While text messaging has become one of the most frequent ways we communicate with our friends, the missing body language, tone of voice, and eye contact can make it difficult to tell when someone is being dishonest. That said, it's not impossible. There are a number of subtle hints you can train yourself to recognize that will to help you detect written lies hiding in your SMS and iMessages. Here's what you should look out for.
Be skeptical when someone tries to distance themselves from the story. A common way to do this is to avoid the use of personal pronouns such as "I" and "we." Additionally, liars may distance other people from the story in an attempt to hide their identity, referring to them as "some people" or "some friends."
Lying is uncomfortable for everyone involved. Most liars don't want to fully commit to a lie and will often use noncommittal language. Popular noncommittal phrases include "I guess," "possibly or probably," "must have," "pretty sure," and "we'll see."
Sometimes people are just being nice, but at other times they're playing you. Depending on the situation, empathetic language may signal a lie. Good liars know that our emotions have a strong influence over what we chose to believe.
Many liars set up their lies with qualifying statements. These statements show that the liar is uncomfortable with what they're about to say. Some examples include, "I hate to tell you," "don't take this the wrong way," "to be honest," "I'm just saying," and "I hear what you're saying."
Just as they do in person, liars will take advantage of any opportunity they can to change the subject from their lie. Fortunately in text, it's a little more obvious.
This is just the bare-bone basics of spotting a liar in your text message communications, so let's get this discussion going. What are the telltale signs that you've noticed from liars in your texts? Post your thoughts below, but let me warn you—I've also mastered the art of lie-detecting in comments.