How to Know When Someone Is Lying to You

As much as I want everyone in my life to tell only the truth, it’s a given that, at least sometimes, someone I know will lie to me. People lie all the time . Public figures do it in public ; sometimes with impunity and sometimes with devastating consequences.

Since lies and liars are an annoying fact in life, it is important to be able to recognize them. There are many common indicators , both non-verbal and verbal, that can help you determine if someone is pulling your eyes.

Establish a baseline

To determine if someone is trying to trick you, you must first establish a basic understanding of how that person behaves when they are honest. Someone’s initial level is manifested in his behavior in everyday and routine situations. Look for deviations from this baseline, whether they are usually fussy and scattered or quiet and reserved. In other words, if someone deviates sharply from their usual mood, then something may be wrong.

If you are unsure if you can establish a baseline — if you suspect the other person is lying through clenched teeth every time they speak — then it may be that persistent lying is their starting point.

“Context is everything”

While lying is often best exposed through an obvious change in someone’s baseline, it is important to remember that, in the words of Dr. Lillian Glass, author of Liars Body Language , “context is everything.” “Just because a person is exhibiting a certain body language or speech signal does not mean that they are necessarily lying, unless it is happening in the right context,” she wrote in an email.

For example, if your usually noisy and outgoing friend seems quiet and reserved when you ask him an uncomfortable question, this does not necessarily mean that he is lying to you; they might, for example, wonder if they left gas on their stove. Remember that many factors can influence their behavior if you suspect someone is lying.

However, if someone, say, a well-known public figure, is constantly accused of lying, regardless of the broader context, perhaps the external circumstances do not matter. For this person, lying could have become a habit.

Change in facial expression

The liar wears his dishonesty on his face. Numerous studies show that people do strange things with their lips and tend to look away when spewing out lies. Someone in the middle of a lie may purse their lips or lick their lips, blink excessively, or “suddenly look away (up, down, or sideways),” writes Glass.

If any of these behaviors deviate from the norm, “it might be a good reason to assume that they are not telling you the truth,” writes Glass. A 2008 study by Stephen Porter’s Forensic Psychology Laboratory at Dalhousie University in Canada examined the relationship of the face to lying at a deeper level.

Stephen Porter, one of the study’s lead authors, said at the time:

If someone tells a really important lie with dire consequences, say, life imprisonment, the lie will still be exposed. Because, unlike body language, you cannot control or completely control what is happening on your face.

Language of the body

There is a reason why detectives and FBI agents pay close attention to the body language of any suspect they interrogate. This is because, as Glass says, “the body doesn’t lie.”

Under psychological pressure, those accused of lying exhibit certain physical behavior. “Not everyone knows that when the human brain is under stress, the temperature of the brain rises and often manifests itself as sweat on the forehead or upper lip of the face,” Roger Strecker, a behavioral analyst and investigator , told NBC News in 2017 .

Speaking to NBC, Strecker noted:

Touching the face is a “sedative” and has a calming effect on the brain, which is otherwise under stress. Tapping feet or fidgeting hands (when their arms, legs, and feet were benign during the baseline check) should be noted.

However, if someone you know or see on TV is constantly accused of lying when asked about anything remotely substantiated in reality, there is a good chance that much of this routine protocol will be a thing of the past.


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