Separate Truth From Lies & Deal With Dishonesty

Separate Truth From Lies & Deal With Dishonesty

People lie a lot more often than we’d like to admit. So how can you tell when someone is lying? And what is the best way to deal with this type of behavior? Should you always trust your gut?


Whether you’re dealing with a person who is being dishonest, a situation that seems to have two very different sides to a story, or a suspicious article, here are a few tips for separating truth from lies.

Understand Why Someone May Be Lying

In some cases, the person telling a lie might feel justified in lying because they’re doing so to avoid hurt feelings. At some point, it may be prudent to allow the person to get away with the lie. Other times, the individual is lying for personal gain. This could be a salesman who is dishonest about product quality or a company promising a misrepresented product. In those cases, you’ll want to ensure that the lie is caught. 

Look for Physical Cues

If you’re speaking with a person face to face or even over the phone, you may be able to tell just by watching and listening. Signs that a person is lying can include visible nervousness, a higher-pitched voice, lack of eye contact, and fidgeting. Other signs that someone is lying can include: 

  • Vague responses offering little detail
  • Repeating the question
  • Redirecting or rephrasing questions
  • Changing details

Do Your Own Research

If you’re looking at a written piece of information such as an article, it is always prudent to do your own research to fact-check. While looking something up online is easy, it can be challenging to separate your sources and get good information. Remember to look at the source and where it comes from. For instance, if you are looking to learn more about the history of dinosaurs, a website that focuses on the Jurassic Park movies is probably not the best source of information.  


To ensure that you have the best sources, check articles from reputable sources such as research publications, universities, etc.

Listen to Both Sides

If you are trying to find the truth in a situation where there are multiple sides of the story, it is prudent to listen to various perspectives because the truth is often somewhere in the middle of the different viewpoints. Once you’ve heard all of the perspectives, it is up to you to try to figure out the truth. At that point, it is helpful to use what you already know about the situation and individuals in question. For instance, if one account comes from a person who has told lies in the past that have been confirmed to be lies, this person may be lying again. 

Look at the Big Picture

If you suspect that someone is lying, consider looking for clues. These may be physical clues like powdered sugar on the shirt of a coworker who swears that they didn’t eat your donut or inconsistent details in a story from someone you know. Knowing the individual or organization in question, looking at various perspectives, and understanding the situation and someone’s reasons to lie will all help you separate truth from lies.  

The Takeaway

We have all dealt with dishonest people at some point, many times unbeknownst to us. And while there is no real way of knowing if someone is lying unless you have proof, some actions indicate dishonesty. If you think someone is disingenuous or dishonest, it's important to look for clues and understand why they may be lying. Remember to be unbiased in your judgment, though that doesn't mean you should ignore your gut or intuition.

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