Watercooler Work Relationships

8 Ways to Spot the Office Liar

Written by Kate Lopaze

Let’s face it: one of the most useful skills you can develop in your career is knowing when someone is lying to you. Being your own personal polygraph may not be a hard skill you can list on your résumé, but it can help you navigate the sometimes shark-infested waters of the workplace.

Here are some ways you can tell if someone is lying to you.

1. They talk too much.

They overcompensate by giving too many details, like they’re trying to shovel information on top of information.

2. There’s a long pause before answering.

“Please hold while I come up with a story/explanation/diversion!”

3. They hide their mouth or eyes.

The person is literally trying to cover up what they’re communicating, consciously or not.

4. They try to justify stretching things.

“What is truth, really?”

5. They fidget with hair, clothes, glasses—anything to shift focus.

6. Their breathing changes.

When people are being dishonest, their breathing often gets faster and more shallow, due to stress and increased heart rate.

7. They repeat words and phrases a lot.

It could be either a stalling technique, or an attempt to reinforce what they’re saying by drilling it into you.

8. They stand a little too still.

If the person isn’t moving casually, a tense stance could indicate that the person is steeling for a confrontation.

Now that you know how to figure out if people may be less-than-honest with you, go forth and spot the lying liars.

About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.