If you recognize these 8 behaviors, you’re dealing with a deceitful person

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Have you ever walked away from a conversation with the nagging feeling that something just wasn’t right?

Trusting your gut is important because, let’s face it, some people are masters of deceit.

Deceitful people have certain characteristics that, if you know what to look for, can give them away.

As someone who’s been around the block a few times, I’ve picked up on some key behaviors that scream ‘deceitful’.

I’m about to share 8 of these with you, so you can spot the red flags early and protect yourself.

1) Their behavior isn’t consistent

Ever chatted with someone whose stories just don’t line up?

You’re not alone.

One of the clearest signs you’re dealing with a deceitful person is inconsistency.

What I mean here is that they’ll tell you one thing today, and by tomorrow, the story has twisted—sometimes so subtly that you question your own memory.

Here’s the kicker: they rely on your doubt.

They weave their tales so skillfully that the inconsistencies might seem trivial, but they’re not.

Trust me, it’s a classic trick, a deliberate attempt to keep you off-balance.

That’s why you should pay attention to the details.

A deceitful person might change the time of an event, swap characters around, or alter the sequence of what happened.

It’s like they’re testing to see if you’re paying attention, and if you’re not, they’ve got you right where they want you.

2) Their stories often change

I once had a friend who was a bit of a smooth talker.

He was charming and engaging, but I noticed something peculiar about his stories – they tended to change.

One day he’d tell me about his grand adventure backpacking through Europe, trekking from Spain all the way to Italy.

But a few weeks later, the same story morphed into a romantic escapade in Paris with no mention of the epic trek.

Well, at first, I thought I was remembering things, but then it happened again and again. The details of his tales would shift, sometimes subtly, sometimes significantly.

This made me realize one thing:

Inconsistencies in their stories can be a telltale sign of a deceitful person.

They often bend the truth to suit their narrative or to impress others.

Therefore, whenever someone’s stories frequently change or don’t quite add up, it might be time to question their honesty.

3) They share too many details

Okay, one thing is changing the plot of their stories. But sometimes deceitful people can trick you even with an overload of details.

It’s a less obvious, yet equally telling sign.

These people often bombard you with an excessive amount of information — details that seem irrelevant or overly specific.

Believe it or not, it’s a tactic designed to overwhelm and distract you from the truth.

Let’s be honest: when someone shares a story, you expect a certain level of detail to paint the full picture, right?

However, there’s a fine line between a well-told story and one that’s drowning in details.

Deceitful individuals often fall into the latter category, believing that by overloading their tale with specifics, it becomes more convincing.

But here’s where it gets telling:

Liars tend to include unnecessary details in their stories as a way to make them seem more believable.

They’ll mention the color of the car, the pattern on the wallpaper, or the exact time down to the minute—all in an effort to distract you from the lie itself.

It’s an odd paradox: while truth-tellers provide just enough information to be understood, liars often go above and beyond to construct a believable fantasy.

4) They avoid direct answers

How many times have you asked someone a straightforward question and received anything but a straightforward answer?

It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

Deceitful people are often experts at dancing around the truth. They’ll offer responses that seem to address your question without actually providing any real information.

This evasion is a classic hallmark of deceit.

Instead of giving a clear yes or no, they might respond with a story, change the subject, or answer a question with another question.

Let me share my example:

I remember once asking a colleague if he had completed a project we were working on together.

Instead of a simple yes or no, he launched into a long-winded explanation about how busy he had been, the various issues he had encountered, and so on.

I realized later that the project hadn’t even started — he had skillfully sidestepped the truth.

The thing is that deceitful people often fear that the truth might expose them or put them in an unfavorable light.

In order to avoid this, they use a simple, yet effective strategy: leaving you with more questions than answers.

5) They exploit others’ trust

One of the hardest truths to accept about deceitful people is their willingness to exploit trust.

It’s a heartbreaking realization, especially when it involves someone you deeply care about.

These individuals don’t hesitate to use others’ faith in them for their own gain.

It could be in the form of emotional manipulation, financial deception, or taking advantage of one’s kindness.

The most painful part?

They often target those who are closest to them – friends, family, and loved ones.

Perhaps not surprisingly, such exploitation goes beyond mere deceit — it breaches the sacred bond of trust, leaving deep emotional scars.

These people can skillfully mask their exploitative intentions under the guise of needing help or facing a crisis.

It’s a calculated move, playing on the sympathies and good nature of those around them. 

6) Their body language is contradictory

Let me share something interesting with you:

Non-verbal cues often tell more than words do.

In fact, about 55% of our communication is non-verbal, while only 38% is vocal and 7% involves words.

From my perspective, that’s a fact you should consider when dealing with deceitful people.

The truth is that their body language can be a giveaway, even as they try to charm you with their words.

And you know what?

This contradiction between what they say and how they physically express themselves is a key indicator of deceit.

For instance, they might be telling you a story with a smile, but their eyes are not matching the emotion, or their hands are nervously fidgeting.

Perhaps they maintain too little eye contact or overly rigid body posture, suggesting they’re not as relaxed or confident as they’re trying to appear.

In either case, these small, often subconscious, signals can reveal their true feelings or intentions.

7) Their volume or tone suddenly chances

It’s a subtle thing, really, but when you’re tuned into the conversation, you can feel it.

Someone’s voice can be a revealing window into their emotions, especially when what they’re saying doesn’t quite align with how they’re saying it.

I’ve noticed that when people are trying to deceive, their voices might suddenly get louder, as if they’re trying to assert a point more forcefully to compensate for the lie.

Or it might drop to a whisper, betraying a lack of confidence in their own words.

These shifts can lead to a mix of emotions:

  • Sadness for the lack of honesty
  • Frustration at the betrayal
  • Sometimes even compassion for whatever led them to this point.

In these moments, it’s not just the words that matter but the way they are delivered.

A sudden change in pitch or volume can be a subconscious attempt to mask the truth or manipulate the listener’s perception.

As observers, staying attentive to these vocal fluctuations can provide clues to the speaker’s sincerity.

8) They oversell the truth

When someone goes out of their way to promise you the moon without any prompt, it can feel a bit off.

  • “Believe me,” they say with an intensity that seems to push the boundaries of normal assurance.
  • “You can trust me,” they emphasize, even when trust hasn’t been questioned.

Sounds familiar?

Well, it’s as if they’re trying to sell you on their reliability, but the very effort raises doubts.

Not surprisingly, this overcompensation is a red flag.

It’s like they know their words or actions don’t quite hold water, so they throw in these verbal guarantees to tip the scales in their favor.

A truly honest person doesn’t need to convince you of their honesty. It’s self-evident in their actions and consistency.

Bottom line: It’s a matter of trust

Understanding deceitful behaviors is more than just a lesson in human nature. It’s about protecting ourselves from emotional harm and manipulation.

The truth is, we’re all likely to encounter deceitful people at some point in our lives. They could be a coworker, a friend, or even a family member.

It’s an unfortunate reality, but one we need to be prepared for.

However, this awareness doesn’t mean we should become cynical or mistrustful of everyone we meet. 

You just need to learn to differentiate between genuine intentions and manipulative tactics.

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.

 

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

7 things emotionally immature people always waste their energy on

If someone asks these 9 questions, they probably lack emotional intelligence