlight or a lesson learned.

        2. Happy People Embrace Pain

        I know what you are thinking –

        “No one is ALWAYS happy”

        or …

        “Even happy people get in bad moods”

        and …

        These statements are absolutely accurate.

        Happy people aren’t always happy and they DO get into bad moods. They get overwhelmed, they feel defeated, and their feelings get hurt.

        Happy people aren’t invincible and they feel pain just like everyone else. The only difference between happy people and people who let negativity run their lives is that…

        Happy people quickly acknowledge their pain and they make a decision to find a way to transform their pain into something greater. They also use these 13 simple ways to shake off the sadness.

        Happy people admit the negativity they feel and they do what it takes to get back into their natural state: happiness.

        When your end goal is happiness, then you will find a way to achieve it no matter how much strength you have to muster.

        3. Happy People Have a Happy Self-Image

        We all have an image in our minds that we subconsciously live up to.

        The reason that change is so hard is because our subconscious mind is programmed to live by how we define ourselves.

        How are you currently defining yourself?

        For happy people, they see themselves with a smile, positive outlook, and/or a bounce in their step. When an event or situation arises that brings in a negative emotion, they quickly change their state to resemble their natural self-image.

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        When happy people are in a bad mood, it feels unusual to them because feeling negative isn’t aligned with how they see themselves.

        When they feel upset, they acknowledge the negativity and look for a solution to bring their emotions to the level of how they perceive themselves.

        Look at how you define yourself today – your mind and body are always trying to live up to the definition it is taught to believe.

        Your body’s job is to keep you in a “normal” state because this is where it feels most comfortable.

        If your self-image is happy, then your mind and body will naturally be brought back to where it feels at home. Your actions will be a clue to how you define yourself.

        4. Happy People Have a Strong Support System

        The happiest people know that it takes a village and they lean on others for support.

        Happy people feel comfortable reaching out for help when they feel that their resistances are overpowering them. They quickly sense their negativity and they tell somebody.

        Happy people ask for assistance when they can’t figure out a problem. Seeking help takes strength and it never gets in the way of their self-worth. Happy people appreciate the wisdom that their support system provides.

        They have strong connections with the people who are close to them. They never trudge through tough times alone because jeopardizing their happiness for too long would be detrimental to their well-being.

        5. Happy People Safeguard Their Minds from Negative Triggers

        Warding off negativity is almost impossible when we live in a society that lives by what went wrong and feeds off of what could go wrong. News travels instantaneously so it would be unrealistic to shut this out of your life completely.

        However, one strategy that happy people use to safeguard their minds is regulating their environment.

        We have a lot of control on how we allow our environments to affect us. We can control our social media feed, the television shows and movies we watch, the books that we read, the people that we spend our time with, and the places that we hang out.

        If happiness is your end goal, then take a good look at what is bringing you down. What triggers your unhappiness? See if there is anything in your environment that can be changed……

        What we listen to, read, and who we hang out with influence our mind, what we think about, what we worry about, our reactions, and behaviors.

        Happy people know what triggers a feeling of negativity and it feels out of alignment for them so they do what it takes to avoid it.

        They might regulate their social media news feed to reflect the information that brings them positive energy. They might regulate the people that they spend their time with. It is important to hang out with like-minded people.

        What are you triggers? How can you avoid the negativity in your environment?

        These are ways that happy people regulate their environment and safeguard their minds.

        6. Happy People Know When to Say “No”

        Happy people know when to sit one out and say “no.” They do this to protect their happiness and well-being.

        Life gets overwhelming – a lot of people need our attention and the to do list can seem never ending.

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        Happy people give themselves permission to take the day off and they feel comfortable with saying “no” when their stress levels begin to climb. They understand that those around them aren’t benefiting from someone who is frazzled, overwhelmed, and tired.

        A happy person identifies their negative emotion and then they quickly treat it to bring themselves back to their “normal” state, so that they can be at their best for not only themselves but for those around them, too.

        A simple “no” can ultimately mean many more “yes’s” in the future because happiness has a long battery life. You can take a look at Leo Babauta’s article The Gentle Art of Saying No and learn to say no.

