25 Secret Tricks for Spotting a Lie Every Time

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We all encounter lots of lies throughout the average day—from the mundane (“I’m almost there”) to the life-changing (“I’m not sleeping with my coworker”). In this era of fake news and alternative facts, the flow of bogus information that we’re exposed to has gone from a trickling stream to a firehose of falsity. So it’s more important than ever to be able to discern when we’re being lied to, whether at work, home, or at the poker table. Fortunately, we’ve collected some expert tricks for spotting a lie that don’t require you to be a hard-bitten detective or mind reader.

They’re offering too many details.

Spotting a Lie

You’d think that a lie would lack details. But sometimes, the opposite is true. Those who are feeding you a line tend to offer up far more specifics than you asked for.

“Liars tend to embellish in an effort to convince you the story is accurate,” says Laura MacLeod, a therapist and HR expert. She points to details like an exact time, specific decor of the location, who was there and how they were dressed—including people who are not even relevant to the story. “If it feels like too much information is being offered, without you asking, it probably is a lie or at least a partial lie.”

They’re super defensive when asked follow-up questions.

Spotting a Lie

“If you challenge a liar—‘Are you sure? That doesn’t sound right’—he or she will often get defensive and act offended—‘I can’t believe you’re questioning me. You really think I would lie to you?’” explains MacLeod. “This is a very effective technique as it throws the blame on you, making you question your instincts and painting the liar as pristine and innocent.”

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