It is hard enough to spot a person lying in front of your face (especially if that person is so good in it) but what more over the phone, right?
Here is a good scenario: someone you like or someone you are interested in is calling you. You answered immediately, feeling giddy. You talked for a few minutes, made few plans, and perhaps heard a lot of compliments and flattery. Of course, you were happy.
But then you realized that the happiness you felt was fleeting. You became suspicious of the intent and content of your conversation. What were your cues? What made you think that person is lying? Sometimes, it is a gut feeling we can’t explain. But did you know that not everyone can identify deception, especially on the phone?
The truth is, we all have been victims of phone lying and manipulation. The sad part is, not everyone can recognize deceit. That is why it is very important to learn the basics about phone lying and how you can easily spot cues about it.
In psychology, a person that is lying is identified through body language and eye movement. But it could also be in the form of how a person delivers his words. It may be a challenge to identify lies through phone or other means of electronic communication, but it is possible. Read some red flags below.
1. The conversation is going in different directions.
If you know the person on the other end of the line well, veering away from the topic means something is not right. If you ask something and he or she answers differently or talk about something else, this signifies a red flag. The best thing to do is to continue pushing the conversation back to the original topic. Think twice if your question is not answered or the issue is not solved.
If, however, the person you are talking to is someone you just met, it will take time for you to spot this red flag. A good example is if someone you met online wants to hit on you meeting you personally. If the person is not being truthful or has other intentions, conversations or reasons would be different.
2. Use of repetitive words.
When trying to make a lie, a person usually repeats words to buy them more time to think. A liar who does not have a solid plan has to think quickly on what to say and what to reason out. Also, when a liar is trying to emphasize a lie or a statement, he or she often repeats it.
3. Throat clearing.
This might seem ordinary but if the person you are talking too seems uneasy and is clearing their throat most of the time, this means that they are uncomfortable with the situation they are in. Lying can give stress that could lead to dry mouth. Their brains are working double time. Scientific yes, but definitely true.
4. Stuttering and using the word “well” often.
Liars often stutter and not directly answer your questions. They tend to start their sentences with “well” to condition your mind, especially if you are expecting a different answer or statement. They use this word as well instead of directly saying a “yes” or a “no”.
5. A lot of sudden pauses.
An honest conversation is usually uninterrupted and seamless because words just come out naturally. For those trying to deceive or lie, however, long and sudden pauses are needed because they have to think of what to say or answer. Lies are most often than not, unrehearsed. They have to recall what they constantly say to become consistent. These long pauses are annoying and definitely major red flags because the person you are talking to seems not to know what they are talking about.
6. Use of filler words.
Liars use filler words like "um," "ah," and "uh huh" before responding because they need to think about their answers strategically. Honest people don’t need a lot of time in answering simple questions. A customer service phone call is a good example for this. You ask a credit card customer service if your card issues can be resolved in a short amount of time. The agent on the other line answer with a lot of fillers, long pauses, and indirect answer to your simple question.
7. Always changing the subject.
This is usually the case in a confrontational conversation. For liars, changing the subject means buying them enough time to think of what to say or what to answer next. This is a very common tactic of liars to veer away to the urgent matter on hand. Also, if a liar is not comfortable giving honest answers to your seemingly simple question, they may give a short and vague reply before talking about something else.
8. Repeating your questions back to you.
Liars would almost always repeat the questions you asked when talking on the phone. This could give them more time to think of a more appropriate lie and this is a tactic they use to confuse you so you will eventually believe them. If you feel that the one you are talking to uses this tactic, keep yourself composed and continue to ask direct questions.
9. Sudden hang up.
If you ask a question that a liar does not want to talk about, they usually hang up or give an excuse that they need to leave. If this happens most of the time, something is definitely wrong.
10. Showing hostile behavior.
A person who suddenly became hostile on the phone or suddenly became defensive when you ask about something (could be whereabouts) is suspicious enough. If they are telling the truth, why is there a need to be defensive? Simple, right? This kind of tactic is usually used by people who lie to their partner, parents, or friends.
11. Using flattery.
This is another tactic often used by people in a relationship or cheaters. They usually shower the other with flattery to divert the topic or get away from the lie. If you are involved with this kind of person, expect a lot of lies and deception. They are usually smooth talkers and manipulative.
12. Using superlatives.
Apart from flattery, a liar most often use superlatives like “absolutely”, “totally”, and “certainly” to emphasize on lies. This use of superlatives comes naturally to a liar because they tend to exaggerate a lie to make it appear more convincing. Sometimes, these superlatives are used as filler words as well to give them more time to think or more time to get out of an uncomfortable phone conversation.
Lying and deception is part of our everyday
Lying is part of our life. We lie and we encounter people who lie every single day. Most of the time, we don’t even notice that we are lying. We can say to our friends that we “already made plans for the night” but the truth is, we are just too lazy to go out. This is normal, unfortunately, and sometimes a lie is necessary to prevent simple arguments and to keep things running smoothly.
However, it is good to note that there are really some people who lie to deceive, and there are those vulnerable people who can’t spot it easily. It is good to be wary and check if a lie is being harmful. Remember that these dangerous lies can destroy families, friendships, and relationships. It is ok to trust an individual but also protect yourself by not letting all of your guard down.
If you feel that you are being deceived, look for the red flags and be careful about what you respond to, and how you decide to move forward with your relationship. Maybe it's time to end your relationship?
Your intuition is still your best bet
At the end of the day, it would still be about your gut feeling, your intuition. If you sense that someone is lying, you might be right, especially if it is close to you. When everything is going smoothly but your intuition tells you otherwise, think twice or thrice. Analyze things to make sure you are doing your next responses correctly.
Of course, many not always be accurate. Police and investigators deal with this for years but they still encounter lapses with their investigations. Some even use science to detect lies but it is not always accurate too. We also have different responses on lies and deceit, but what is important is to keep yourself safe and not give too much to the point that you’re being hurt or manipulated.
Read the long list of tips above. Combined with your intuition, these can somehow make you feel less vulnerable. Again, it is tough to determine lies but those red flags? They will surely warn you of a potential deception.