Some people are like an open book and can’t hide anything from you. Others are a bit more crafty and know how to hide things from others.
But even they have some telltale signs. Red flags that indicate they’re trying to hide something from you. Something big!
So, what are these signs and behaviors? Let’s find out!
1) Avoiding face-to-face conversations
Looking someone in the eyes can be terrifying when you’re holding a big secret. Every interaction can lead you to spill the beans.
That’s why avoiding eye contact is important when keeping a secret. When a person is doing it, it suggests they aren’t comfortable with the conversation.
This often originates from a subconscious feeling that making eye contact might reveal their true emotions or intentions.
When someone is hiding something, they fear their eyes will betray them.
Choosing messages or emails over face-to-face interactions gives them more narrative control.
Most importantly, it prevents you from seeing their facial expressions and body language, which, as we know, can reveal deception.
Frequent cancellations of plans or avoiding commitments buy them time and space to conceal whatever they’re hiding.
It creates much-needed distance between them and you, who might discover their secrets.
2) Avoiding specifics
The best thing to do when trying to keep a secret is to give out as little information as possible and avoid specific details (as we’ll learn a bit later).
Offering vague or non-specific answers simply allows them to maintain a level of ambiguity that can be a shield against revealing too much information or exposing the truth.
For example, when you ask them, “What did you buy in the store?” they answer with, “Just some groceries and a few other things.”
Keep in mind that a big secret doesn’t have to be something negative. I mean, that’s the first thing that crosses our minds (they’re cheating, breaking up…).
But who’s to say that it isn’t something extremely positive?
3) Overly elaborate alibis
When I’m hiding a surprise from someone, I typically make up or secure an elaborate alibi. But, more often than not, people see through the ruse.
My alibis were always too complicated and, ultimately, not believable enough. They should have been the opposite – simple and easy to follow.
You see, when someone goes to great lengths to provide an alibi or explanation for their actions that seems overly elaborate, it could be a sign they’re trying too hard to cover something up.
As is the following:
4) Excessive joking or humor
Who doesn’t like a good joke, right?
But humor is another tool to deflect attention away from uncomfortable topics. People regularly use jokes as a way to change the subject or make light of something they’d rather not discuss seriously.
When someone who isn’t known for jokes suddenly starts cracking them, you know something’s up.
Some people get weird when they have something huge on their shoulders. They almost want to tell the secret because it’s just too much of a burden for them.
5) Sudden silence
The polar opposite of joking is sudden silence. Going silent can be a defense mechanism when someone doesn’t want to disclose sensitive information.
Silence provides them with a moment to collect their thoughts and decide how to proceed without revealing too much.
Again, when someone isn’t that silent, usually, it’s a good sign that something isn’t right with them.
And in some cases, they’re keeping secrets from you.
6) Being overly defensive
People can become defensive for many reasons. One of them is keeping a secret.
It’s a natural response to perceived threats or accusations. They feel that admitting to what they’re hiding would damage their reputation or relationships.
That’s if the secret is negative.
There are other defensive tactics. For example, shifting blame or questioning your credibility is an attempt to flip the script.
Shifting blame onto others is a way to redirect scrutiny away from themselves. By making someone else the focus of attention, they hope to avoid responsibility for their actions or secrets.
By putting you on the defensive, they’re trying to deflect attention away from their own actions or secrets.
7) Inconsistent stories
Another sign of deception is providing inconsistent or changing stories. This shows that they’re struggling to keep their lies coherent over time.
That’s why detectives interrogate people over several or even a dozen hours. They want to make sure that the suspect keeps their story straight (or doesn’t).
When they’re tired and even hungry, that’s when slip-ups happen.
Of course, there are other, not-so-good reasons why they do this, but that’s a story for another day.
As I already mentioned when I was talking about alibis, keeping it simple is paramount for keeping secrets.
The more detailed and intricate the story is, the harder it is to keep up with it.
8) Unusual nervousness
Even while I’m writing this article about keeping secrets, my palms are getting sweaty, and I’m overall quite nervous.
Excessive nervousness is a physiological response to stress and anxiety. If someone is hiding something, the fear of being discovered can result in heightened anxiety.
This leads to physical manifestations like fidgeting, sweating, or a racing heart.
These are incredibly easy to spot when you know about them. You don’t need a polygraph to know whether a regular person is lying or not. They reveal themselves sooner or later.
Overexplaining is an attempt to appear forthcoming, but it often results in providing excessive, intricate details that can confuse the listener.
This tactic aims to create a façade of transparency while obscuring the truth.
This is easy to spot if the person keeping a secret from you isn’t typically using many details while explaining things or telling stories.
They quickly dig a hole for themselves because they overcomplicate things and add too many details.
That makes it easy for you to pick them apart if you already have doubts.
10) Excessive gift-giving or apologizing
Whenever I buy flowers for my wife, she straightaway asks me, “What did you do?”
Overcompensating with gifts, apologies, or acts of kindness might be yet another attempt to divert attention from something they’re hiding or to earn forgiveness without addressing the issue directly.
They might even do it proactively because they feel like you’ll find out the secret sooner or later, and they want you to see them in a good light before that happens.
11) Inconsistent emotions
People deal with stress and anxiety in different ways. A well-known example is laughing at a funeral.
Inconsistent emotions, like laughing during a serious conversation, can be a way to mask true feelings or intentions.
So when someone does this while talking to you, they might be attempting to create a diversion and avoid revealing their true emotions.
12) Excessive privacy concerns
When someone hides more serious secrets from you, they might also become overly concerned about privacy.
If you notice them insisting on locking doors, using encrypted messaging apps, or taking precautions to prevent you from accessing their personal space or devices, that should raise a red flag.
Another great example is if they take extra precautions to hide or secure their smartphones or laptops to prevent you from accessing them.
13) Overly calm demeanor or excessive aggression
And lastly, some people with big secrets might be too calm or excessively aggressive.
Uncharacteristic aggression, hostility, or irritability can all be a way to deter you from digging deeper into their secrets by making you uncomfortable or fearful of confrontation.
On the other side, if you notice they’re calm and composed when they should be anything but, you know, something’s up, too.
Big secrets are hard to keep for most people. It doesn’t matter whether they’re positive or negative.
People keeping them would like more than anything for you to discover the secret they hold as soon as possible so this burden isn’t on them anymore.
For that reason, they display many subconscious signs that are relatively easy to spot, especially if you know what you’re looking for.