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How to tell when someone is lying

Few unconventional ways to spot a liar

Lying and deception are common human behaviours. There have been various researches suggesting why people lie, what the thought process is, and what the signs of a liar are. The reality is that most people lie from time to time. At times these are lies intended to protect someone else’s feelings. We also like to believe that we are pretty good at detecting lies, and there are various ways of finding dishonesty.

Some of the most common nonverbal cues are as follows:

  • Liars tend to fidget and squirm
  • They won’t look you in the eye
  • They have shifty eyes when they are telling a lie

However, research suggests that most of these notions are simply old wives' tales.

Shocked? Well, don’t be. We have compiled a list of few other signs of a liar.

1. Behavioural pause or delay

You ask any question to the person and you get nothing initially. After a little pause and delay, he begins to respond. If you ask someone, “On this date ten years ago, what were you doing?” The person will invariably pause before responding, as it’s not a question that naturally evokes an immediate response—he has to think about it, and likely still won’t be able to offer a meaningful response. Now ask them, “On this date ten years ago, did you rob a bank?” Much more likely, there will be no pause—your friend will immediately respond, “No!” or “Of course not!” This drives home the point that the delay needs to be considered in the context of whether it’s appropriate for the question.

2. Verbal/non-verbal disconnect

Our brains are wired in a way that it causes our verbal and nonverbal behaviours to naturally match up. So when there’s a disconnect, we consider that a potential deceptive indicator. A common disconnect to watch out for occurs when a person nods affirmatively while saying, “No,” or turns his head from side to side while saying, “Yes.” Try to nod your head while saying no and you’d find that you really have to force yourself through the motion. Yet, a deceptive person will potentially do it without even thinking about it.

3. Hiding the mouth or eyes

When being untruthful, a deceptive person will often hide her mouth or eyes. There is a natural tendency to want to cover over a lie, so if a person’s hand goes in front of her mouth while she’s responding to a question, that’s significant. Similarly, there’s a natural inclination to shield oneself from the reaction of those who are being lied to. If a person shields her eyes while she’s responding to a question, what she might well be indicating, on a subconscious level, is that she can’t bear to see the reaction to the whopper she’s telling.

4. Throat-clearing or swallowing

If a person clears his throat or performs a significant swallow prior to answering the question, that’s a potential problem. If he does it after he answers, that’s not a problem.

5. Hand-to-face activity

Look out for anything a person does with his face or in the head region in response to your question. The reason goes is simple. You’ve asked a question, and the question creates a spike in anxiety because a truthful response would be incriminating. That, in turn, triggers the autonomic nervous system to go to work to dissipate the anxiety, draining blood from the surfaces of the face, the ears, and the extremities—which can create a sensation of cold or itchiness. Without the person even realizing it, his hands are drawn to those areas, or there’s a wringing or rubbing of the hands.

6. Grooming gestures

Another way that some people may dissipate anxiety is through physical activity in the form of grooming oneself or their immediate surroundings. When responding to a question, a deceptive man might adjust his tie or shirt cuffs, or maybe his glasses. An untruthful woman might move a few strands of hair behind her ear, or straighten her skirt. Tidying up the surroundings is another form of grooming gesture. You ask a question, and suddenly the phone isn’t turned the right way, the glass of water is too close, or the pencil isn’t in the right place.

The truth is that there is no universal, sure-fire sign that someone is lying. All of the signs, behaviours, and indicators that researchers have linked to lying are simply clues that might reveal whether a person is being forthright. Also, most importantly you have to trust your instincts. You might have a great intuitive sense of honesty versus dishonesty.

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8 reasons why people criticize you

All are sufferers of criticism. When we are criticized we may feel ashamed, angry or even unworthy and incompetent.
Gousiya Teentalkindia Content Writer

Criticism is a common—but painful—experience. Being criticized may produce fear, shame or anger, and feed into your insecurities. Obviously, not all critics produce these negative experiences, there is a positive criticism that makes you think and helps you grow. To discover it is important to understand what provokes people to criticize, if their reasons are valid or, on the contrary, are only a strategy to reassert their power, complain or humiliate.

 People criticize you because:

  • They feel endangered by some of your qualities and use criticism as a defense to try to balance the game. In practice, these people feel inferior, then attack your flaws trying to take you down to their level.


  • They like to feel accountable for the situation in every moment and get scared when they feel that are losing control. In such cases, criticizing you return to them, at least in part, the feeling of control, because they believe to tear you down this way and take the control.


  • They want to gain something: They criticize you in front of someone else; to make sure they look better, both at work and with friends. In this case they do it because consider you a rival or a competitor.


  • They try to draw your attention and approval, but since they’re short of social and emotional skills, fail to do it in an assertive way, so they end up, complaining or whining. In fact, when people think they are skilled in every field, often criticize others to demonstrate what they know and reaffirm their position, looking for admiration.


  • They’re project their fears and insecurities: In fact, when people do not admit some of their features and recognize them in the others, they generate in them a deep denial and open the way to criticism.


  • They feel frustrated as they have tried to express their needs and opinions in a more assertive way, but you haven’t been paying attention and, then, they discharge all that anger in the criticism.


  • They need to feel powerful, even if it means over powering you and to achieve this, they use criticism as a stick with which they hit you.

The way to respond to criticism depends largely on the situation and the reasons that cause it. In fact, there are circumstances where is better not to do it, because reacting to criticism would only serve to further develop the other person and satisfy his/her desire for leadership and control. In these cases it is best to pay no attention to them, because trying to defend ourselves would only lead to a dead end. Hence, if you can, pretend that nothing has happened. When the person who criticizes you is significant for you, it is necessary that you pay attention and let him/her know that you love and esteem him/her, even if you do not agree with that opinion. You can also point out to that person that you respect his/her ideas and efforts, but always asserting your freedom and the right to make your own decisions. Nobody enjoys to be criticized, but it is part of the human experience. Try to find the middle ground between taking too much accountability for other people’s issues and being too defensive.

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Disclaimer: TeentalkIndia does not offer emergency services and is not a crisis intervention centre, if you or someone you know is experiencing acute distress or is suicidal/self harming, please contact the nearest hospital or emergency/crisis management services or helplines.