How to Know if Someone is Lying

What’s worse at the office: a drama queen or a chronic liar? At least with the former you’ll know they’ll be an open book and let their heart out to anyone who’ll listen, no matter how melodramatic it can be. A chronic office liar will tell fibs all day long, be sneaky and connive their way into a promotion or a higher salary. A liar can be the worst person to deal with at work. They will lie about anything and out of anything. Simply put: how do you know when someone is lying? When they open their mouth. 

See Also: How to Deal With Lying Colleagues 

Much like politicians, a liar thinks you’re stupid and gullible. They will tell you it’s sunny outside when it’s clearly raining. They will claim they were offered a higher position in the firm but they rejected the offer because they wanted to be on the bottom floor with you. They will even go as far as trying to create tension between you and your boss by alleging that your boss hates you (or something along those lines). Well, maybe that last part is true, but who knows? 

The motivations behind a liar is unknown exactly. There could be a wide variety of reasons. Before you get caught into their web of lies, you first have to detect if someone is lying or not. You do not need to employ some Miss Marple or Philip Marlowe detecting techniques. Instead, you will need to discover some signs from the individual in question. Be on the lookout. 

Remember, it won’t be as easy as catching a liar who sweats, pulls at his neck time and becomes red in the face! 

Here are 10 ways to know if someone is lying to you at the office: 

1. Frozen Like a Statue


For a long time, we have tended to believe that someone who is lying is likely fidgeting around. They vehemently gesticulate, they start moving things around and they twiddle their thumbs. Not quite so. Someone who is lying is likely not moving at all. It’s as if they’re a character from the old horror classic "House of Wax." All what’s missing is a Vincent Price narrator. 

Think of it this way: when you engage in a natural conversation, you’re not frozen like a statue; you’re moving around freely without a car in the world. Someone who is fibbing isn’t moving at all for fear of revealing something. If the person you are confronting isn’t moving a muscle then definitely consider them being guilty of lying.

2. Inconsistencies and Contradictions in Their Stories

"What a tangle web we weave," Sir Walter Scott once wrote.  

He is certainly correct in his assessment of liars. A liar can get so caught up in lying because they have to tell a lie and then apply layer after layer to keep it steady. Eventually, a liar becomes inconsistent and contradictory in their tales of fibs and deceit. When you speak to this person, pay extra attention to their words because they’ll likely slip up somehow.

3. They Will Repeat Words and Phrases

When someone is lying, they’re attempting to convince both you and themselves. One way to do this is to validate the lie in their mind by repeating certain words and phrases over and over again. Moreover, the repetition can also help liars buy time so they can gather their thoughts.  

Remember, it takes extra brain work to tell a lie because your mind has to come up with a fantastic story that never really happened or needed to be altered. 

Hint: next time you sit on jury duty or you watch a political debate, try to look for repetition. 

4. Stares and Zero Blinks


Akin to somebody who is standing very still, the probability of a liar who is just staring at you without blinking is high. Again, we tend to believe liars will avoid eye contact, but it’s actually quite the opposite. A liar will want to maintain eye contact as much as possible in an attempt to control and manipulate you. In most cases, the average person will be freely looking around as they speak, but the liar will want to encourage you to believe their web of lies.

5. Way Too Much Information

"The other day, I went to the coffee shop, which had these very dim lamps and a few people scattered around the coffee shop, and I came across this famous actor, who winked at me. As I was reading ’Crime and Punishment,’ the famous actor, wearing a light gray suit and thick black glasses, came up to me and shook my hand informing me that I was a nice person. The barista, serving others in the restaurant, congratulated me on speaking with the actor who never says a word to anyone." 

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Now, this is a long-winded story that didn’t need to be. The person could have just said they came across actor who said hello. Why did the story go on and on and on? Well, liars talk a lot because they hope someone else will believe them. The next time you come across a person who is just yapping and yapping then the chances are they’re liars or lying about whatever the heck they’re talking about.

6. The Movement of Their Head

When you asked a person a direct question, did their head suddenly make a movement? If so then the chances are very high that they’re lying. Right before the liar answers your question, their head will jerk back or bow down or move in any other direction. Indeed, their heads would be perfect for pinball machines.

7. Look Out for Insincere Emotions

liar liar

No matter how hard we try, we can’t fake our way through emotions, unless we’re Fredric March or Spencer Tracy. Most of us can’t submit disingenuous laughters or present fake cries. It’s apparent because the smile could be held for way too long or it could be combined with other real emotions, such as anger or sadness. These fake emotions are good signs that someone isn’t being honest.

8. Touching or Covering Their Mouths

A tell tale sign of an individual who is lying and doesn’t want to handle an issue or solve a problem is when they begin to touch or cover their mouths. It’s interesting because by performing these behaviors it’s a literal sign that they want to close off communication. In other words, by touching or covering our mouths we’re conveying that we want to avoid answering a question.

9. Clearing of the Throat

clearing throat

During times of stress, deceit and confrontation, our salivary flow reduces, which then dries out our mouths. Therefore, we need to clear our throats. We even also begin to bite or purse our lips as if we’re ravenous beasts. This worsens for someone who is guilty of lying. Just watch anyone you know who is 100 percent lying and you will witness them clearing their throat or begin to bite their lips.

10. Pointing There, and There, and There

Pointing is equal to hostility. When a liar is pointing to the left and to the right, up and down, it’s a sign that they’re angry that you have discovered their lying nature. Politicians love to point a lot. Now we know why!

See Also: How to Lie on Your Resume and Get Away With It 

Lying isn’t something to embrace. Yes, we all tell little white lies, such as when we’re asked if a dress makes a certain somebody look fat or if a wannabe writer who happens to be a relative penned a good story. This is expected of us. But when lies consume your life and start to take over your career then you know something is wrong. Honesty is the best policy to instill in your life, no matter what. 

Have you ever been caught lying at the office? Let us know in the comments section...