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Everyone has probably told a white lie, even in the office. But sometimes you encounter colleagues who lie so often that it comes as second nature for them. They might do it to get out of trouble or distract people from the truth (or their capabilities – or a lack thereof). How do you spot them? Here are a few ways.


They try never to reference themselves

Based on a TED talk done by Noah Zandan, liars usually keep from using phrases and languages that reference themselves out of fear that it might give them away. They might also try to give simple explanations to make their situations less dire than it actually is.


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They provide inconsistent details

One logical telltale sign is when a person is unable to give consistent details or accounts of whatever they’re lying about. When a person lies, it’s harder for them to remember details and they’re often worried about the likelihood of getting caught. So, the next time you suspect that someone at work could be lying to you, press them for details and get them to elaborate more on the incident.


The long ………. pause

Ah, the dreaded long pause — a classic telltale sign of lying. Usually, when a long pause is involved, it means that the person lying is attempting to conjure up a believable story in their heads or, they’re trying to figure out if lying is worth the risk.



They’re unable to maintain eye contact

When liars lie, they’re usually nervous and can’t seem to maintain eye contact for fear that you might just be able to smell them out. Besides the inability to maintain eye contacts, liars can sometimes show other telltale signs. In poker, liars usually instinctively touch their mouth, neck or nose because they’re trying to distract from their lie. They’ll also attempt to clear their throats and swallow hard to “reduce” the preconceived tension they’re feeling.


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They don’t behave in the same way

According to what former federal agent, J.J. Newberry told WebMD, along with inconsistent details, you can usually tell that someone is lying when they explain that they act differently than how they’re usually like. J.J adds that when he questions suspects and witness, he’ll usually compare the witness’ account of events to how someone would “naturally” act in a particular situation. Use this the next time you’re trying to figure out if someone could be hiding something from you. When someone who is usually gossipy is particularly quiet when being pressed or asked for details, they could actually be hiding something from you.


This article was first published on Singapore Women’s Weekly.