Monday, May 17, 2010

How to know if your partner is lying?

oh, i guess we've all been victims of lies in one way or another. It may be a harmless little white lie or a heart breaking, earth shattering big fat lie. How we wish we could tell if someone is lying or not. How much pain would we and our loved ones be spared of?

There is no one sure way to know if someone is lying (even lie detector tests are not 100% correct) but we can somehow have an idea if someone is lying.

I usually get a "hunch" when someone is lying to me, if someone is sincere or not. and i think it served me a lot of good. The "hunch" is not purely intuitive rather it was acquired through studying and observing real life circumstances-- movies, friends, and of course my greatest guinea pig, myself. :)

Well, here are some guidelines that might be useful for beginners...

BUT, please note that gestures should not be interpreted in isolation but in gesture clusters and of course, look if it is congruent with the overall context.

1 Hand-to-face (usually around the mouth) its like-- "say no evil". When we are kids, we cover our mouth when we lie but now that we are grown-ups we have become more sophisticated and less obvious.

Variations are: mouth slightly covered as if thinking, few fingers touching the mouth, close fist on mouth, fake cough while speaking, etc. Again these must be in context and clusters. This might also mean that the listener is holding back information.

2 Microgestures
- there are some quick gestures that might help us detect lies. You should be fast though because these microgestures lasts only for a split sec! whoa! It can be a facial muscular twitch or sneer. I have noticed myself do this when i think of lying but a bit prolonged than during the crime of lying itself. :)

3 Increased number of gulps and eye blinks. oh well. for some reason they are increased. But men's gulp are more noticeable because of their Adam's apple.

4 Nose Touch/ Scratch According to research (Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, Chicago), when we lie, something in our nose expands/swells causing some "itch" (just like pinocchio!). So our tendency is to touch or to scratch it. It may also indicate anxiety, anger or upset.

5 Eye Rub It may be a deliberate/vigorous eye rub or a slight touch somewhere below the eyes or LOOKING AWAY. It is a way to avoid looking to the person being lied to. It is also a "see no evil" gesture.

6 Ear Grab ""hear no evil": trying to block the words he is hearing... adult version of the Hands-Over-Both-Ears gestures used by the child who wants to block out his parent's reprimands" Allan & Barbara Pease. Sometimes, we just don't want to hear our own lies! Well, maybe we don't believe it ourselves or we cant believe we are telling such a lame excuse. :)

7 Neck Scratch We usually use the index finger of our stronger hand to scratch somewhere below the ear. It may mean, "I'm not sure" or "i will think further". If a man asked a girl "Is it alright if i drop by your house sometime this week?" If the girl says "Yeah, it'd be great!" while scratching the neck-- it's probably a "uh, no! i don't want you to visit." ;))

8 Other things to watch out for! -- Look out for these, too: Stuttering, uneasy legs, flushed cheeks, voice intonations, pupil dilation and contraction, and of course, inconsistencies in their lies! :)

The list of signs may go on and on... but i recommend that you evaluate others (movies, friends) and yourself (after lying). Practice may not make you perfect but it will surely improve your ability to detect lies. :)

Again, don't isolate gestures. It should be in clusters. A nose touch may mean that the person has colds. Eye rub may be caused by dust or something. Or a thousand more reasons so be very careful! Know the basics of body language. Read. Enrich your knowledge. :)

Hope this helps. Questions, comments and corrections are most welcome. :)

Sources: The Definitive Book of Body Language, Allan and Barbara Pease. And lessons that i can recollect from college. and some other books/articles I've read but can't remember (oops, sorry). :)


  1. changes in voice intonation can also be included in these ^^,

  2. yup! especially not-so-good liars! ;) thanks. :)

  3. repitition of words and higher vocal chords raw are also indications that a person is lying...(share ko lang din... :))