Lying is one of the most common and pervasive social behaviors in the world. From little white lies to big lies such as cheating on one’s partner or financial fraud, lying is present in every culture around the world.
It has also been adopted as a popular theme by Hollywood which likes to over-stress the use of polygraph tests and exaggerate the physical responses a liar exhibits, such as fidgeting, speaking too quickly, and sweating profusely.
In this list, we’re bringing you just the cold, hard, scientific facts. Be careful though – while the facts on this list are based on science, they cannot necessarily be used as definitive proof that someone is lying to you. (For instance, if someone clears their throat, maybe they just haven’t had a drink of water in a while.) The combination of multiple factors on this list and comparing what someone says to the objective truth is what will help you know if a person is lying. After all, lie detector machines aren’t even right 100% of the time. Some people are able to control their lying or minimize the cues given while lying.
So, even though they shouldn’t be used to condemn someone right off the bat, the facts on this list can help if you suspect someone is being untrustworthy. See if you can spot any liars or fibbers with these 10 Ways to Know Someone is Lying to You.


10. Sliding the jaw
To get moisture back in the throat, liars often make subconscious movements which give them away. To stimulate the salivary glands to produce saliva, they can open their mouths and move the jaw left and right. Take a look at someone you think is lying to see if they show this behavior.
9. Lack of eye contact
Most people who lie often feel at least a little bit of shame in doing so and will avoid eye contact. While the amount of eye contact a person is comfortable with differs from person-to-person and culture-to-culture, try noticing if they can’t look you in the eye.
8. Eyes pointed towards the door
Body language is one of the biggest ways liars give themselves away. When their eyes aren’t looking at you, notice where they are looking at. If their eyes constantly point towards an exit such as a door, they are demonstrating the desire to remove themselves from the lying situation and the anxiety it causes.
7. Speaking slowly
Since a liar has to be careful their fabricated story doesn’t conflict itself, they’ll often speak slower than is natural to self-edit the story on the fly.

6. Checking the time
Here’s a useful fact both for daily conversation and helping you know when someone is lying to you. People who want to end a conversation will frequently look at their watch, signaling they are uncomfortable or bored. It could be a sign someone is looking to end a conversation, too.
5. Heavy breathing
One of the most Hollywood depictions of a liar is with heavy breathing. Since our bodies are preparing for immediate, extreme action, our breathing increases to get more blood to our muscles. This deep breathing can be seen by watching someone’s shoulders rise and fall and is sometimes accompanied by a cracked or garbled voice.
4. Freezing in place
What happens when one cartoon character catches another lying? The liar will often freeze in place and look shocked. The same can happen for some people who lie. Rather than twisting their hands or moving around nervously, some liars will stiffen up straight, shocked but poised to make their next move.
3. Deferring to bad memory
Truth tellers recount a story as it happened and are easily able to pull up the chain of events from their memory banks. Since liars are omitting facts coming into their head, they may tell a story erratically, passing the blame off to a poor memory.
2. Physical-verbal mismatch
For cultures which use vertical head nods to mean yes and horizontal nods to mean no, a liar may experience a disconnect in their physical behavior and verbal communication. For example, they may say “yes” while giving the nod for “no”.


1. Grooming themselves
We’re not talking about a full shave here. Rather, if someone adjusts their hair or straightens out their tie, it may be a sign you’re not getting the real story.

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