Ever wondered how to spot a liar?
Sometimes, it’s pretty easy. Liars, especially compulsive ones, have a hard time keeping track of all their lies.
So they’ll often slip up and say something they shouldn’t.
But sometimes, it’s a little harder to decipher who’s lying and who’s not.
And if you confront someone about their potential lies, it gets even worse.
Because lying is generally considered a bad thing, no one wants to be called a liar or to fess up to telling a lie.
So (if their moral compass is shaky) they’ll do what they can to get away with it.
And they’ll use very similar phrases to manipulate, deflect, and convince you that they are not a liar.
If you think you’re dealing with someone who’s lying, check out these 8 phrases that they’ll probably use on you.
1) “You don’t know what you’re talking about”
Have you ever seen those movies when an employee challenges a big boss about something heinous they’re doing – and the boss’s defense is:
“You don’t know what you’re talking about”? – as they scoff at you and look around at everyone else.
Well, that’s because the boss is a big old liar.
And because they feel threatened and accused, they try to cause doubt in other people’s minds about your integrity.
So they’ll say that you don’t know what you’re saying, as well as spouting lies about how untrustworthy you are – all so they can get away with it.
2) “As far as I can remember”
Sure, sometimes this is pretty innocent. Someone may loosely remember something, but they won’t know the full details.
So they’ll tell you what they know and say it’s “as far as they can remember”.
But other times, this phrase is used by someone who’s downright lying.
They know they’re bending or twisting the truth – but they don’t want to be held accountable for it later if you become aware that they’re wrong or are lying.
So they give you the story they want you to believe and say, “As far as I can remember, anyway” – to get themselves off the hook.
3) “You’re remembering it wrong”
Again, sometimes this one is pretty innocent.
Someone could genuinely be remembering a situation wrong – maybe because they were drunk, emotional, not paying attention fully, or some other valid reason.
But you need to be careful when someone uses this phrase on you – especially if you’re accusing them of doing something to hurt you.
Because it’s a top phrase used when someone is gaslighting you.
Which if you don’t know what that is, it means when someone tries to manipulate you into doubting or confusing yourself – so they gain something from it.
4) “You’re making this up”
This is another phrase commonly used as a gaslighting tactic.
When someone is lying and they don’t want to admit to what they’ve done, they’ll tell you you’re making things up.
They’ll refuse to believe what you’re saying and will turn the focus on you – calling you a liar instead to take the attention off them.
Why is it gaslighting? Because over time, this kind of phrase can cause the victim to doubt themselves. To question, “Have I really imagined all of this?” – even when they know, deep down, that they haven’t.
5) “What do you mean?”
Yes, yes, I know this is another very innocent phrase that can be used by someone who isn’t a liar.
But it’s also something a liar would absolutely say if the moment is right.
When someone is lying and they don’t want to admit to it, they’ll avoid answering you by asking you a question.
The best question they can ask is one that gets you to explain yourself even more.
And the more you explain, the more chance they have of tripping you up – rather than actually answering the question you have of them.
6) “That doesn’t sound like me”
According to experts, most people lie to protect themselves from punishment.
They also lie because they are ashamed of what they’ve done – and they don’t want to admit to doing it.
So, when you confront them with what they’ve done, they’ll refuse to believe it. What they’ve done isn’t something they’re proud of and it doesn’t fit the narrative of who they want to be known as.
So they’ll pin it back on you for accusing them of something so bad.
“Does that really sound like me?”, they’ll ask – maybe even in a patronizing way.
And it could be to gaslight you into believing that because they sometimes do nice things, they could never do this bad thing you’re accusing them of.
7) “I can’t remember doing that”
I can’t count the number of friends I’ve had that have been cheated on by their partners – and this phrase has been used by their cheating spouse.
When confronted with the facts, a liar will often say they “Can’t remember doing it” if they don’t know what to say and the only evidence is verbatim.
For example, if a friend saw your partner cheat on you in a club, and you confront them about it, a liar would probably say they “Couldn’t remember doing it”.
Why? Because they know there’s little conversation to be had about the matter when they say that phrase. If they can’t remember, then they can’t talk about it, defend it, or own up to it (in their eyes, anyway).
And since there’s no evidence to prove it, they can continue to lie that they don’t remember, when chances are, they do.
8) “Are you calling me a liar?”
If there’s one thing a liar hates being accused of – it’s a liar.
There’s a moral judgment about lying – and the general consensus is that it’s a bad, bad thing to do.
So if you don’t believe someone for what they’re saying, you’re basically calling them a liar. And once that person catches on to that, they’ll question it and become very, very defensive.
Because both you and they know how bad it is to lie – and it’ll make you question whether you want to put that label on this person, even if you have strong suspicions.
Which is exactly what the liar wants you to do!
People lie all the time. And anyone who’s ever said they’ve never told a lie is probably lying!
But the fact is that most lies are completely harmless. They’re told to protect others, to lift them up, or to get through something very tough.
Like telling someone their hair looks nice or how strong they are or that the situation isn’t that bad – all so they feel good and keep pushing on.
Lying can even be lifesaving when used in the right context.
But much of the time, lies are not good things to engage in.
And even people who lie don’t feel good about lying. It eats them up inside and they hate being accused of something so negative – even when it’s true.
They’ll say anything to get themselves free. And, fortunately for us, they’ll use very similar phrases each time.
So if you’ve spotted someone you know saying these things, and you already have your suspicions, they could be telling a big old lie.
And what you do next is completely up to you!