How to Spot a Liar

Patti was interviewed on HLN about how to tell when someone is lying.  Watch the HLN interview at the link below and check out Patti's 6 tips below!

So, you’ve got a funny feeling about the guy or gal you’re dating. Or you don’t think your boss is leveling with you.

How can you tell if they are lying? Here are some tips from body language expert Patti Wood.
  1. Trust your gut: You may know they are lying to you before you are even aware of it. Encountering a lie can provoke a stress response in most of us – the old flight or fight feeling. If something doesn’t quite sound right, and you feel as though they aren’t being straight with you, you may be right.   
  2. Interrupt the story: A practiced liar will have their story down pat. They’ll have the details down, in order of what happened. But you can trip them up by interrupting, or asking questions in reverse order of how events happened. If you can throw them off, they may stumble over their story, and you can confirm they aren’t being honest. 
  3. Pay attention to body language: If you know how someone normally acts, and they are acting differently, that may be a sign that he or she is lying. Say you have a friend who is naturally fidgety. If they are moving around a lot like they normally do, it may not be a sign they are lying. But the person who usually sits there quietly, still as a statue, and then can’t seem to sit still… that could be an indication of deceit. 
  4. Oddball reaction: If you ask a question and someone gets angry, or annoyed, or hysterical, in a way that doesn’t fit your conversation… you may have stumbled onto a lie. People can act out to distract us from their deceit. Anger is always a useful device. A liar can turn on the fury, unload on you, and shame you into not asking the kinds of questions that might expose their lie. Watch for a reaction that seems totally out of proportion to your question. That may be a clue. 
  5. Unusual language: Is someone talking to you in a stilted way, avoiding contractions, saying “I did not…” instead of “I didn’t.” Any kind of odd sentence could be a hint that someone is lying. For example, someone telling the truth won’t say over and over again “I did not do _____.” They will say “I didn’t do it” and leave it at that. 
  6. Reassuring touches: When we are nervous, our nerve endings can start firing, and we can start to touch facial features that we might ordinarily leave alone. Such as our nose, the top of our lip, and the edge of the ear. Again, this clue depends on timing and knowing how the person behaves normally. If they never touch their nose, then suddenly can’t seem to stop touching it, that could be a sign they are lying.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at