        7. Happy People Are Good Evaluators

        Happy people can quickly sense when something is off with themselves or others. They are very intuitive to happiness levels. When someone isn’t quite right, they are the first ones to notice.

        Being able to evaluate happiness means that you can identify when negativity is lingering around for too long.

        We all have bad days; however, the happy person evaluates often and quickly intervenes.

        In other words, happy people frequently evaluate their state and immediately change when their pessimism is overshadowing their joy.

        8. Happy People Bring Other People Up

        What goes on inside of us is mirrored into our physical world.

        What we think about literally consumes our life and is displayed in our work, relationships, and attitude.

        Happy people naturally feel good inside and about themselves so they treat others the way that they treat themselves. It never feels forced to give a compliment or to help out a stranger.

        When we are truly happy with ourselves, everyone around us has a better experience. Happy people are kind to themselves and because of this, it feels natural to them to want to make others’ happy, too.

        9. Happy People Go After Their Dreams

        Happy people are always following the joyful path. They make happy-based decisions and because of this, they always end up where they want to be.

        It’s absolutely impossible to be happy by following an undesirable path, which is quite opposite for unhappy people.

        Most people journey through life on a path they think they are “supposed” to be own. Warning signs (negativity) are often ignored because they truly believe that these feelings are a normal part of life.

        Negativity is NOT normal.

        The happiest people investigate the negativity in their life and quickly analyze the results. This process allows them to get back on the joyful path which ends in a desirable outcome.

        Follow your happiness and your dreams will come true (If that isn’t motivation then I don’t know what is!)

        In addition to happiness, here are 14 amazing things that happen when you live your passion.

        10. Happy People Never Sweat the Small Stuff

        The only expectation that the happy person has is that they remain in a joyful state.

        They rarely have expectations for the events and people in their lives because they know that this is a sure way to get let down.

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        The happiest people take life as it comes – you could say that they roll with the punches. When you don’t have expectations, thenyoue can just sit back and watch how beautifully life unfolds.

        Happy people understand that bad things are inevitable, they are a part of life – The car will break, the kids will make mistakes, people will be late, and dinner will burn.

        If it’s not anything seriously affecting their lives, then they don’t give their energy to it.

        11. Happy People Rarely Have to Prove That They Are Right

        Happy people remember that it’s more important to live up to what they believe. When you live your life aligned with your belief system, then there is no need to explain or prove yourself to others.

        Differences in opinions are inevitable, but the happiest of people know it’s wasted energy to defend their position.

        It is more effective to simply show people, through actions, how you think, feel, and what you believe.

        Energy is saved, arguments are diminished, and credibility/respect are gained when we live by what we believe.

        12. Happy People Smile (Even When They Don’t Want To)

        Smiling is one of the healthiest things we can do; and happy people use this simple trick quite often.

        It has been proven that smiling has the ability to boost your immune system, decrease stress levels, and can even make you look younger. The benefits of smiling have even been backed up by science.[1]

        Better yet, smiling is contagious. When you engage in a quick smile, you are likely to brighten someone else’s day along with your own. It is no wonder why happy people smile often!

        13. Happy People Live Life in the Present Moment.

        When we are genuinely happy, we are living for the moment.

        Happy people let go of the past, enjoy the present, and look forward to the future. They take the moments for what they are worth – they only invest their energy in what feels right to them.

        Everyone is capable of living a happy-centered life. You deserve a life that you desire – your dream life. All you have to start doing is make happy-based decisions TODAY.

        In every moment, decide on what makes you happy – decide on what gets you excited. Stop doing what you don’t love, don’t listen to the people that you dislike.

        If you are engaging in something that isn’t bringing you joy, then quit doing it. Listen to your heart, stop ignoring the warning signs (negativity) because they are there for a reason.

        I have observed, studied, and interviewed some of the happiest and most successful people along with some of the most miserable and self-loathing.

        It starts with one decision – happiness.

        The happiest, most successful people choose happiness with EACH and EVERY decision. And you can start doing this today.

        Featured photo credit: Autumn Goodman via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Harvard Business Review: The Science Behind the Smile

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