The most important thing in communication is
hearing what isn’t said.
Everyone gets lied to, and many of us may even think we are already pretty good at spotting lies. But, how will you know if your significant other, friend, sibling, lover, colleague, acquaintance, or even a stranger is lying to you? What are the different clues you can pick up on to detect lying? The solution is simple: read and interpret body language.
What are some signs
The most common signs of lying that you should look for are signs of nervousness, stress, anxiety, tension, defense, or discomfort. These little things will show up in different gestures, facial expressions, actions, or mannerisms. And among these are self-touching, speech errors, speech hesitations, different eye movements, discrepancies in the body and the posture, and more.
Self touches are also known as adaptors. People who are lying tend to touch or rub their nose, scratch their forehead, play with their hair, wring or twist their fingers, cover their mouths, and the like. The need to use frequent self touching can indicate extreme nervousness and increasing tension. But keep in mind that there are some people that have already trained themselves to avoid using these adaptors. Thus, looking for other clues is important.
People who lie, especially when they get caught in the act, will often stumble over their speech, stutter, or even mispronounce. Voice pitch will go up and pacing will usually get a bit faster. However, clues in the speech can sometimes be tricky to pick up. A person may already have some speech deficits, or it may be normal for that person to speak in a fast pace. These are only helpful if you are already familiar with how the person speaks normally.
The eyes are the loudest and clearest channel of honesty and lies. Eye movements that may indicate lying include lateral movement, squinting, frequent blinking, or looking away. Pupil dilation also occurs during a state of tension, but this is not always easy to see. For ages, it was believed that the inability to hold another’s gaze for a long time indicated lying. However, many people are already aware of this and practice over time how to lie even with eye contact.
Body and Posture Discrepancies
A person may cover up lies through confident facial expressions and voice pitch and volume, however their body may still reveal hints of dishonesty. Fidgeting, shakiness, trembling of the hands, body stiffness, shuffling of the feet, and jitters are typical indicators of lying, but these should never be considered absolutely definitive or reliable. Gestures showing the palm often indicate sincerity. But in lying, the palms are rarely visible, and are often hidden inside pockets. As a defensive posture and protection, people often cross their arms across their chest. People lying are also prone to sweating, increasing heart rate, breathing deeper, and being pale.
In addition to those stated above, there are several more indicators of lying. However, they are less reliable in the detection of dishonesty. Among them are forced smiles, slight tightening of the forehead between the eyebrows, lip biting, hand shrugs, movement of the Adam’s apple, delay of answers or response, flaring of nostrils, tighter lips, elbows pulled to the sides, tilting head movements, inability to concentrate on other things, and other unnatural or unusual or ill-timed gestures.
There is an art to understanding body language. Even though they may seem sometimes unreliable, several different gestures can help clue you into how sincere and honest a person is being with you. Simply look for the some of the typical signs of lying to help you detect dishonesty. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines. You can rely on your senses, but always remember to use your common sense.