Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!

The truth is that all people lie..

It’s part of nature and can be seen as an inherent human tendency. Although most of us strive to live a fib-free life, we cannot escape the reality of how the human brain is wired.

From a very young age, we start using words to communicate with others. Lying is a skill that we as humans master from the early age of two. Although lying is labelled as a bad thing, it’s also important to question the state the world would be in, if all people were constantly speaking the truth.

Lies can be used to spare the feelings of others and save situations. Although lying should never be used to someone else’s disadvantage, I do feel that lying is inevitable.

Hence, the question should not be whether someone is a liar, but rather about the kind of liar the person is.


Different kinds of liars:

  • Little white liar

These lies are mostly harmless and is usually used to make lives easier by sparing someone else’s feelings. Eg. ‘Thank you for this dress, it’s my favourite colour!’ when you actually don’t like it at all.

  • Dissembler

This liar is all about avoiding the truth. He doesn’t tell outright lies, but rather hides information and tell people what they want to hear to appear more likeable.

  • Compulsive liar

These lies are being told for no reason. The person cannot help himself and tells extravagant lies, even if they know that the truth will come out. They lie about anything and everything, even things they don’t have to lie about.

  • Pathological liar

These people use lies to achieve selfish, personal goals. They are extremely creative and lack empathy. Pathological liars have their own agendas and will tell any lie in order for them to control the outcome


Lie Detecting

So, if every single one of us is a liar, how do we know who to trust? It’s no wonder we live in a society filled with backstabbing, disappointment and trust issues. How can we tell whether someone is telling the truth or not?

I say we educate ourselves by learning how to detect lies! After reading this, you’ll know what to look out for whether over the phone or in person! You’ll never have to guess what your boss is really thinking!

Detecting lies over a phone

Here are just a few ways how you can detect dishonesty while engaging in a telephonic conversation..

  1. Failing to answer your question
  2. Denial – Answering ‘no, it wasn’t me’ instead of just a simple ‘no’
  3. Repeating the question to buy time
  4. Attacking you by impeaching your character / abilities
  5. Being too specific. Liars overcompensate by providing more information that was asked for.
  6. Being too polite. They will flatter you in order to seek your approval so that you’ll believe them.
  7. Dressing their lies by bringing up religion, saying things like ‘I swear to God..’


Detecting lies in person

  • Disconnects

When the person is saying ‘yes’, but shakes his head negatively, or the other way around.

  • Hiding

When the person covers his mouth or eyes. If the person closes his eyes while responding, it might be that subconsciously he’s trying to avoid seeing the reaction to his lie.

  • Touching the face

Licking lips and pulling on lips/ears can indicate deception. Fight-or-Flight response kicks in while lying, prompting blood to rush to certain areas and trigger a sensation of cold or itching.

  • Moving Anchor points

Anchor points refer to the areas that keep you in a certain position. When you’re standing, your feet is the anchoring point. When you’re sitting down, your bum is. Once the anchor points start shifting, you know that the person is lying.

  • Grooming

The person might start fidgeting and grooming, like adjusting a tie/skirt or fumbling with hair while responding to a question.

  • Trying to appear innocent and childlike

Person will have wide open eyes and raised eyebrows, basically looking like they’re about to cry.

  • Closed body language

They will have crossed arms and especially legs.

  • Tries to shut you out

They are bound to blink more often, avoid eye contact and turn away from you.

The following can be detected both over the phone and in person

  • Higher pitched voice
  • Swallows more or cleans throat more often
  • Say things that are inconsistent
  • Telling you early on they have a bad memory
  • Quickly jumping in with answers
  • Hesitate as they think about what to say
  • Talk slower and use present tense
  • Try to flatter you or distract you with other ‘points of interest’
  • Questions minor details of your questions
  • Uses the words ‘honestly’ and ‘truthfully’


The following hand and arm movements should be observed:


  • Hands clenched – Dishonesty or distress
  • Hands on hips – Restraint or anger, but honest
  • Arms crossed – Dishonesty, distress, disagreement
  • Palm displays – Honesty
  • Hands in pockets – Dishonesty, distress, disagreement
  • Excessive palm displays – good liar
  • Hand lightly on chin – interested and honest


The following eye movements can be checked:

  • Sideways and to the right – Thinking about something they heard
  • Down and to the right – Talking to themselves
  • Up and to the left – Constructing a lie visually
  • Sideways and to the left – Constructing a lie orally
  • Down and to the left – Thinking about something they did
  • Looking straight ahead – Thinking of something that happened visually


It’s important to keep in mind that people who are under a lot of stress also do some of the above during conversations, even when they’re being honest.

I’ve always enjoyed watching the “Lie To Me” series and researching this topic was extremely interesting. It would take one a while to master the art of detecting lies, but I’m definitely going to try!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that you will keep this in mind when you suspect deception. Always remember to trust your gut. No book or blog post could ever replace your gut feeling and you should definitely go with what it tells you!


How do you know when someone is lying to you? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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South African Lifestyle Blogger. Blogging in the fields of Lifestyle, Relationships, Parenting, Health and Psychology.

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  • Juliet Ly

    This is a really interesting post. Psychology is such an interesting field. I think it’s also interesting how some people are trained to lie like actors, actresses, and government agents. How do you re-train the brain to not do something that you are not consciously aware of?

    • Multipotentialite

      That is an interesting point, and you have officially given me an idea for a future psychology blog post! Glad you liked this one xx

  • betterthangoodenough123

    Really interesting post and packed full of great facts to know. I’m always interested in the links between the mind and the body, so I found this post fascinating!
    Joan Senio

    • Multipotentialite

      Glad you’ve found this post interesting! Thank you for taking the time out to read. xx

  • Gia Suciu

    Great read! I liked the “Lie To Me” series too. Fascinating stuff. & you’re right, lying is inevitable. Didn’t realize it had so many forms. Thanks for presenting this so clearly.

    • Multipotentialite

      Thank you! Yes, it’s quite fascinating how manipulating we as humans are, and that it’s just the way our brains are wired. Scary, but true.. πŸ™‚

  • Single Vegas Girl

    This is an interesting post and definitely not one I’ve read before! I know there’s plenty of “tell tale” signs for a lie but I feel like sometimes people can easily deceive you no matter how good you think you are at spotting a lie. I usually know someone is lying to me by the way that they are acting or even how they’re speaking.

    Single Vegas Girl

  • Jo

    Such a good article. Maybe a β€˜gut feeling’ is our subconscious mind picking up all the tells and body language of the liar. It’s such a fascinating subject.

  • Three by 23

    Absolutely love your blog, it’s so different to blogs that I’ve come across before. This is such an interesting read – especially the hand, arm and eye movement giveaways. I love a good crime documentary and I like to think that I’m pretty good at figuring out who the perpetrator is so you’ve definitely given me a few extra things to look out for when my alter ego detective comes out in the evenings!

    Tanaiya β™₯

    • Multipotentialite

      Glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for the kind words! Xx

  • Mahiya Beauty

    This is a different yet an intriguing post and something I haven’t read in a long time. πŸ™‚

  • Anna - Alina

    Such an interesting post! Very helpful! Should try to check it the next time when I think somebody is lying.

  • Niamh

    This was such an interesting read!!

  • toomanycinderellas

    really interesting

    • Multipotentialite

      Thanks πŸ™‚

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