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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Essential tips on detecting (and unmasking) serial liars and understanding their tell-tale signs

Reprinted from The Expert Editors

Feeling deceived is a horrible experience.

Whether it’s a romantic partner, a friend, or a coworker, being lied to can shatter trust and leave you questioning your own judgment.

But what if you could spot a liar before they deceive you?

Today, I want to share with you some tell-tale signs that you’re dealing with a seasoned liar.

As they say, forewarned is forearmed. So, let’s dive in.

1) Their story keeps changing

Ever noticed how a liar can’t stick to one version of events?

First, they say they went out with friends, and then suddenly they claim they were visiting family.

Being consistent is not their strong point because they keep making up new stories to cover their tracks.

I know it’s easy to overlook these minor inconsistencies, especially if you want to believe the person.

But trust me, you shouldn’t. Inconsistency is a liar’s kryptonite. The more they change their story, the clearer it becomes that they’re hiding something.

2) They avoid eye contact

A seasoned liar might be adept at spinning tales, but maintaining eye contact while doing so? That’s a whole different ball game.

You’ve heard it a million times: Eyes are the windows to the soul.

Here’s the thing: People who lie often avoid eye contact. It’s not because they’re shy but because they’re afraid you’ll see their lie.

It’s like an automatic way to defend themselves.

Be cautious though; avoiding eye contact alone doesn’t prove someone is lying.

But, if you see this along with other signs, it’s a warning you should not ignore.

3) They get defensive easily

When you question the details of their story, do they immediately go on the defensive? If the answer is yes, chances are you’re dealing with a liar.

The truth is, a seasoned liar hates scrutiny and will often lash out when cornered.

More often than not, they’ll turn the tables, accusing you of being suspicious or untrusting. , It’s like a smoke screen meant to divert your attention from the issue at hand.

Don’t fall for it. Stick to your guns and keep probing.

An innocent person has nothing to hide, and they’ll answer your questions without making it about your insecurities.

4) They overcomplicate their stories

I’ve learned that the truth is usually straightforward. So if someone’s giving you a winding, complex narrative full of twists and turns, it’s time to ask yourself why.

In other words, a clear sign of a seasoned liar is an unnecessarily complicated story.

They’ll add tiny details, extra stories, and people who don’t matter just to make their lie sound true. Ironically, this overcomplication often makes their story less credible.

Most times, they do this to cover one lie with more lies.

5) They use qualifying languague

Pay close attention to people’s choice of words.

Phrases like “To the best of my knowledge,” or “As far as I can remember,” give them an escape route if caught in a lie.

A seasoned liar often uses this qualifying language to wiggle out of direct lies.

Qualifying language is a subtle trick, but it’s effective.

It makes you start to doubt yourself and what you think is going on.

In short, it’s manipulative and a classic move in a seasoned liar’s playbook. Don’t get played.

6) They’re experts at redirecting the conversation

Seasoned liars have a knack for steering the conversation away from dangerous territory.

You ask them a straight question, and suddenly you’re talking about something completely different.

It’s like they’re playing a talking game and always thinking three steps ahead.

If you’re wondering how to counter this, it’s simple: stay focused. Keep bringing the conversation back to the point in question.

Don’t let them change the subject. It can be exhausting, but it’s vital to keep the spotlight where it needs to be: on the truth.

7) They give too much information

Sometimes, a liar will flood you with information to overwhelm and confuse you.

You ask where they were last night, and they give you a minute-by-minute breakdown, complete with unnecessary details about what they ate, who they saw, and even the weather.

Don’t be fooled. This is over-the-top and a trick to hide the lie among many true things.

Trust your gut here. If it feels like they’re trying too hard to convince you, it’s probably because they are.

Think about it it this way: No one needs a long story to say why they were late, unless they’re hiding a lie.

8) They pause frequently when talking

A pause here and there in natural conversation is normal. However, seasoned liars often pause a lot as they make up lies right then and there.

You see, these pauses give them the time they need to fix their story and make it sound more real.

Pay attention, because pausing a lot can show that someone is lying. The time they take to ‘recall’ details could actually be moments they’re using to invent a new part of their story.

Be especially wary if they’re usually more fluid in their speech but start pausing a lot when you ask specific questions.

9) They rarely use contractions

This may sound odd, but people lying often avoid using contractions like “I’m,” “won’t,” or “can’t,” opting instead for “I am,” “will not,” and “cannot.”

This could be because liars want to make their words sound very strong to make you believe them.

I’ve found this sign fascinating because it’s something most people wouldn’t notice. But once you’re aware of it, you’ll start to catch liars in the act more often.

So if someone says, “I did not do it,” and not “I didn’t do it,” be very careful.

10) They can’t handle silence

This is the trickiest one, but incredibly effective. After they’ve told their story, just be silent for a moment.

Most liars can’t stand the quiet and will talk fast to break it, sometimes adding new things or changing what they say.

Why does this work? Because liars are on edge, silence makes them nervous. If they were telling the truth, a moment of quiet wouldn’t be so intimidating.

Use this to your advantage. Sometimes, silence speaks louder than any question could.

Recognizing a seasoned liar is no walk in the park; they’re skilled at the art of deceit.

However, once you know what to look for, their tactics become transparent. Keep an eye out for the signs we’ve mentioned.

But we’re not done yet.

Knowing how to deal with seasoned liars and unmasking their lies can be empowering.

Let’s dive into these critical aspects.

How to deal with seasoned liars when you know the truth

So, you’ve caught them red-handed. You have concrete proof that directly contradicts their story.

What do you do? First off, resist the temptation to confront them immediately, especially if emotions are running high.

Patience is your friend here. Wait for the right moment to present your evidence.

The idea is to catch them off guard, to elicit a genuine reaction. When you do confront them, keep your tone neutral and your emotions in check.

Remember, the goal is not to win an argument; it’s to get to the truth.

And here’s a special tip: Write down what they say.

Whether it’s taking notes during the conversation or, in more severe cases, recording the conversation (make sure it’s legal in your jurisdiction), having a record can be invaluable.

This way, if they try to change their story later, you have concrete proof of their inconsistencies.

How to unmask a seasoned liar

  • Be specific in your questions

Instead of asking broad questions try to get into the details because this forces the liar into a corner and it makes it difficult for them to stick to their fabricated story.

  • Repeat your questions

Seasoned liars might slip up on the details upon repetition, exposing their lies, so after a while, ask the same question again but in a different manner.

  • Ask for their story backward

This technique is often used in police interrogations. It’s much harder to tell a lie backward because it requires recalling details in reverse order, which is challenging to do when you’re making it all up.

  • Use silence

As mentioned before, seasoned liars are uncomfortable with silence so you can use it to your advantage.

Try making a pause in the conversation and it may force them to spill additional details, potentially contradicting their previous statements.

  • Check for consistency

If possible, cross-verify the details they provide with other people or situations without alerting the suspected liar and look for inconsistencies that will give them away.

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