How To: 10 Surefire Ways to Spot a Liar (And Tell Better Lies Yourself)

10 Surefire Ways to Spot a Liar (And Tell Better Lies Yourself)

Seeing that you probably can't go ten minutes without lying (according to this study), you're probably interested in becoming a better liar. The best way to do so is to learn what makes a bad liar, and then do the opposite.

1. Liars Have Revealing Micro Expressions

According to psychologist Paul Ekman at the University of California, San Francisco, people conceal their feelings in small facial expressions that last only a 25th of a second. However, by simply recognizing the link between your own expressions and internal feelings, you can control your micro expressions.

Television series "Lie to Me" is actually based off of Ekman's research. Image via 3984

2. Liars Never Use Contractions

Liars avoid shortening sentences with contractions. "I did not," often replaces a more natural "I didn't." So, the next time you get caught having an affair, say "I didn't have sexual relations with that woman" instead of "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

3. Liars Are Unlikely to Touch Their Chest

Due to our cultural unconscious associations with pride and truth, a liar is unlikely to touch their chest with an open hand. Next time you feel like fibbing, put your hand directly on your heart, look the person in the eye, and say "I didn't do that."

Republican voter of Mitt Romney. Image via NPR

4. Liars Will Touch Their Face & Ears

Liars touch their ears and face. They make shields to cover their eyes and expressions but end up looking nervous and guilty.

Lance Armstrong. "I never doped, but, um, wait... does 1999 to 2005 count?". Image via NPR

5. Liars Give Unfalsifiable Responses

Saying "I don't remember doing that" is unfalsifiable. No one can prove that you haven't actually forgotten something, so liars use this to escape the responsibility of a lie.

Hmm... Image via Heather Robinson

6. Liars Have a Delay Between Words & Expressions

Liars exhibit a slight delay between the vocalization of an emotion and the physical expression of it. So, when you get a sweater from your grandmother next Christmas, make sure your "thank you, it's so beautiful!" and smile are perfectly in sync.

This is not how it's done. Image via Kingpin Social

7. Liars Follow Along When the Subject Changes

Next time you suspect someone of lying, quickly change the subject. A liar will jump on it immediately. Next time you're lying, refuse to change the subject. "No, wait. I still can't believe you're accusing me of this."

Ray Lewis before Super Bowl XLVII avoiding deer antler spray questions. Image via Yahoo! News

8. Liars Respond with Truthful Statements

Liars will rush to truthful statements that cast them in a good light, "I have been to work on time every day! Why would I steal money from you?" If you want to tell a good lie, purposefully admit some of your faults, "I know I've been late several times, and I've angered more than a few customers, but I didn't steal from you."

Walter White. 'Nuff said. Image via AMC

9. Liars Rely on Their Mouth for Expressions

Bad liars hyperbolize untruthful feelings with their mouths. In reality, the muscles around our eyes are much better at expressing our emotions and should take priority when faking an expression.

"No, I definitely did not kill my ex-wife." - O.J. Simpson. Image via News One

10. Liars Often Make Grooming Gestures

Within the first thirty seconds of an accusation, many liars fix their hair, adjust their ties, straighten their jackets, adjust their cuffs, and a perform number of other grooming gestures. If you're going to lie, act natural. It shouldn't matter what you look like because you're not lying, right?

Man playing with his necktie. He must be lying, right? Image via Shutterstock

Now that you know all of the mistakes a bad liar makes, you should know how to avoid them and start telling more perfect lies.

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Cover image via Shutterstock


I think I am a natural liar...because I have been using these techniques everytime I have to lie...since I began doing that! And I never knew that I was using them until now! Awesome. Here's my Kudo!

Thanks! I am personally guilty of avoiding contractions when I stretch the truth...

I really don't understand what you are saying...

When I'm lying I say "I did not," instead of "I didn't." It sounds more unnatural since everybody says "I didn't" in day-to-day conversation. I'm just saying I'm not always the best liar.

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