There are often tell-tale signs that someone is lying to you in person. They might avoid eye contact, cross their arms, play with their hair, or speak in sentence fragments. Catching someone out in a lie when talking to them online or via text message can often be much more challenging. However, it’s not impossible. Some of the following signs might point to dishonesty.
If you’re getting to know someone online, you’ve likely got infomania, which describes a need for factual information. You want to learn about someone before meeting them to see if they’re right for you.
Some people can be so eager to impress that they make up information about themselves and their lives. Some people even send images of things like boats and vacation homes in the hopes that they’ll impress you.
If you suspect someone isn’t telling you the truth about who they are and their lifestyle, you can perform a reverse image search. You can then see whether the photo they’ve sent you is posted elsewhere and possibly catch them in a lie.
Not getting answers to your questions can sometimes be innocent, especially if you ask multiple questions in a single message. However, someone might be lying or is generally dishonest if they actively avoid answering a question. Sometimes, they change the subject or simply stop replying altogether.
Whether you’re talking to someone in person or online, you can’t always confirm that an event they’re talking about happened how it did unless they were there. You have to take their word for it. However, if they’re discussing it with you online, it might be easy to tell that at least some of their story is fabricated. Pay attention to the tenses they use while they’re retelling the events.
When they’re talking about an event that has happened in the past, they generally use past tense. However, when they start embellishing it with made-up details, you might notice that they switch to the present tense. This is often because the materials are being developed in their head as they’re sharing their story with you.
When you’ve caught someone lying, they might try to prove you wrong by talking you through their day to tell you what they did instead of what you’re accusing them of doing. Sometimes, they can trip up by using words that point to a significant time gap.
For example, they might say they went to bed, woke up, ate breakfast, and later went out for lunch. The ‘later’ part of the message might mean that they hadn’t divulged information between when they had breakfast and when they went out for lunch.
Most people use contractions in everyday languages, such as ‘I didn’t’ instead of ‘I did not.’ Not using contractions can sometimes be a way for someone to emphasize a point and make themselves appear more trustworthy, even if they are lying.
You might never know with any certainty whether someone is lying or telling the truth when talking to them on the internet. However, if you notice any of these signs above, there’s a good chance that there is at least a small amount of deception to be aware of.