How to Tell If Someone’s Lying

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The average American lies 11 times per week. Unfortunately, no one’s nose grows when they bend the truth, so it can be hard to tell when someone’s playing you for a fool. Follow these cues, though, and you’ll become a human polygraph in no time.

1) Find the Baseline

Before you can tell if someone’s lying, you need to know how they usually behave. Once you understand their basic pattern of behavior—quirks and mannerisms included—you can start digging up the lies. People usually deviate from their baseline behavior when they say something fishy.

2) Face it

Asymmetries like a crooked smile or a half-mast eye are telltale signs of a lie. A wandering eye is another signal, since it’s hard to lie while looking someone in the eye.

3) Look for a Sleight of Hand

Fibs make you fidgety. Liars will scratch their noses, rub their necks, and pick imaginary lint from their shirts. A fib may send extra adrenaline to the capillaries in your face—especially your nose—which sparks an urge to itch.

4) Time the Blink of an Eye

The average person blinks every five seconds. But when they lie, they’ll blink more—every two or three seconds. Liars also take longer to respond to questions, probably because they have to constantly cook up creative answers and need to recall previous mistruths.

5) Let Them Talk

Lies make us chatty. A liar may talk a lot to win you over, but most of those extra sentences are fluff. Phrases like “The truth is” or “To be honest” can mean that if they aren’t lying to you now, they were earlier.

6) Dig Deeper

If you think someone’s pulling your leg, ask them to repeat their story. Unless they’ve rehearsed, the tale won’t be the same the second time around. A liar may also evade your questions, which means they've definitely got something to hide.
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Now that you’re impervious to lies, it’s easier to reward your friends who always tell you the truth. Give them a true toast with a Dos Equis.

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August 21, 2013 - 9:00am
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