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This Is How To Tell If Someone's Lying To You

Love & Relationships

There's a guy I know who is the ultimate liar. I'm not kidding. His family knows it. His friends know it. Even people he works with know it. It's weird because he'll lie about everything from what he had for lunch to what he did on his summer vacation. It's like lying is a tick for him or something. I think the reason why no one is ever too hard on him about it—although I've heard him get called out on it before—is because his lies are perceived as being relatively harmless. He's not out here trying to hurt anybody; he just lives in an alternate reality.


I thought about him when I read a study that was published a while back on the topic of lying.

According to a University of Massachusetts psychologist by the name of Robert S. Feldman, most people who say they don't lie are, well, lying. His discoveries revealed that around 60 percent of people lie at least 2-3 times in every 10-minute plus conversation. That's kinda crazy.

Personally, I wonder if he's combining exaggerating with lying. Exaggerating is when you blow up details or stretch the truth, usually to make the truth "sound better" or more interesting. Lying is when you're out here deceiving, giving false impressions and being a totally dishonest person. I don't care for either, but if I had to choose, I'd take Column A over Column B. Lying is fraudulent. You can't really rely on anyone who's a liar.

But if Dr. Feldman is right, this means that all of us are out here we're being hoodwinked dozens of times a day. That sucks. The good news is there are some proven ways to tell if someone is lying to you. Ready?

They Take Long Pauses

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Unless someone's memory is really bad, there's no need to pause to remember what the truth is. You know what this means—liars have a tendency to take time to create a story in their head before speaking it out loud. Usually, whenever this happens, they are either looking away (as to avoid eye contact), stuttering their words or using "filler words" in order to buy time until they figure something out.

Something else that someone who's lying might do is answer a question with a question in order to buy time. Like while you're asking your man who so-and-so is in his phone, he may flip it and ask you who so-and-so is who posted a particular comment on your Instagram. It's not so much that he cares, it's so while you're talking, he can be thinking of what to say next.

Truth? It doesn't require time to put together a presentation strategy. Lying? Unless you're dealing with someone pathological or a total sociopath, it needs time to come up with something at least halfway decent or believable.

Their Voice Switches Up

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I've got a girlfriend, who, whenever she's up to no good that she doesn't want anyone to know about and she's questioned about it, her voice goes up at least an octave. That's what tends to happen whenever someone is anxious, nervous or scared. Not only that but sometimes people switch up their voice as a way to distract you during the conversation. If their voice is super different or even off-putting, they're hoping that you'll find yourself wondering just as much, if not more, about their voice as the (potential) lie itself.

They Hide a Part of Their Face

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According to an article that featured former CIA officers, a telling sign that someone is lying is if they hide a part of their face; especially their eyes or their mouth. The logic is there is some level of shame (whether consciously or subconsciously) when someone isn't telling the truth, so it's a natural reaction to want to hide when they do it. Plus, there's the whole "our eyes are the window to the soul" thing.

Hmm…liars like to cover up their eyes. I wonder if celebs have ever been told that. Maybe a lot less of them would wear sunglasses during interviews if they knew that it sends a pretty shady message.

They Give More Details than Necessary

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Thou doth protest too much. That's what I think about whenever I ask someone something and either they start rambling a mile a minute or they give all kinds of details that aren't really required. You know, like if you ask your boyfriend, "So, I called you last night. Where were you?" and he starts talking about the Arby's he went to (including the side of town), what he ordered, how long he was in line and all of the stuff he did once he got home. Then he gets into what happened to his phone and the charger, all the while talking so fast that you're wondering if he took a single breath in between it all.

Some people are natural storytellers (and not in the lying or even exaggerating kind of way); they live for TMI and are definitely not the exception to all of this. But if you're talking to someone who is usually straight and to the point, but, all of a sudden, they've got a billion-and-one words to share—or more importantly, if they repeat the details, things seem to switch up—while it's not 100 percent true that they are lying, if they are doing this along with some of these other points, I wouldn't sleep on it. Not at all.

They Get Defensive

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I haven't had sex in over 12 years. That doesn't mean I haven't heard rumors about myself, though. A couple of years ago, I even heard that I was pregnant. Yeah, whatever. I know the truth and it's so true that I don't see the need to defend it or chase contrary rumors down.

Oh, but a few weeks ago, I ran into someone who constantly lies about her sex life (I know this because she never keeps her stories straight and almost always backtracks and admits she wasn't telling the truth…eventually). And she went on and on about how she hasn't had sex in years (although the time prior to last that I saw her, she told me that she had some rebound sex with a dude) and I simply and calmly said, "I don't believe you because that's not what you said last time", she literally started yelling in the parking lot. Not really at me, but…it was like she thought that if she spoke loudly enough, it would drown out the other stories she had told me—or somehow I would forget. Yeah, liars have a real habit of getting super defensive.

While I'm on this point, some folks think that cussers are angry or defensive individuals. But actually, word on the street is that folks who use four-letter words tend to be more honest and forthcoming than those who don't. Believe it or not, people who cuss tend to be more effective in their communication and typically have higher levels of integrity too. Damn, that's fascinating.

They Seem Fidget—A LOT

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Moving around in their seat a lot. Playing around with their hands. Having jumpy legs and shifty eyes. Although you can't see any of this on the phone or online, if you're in the presence of someone who is lying to you, again, unless they are a complete sociopath (and those do exist), it is typically difficult for someone to lie and not feel uncomfortable while they're doing it. In fact, I once read that lying goes so against the grain of how our body flows that it even puts our organs into distress.

So yeah, if you're having a conversation with someone or you ask an individual a question and they seem antsy, there's a pretty good chance that they are lying to you. Because if they were telling the truth, unless they just killed someone or cheated on you (in those cases, fidgeting makes sense), what are the jitters and anxiety all about? My sentiments exactly.

Featured image by Getty Images

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Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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