We’re all looking for a trustworthy partner who won’t lie or cheat.
But how can you tell when a man is being genuine and straight up with you?
Luckily there are a few telltale signs a guy is being honest with you. Read on to find out what they are.
How can I tell if he’s being honest?
1) His body language
My mom would always say that some guys just look a bit shifty. And I know what she means.
Our body language gives a lot away about us. So, if he’s lying, his body will likely give it away too.
Be observant about things like the way he stands, whether he is fidgeting, and even things like the tone of his voice.
If someone seems shifty, watch their body language closely. Pay attention to:
- How they hold themselves and their posture
- What they do with their hands — one study found that liars are more likely to over gesture with both hands than people telling the truth.
- A change in their complexion, like getting flushed, sweating or going red.
- Touching his nose, which is also apparently also a sign of deception.
It comes down to trying to “read” him, and anything that seems out of the ordinary.
On the other hand, if he is being honest his body will be more relaxed. You can expect open body language like:
- Leaning in slightly towards you
- Turning his body to face you
- Calm breathing and a steady tone of voice
2) His actions and words match up
This is one of the easiest ways to tell if a guy is being honest with you. But sadly, it can take some time for you to tell.
Does he do what he says he’s going to?
Does he follow through on plans and promises he makes?
Is he consistent?
Does he feel reliable?
When he says he’s going to do something, do you believe and trust that he will?
If so, then you should have very good reasons to believe he’s being honest with you.
Words are cheap (another one of my mom’s pearls of wisdom). It takes much more to follow up with committed actions.
That’s why this is the best judge of someone’s intentions, sincerity, and commitment to you.
You can fake words, but action is much harder to BS someone over.
If his actions don’t always match his word, then it could mean he’s lying to you. Either way, it’s a red flag.
3) He gives you the right amount of eye contact
Eye contact is an important part of human communication, and can give the game away if someone isn’t being sincere with us.
That goes for if he doesn’t make enough eye contact and if he makes too much. As both can be signs that he might be hiding something.
In 2015, researchers at UCLA found that liars tend to avert their gaze while telling lies, briefly looking away. Rather interestingly though, they also noted that liars are more likely to stare than people who are telling the truth.
It’s almost as though they are trying to cover their tracks and appear sincere by looking you straight in the eye, but they do it for too long. And so it shows the opposite, that in fact, they have something to hide.
If he’s being honest he won’t be staring so intently at you, but neither will he try to avoid your gaze.
4) He doesn’t dodge the question
Ask him a straight question and he’ll give you a straight answer. That is a good sign of a guy being honest.
He knows his response fairly quickly because it’s the truth. So he doesn’t need to stall for time to think of excuses or lies.
He’s not dancing around the topic and trying to avoid giving you an answer.
He isn’t going around in circles so that by the time he’s finished you feel totally confused about what he’s even trying to say.
He’s not changing the subject to try and get out of answering.
He’s not trying to shift the focus elsewhere or twisting it around to try and make it about you or someone else.
In short: Ask him something, and he’ll answer you with clarity.
5) Your gut tells you
Our sixth sense is nothing to be sniffed at.
Call it intuition or gut feeling, but it often signals to us when something feels “right” and when something feels “wrong”.
You shouldn’t ignore it, as it knows what it’s talking about. Far from being just a hunch, it’s actually your subconscious feeding you clues.
From the vast storehouse of your experiences and knowledge, it picks up on things your conscious brain isn’t always aware of.
So alarm bells start ringing when one of these subtle cues doesn’t feel right.
6) He is transparent with you
He doesn’t try to hide things from you.
Those things might include:
- Details about where he is
- Details about who he is with
- Details about his plans
- Details about his past
It’s also really practical things like not being super secretive with his phone or his social media.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re all entitled to our privacy. It doesn’t mean you get to demand to go through his things or know every tiny detail about his life, or he must have something to hide.
But if he keeps his tech and his personal life under strict lock and key, it seems a bit suspicious.
I once saw a meme that read:
“I want a guy who keeps his phone up on the table”
Can I get an Amen to that.
In fact, if you were going to sum it up in a sentence, maybe you could say that a guy who keeps his phone up on the table is the epitome of a guy who is being honest with you.
7) He is willing to talk about the bad as well as the good
Honesty from a guy is about more than not lying to you or cheating. It’s about whether they can talk about things with you…
The good, the bad and the ugly.
If a guy only ever tells you what you want to hear, you might start to question how honest he is really being.
Compliments can be easy to dish out, but those trickier conversations that involve things that you might not see eye to eye on are far harder.
So if a guy is willing to discuss the tough stuff too, then you can trust that he will be open to talking about anything.
It’s that way that you’ll learn more about him, and he’ll learn more about you. And that’s ultimately what matters most.
You’re not always going to agree, and a guy that avoids confrontation at all cost isn’t the best.
The truth isn’t always pretty, but it’s usually essential in relationships.
If a guy will only be honest about the good stuff but avoids being honest about challenges, he’s ultimately still trying to hide things from you.
Despite potentially positive intentions for doing so, that can come back and bite you both in the ass at a later date.
8) He uses truthful language
You’ll not only pick up a vibe when a guy is speaking that will tell you if he’s being honest. You should also pay attention to the exact words he uses for more clues.
You might be surprised to hear there are certain words we tend to use that point to deceit.
If he is being honest, he’ll get to his point quickly without particularly stumbling over his words.
On the other hand, research found that so-called filler words like:
“er, um, like, ah” can be a pointer towards lying. Why? Because you are trying to buy time to think.
They usually come out of our mouths when we’re stuck for something to say.
Also, look out for the good old “Freudian slip“. That’s when someone says one thing but they meant to say another.
For example, when someone calls you by the wrong name. It can point to what (or who) is really on their mind.
9) He is specific rather than vague, but he doesn’t overly explain
The truth is easy to be specific about, lies are usually vaguer.
That’s why you should watch out for men who are a little bit too scarce with the specifics. It can point to them hiding something.
But just like the eye contact sign a guy is being honest from earlier in the article, they can also go overboard with the details.
A guy who wants to keep things simple will often avoid using long-winded phrases. They don’t need to overly explain themselves to you.
This means he is probably being straightforward. He knows he is telling you the truth, so he isn’t trying to convince you.
But if he starts feeding you needless minute details about something, it could be he isn’t being honest. Instead, he is feeding you the story he has carefully already curated to cover his tracks.
10) He opens up about his thoughts and feelings
It’s not always easy for any of us to be an open book. It can feel very vulnerable to tell someone how we feel and what we think.
If a guy expresses himself and reveals personal stuff, you are probably going to get the impression he is honest.
This builds trust and respect between you.
Similarly, when a guy shows interest in your life, your thoughts, ideas and emotions, it’s a good indication he is being sincere, simply because it’s a good indication he cares enough to get to know you on a deeper level.
You two talking about your thoughts and feelings, is a good sign he is being honest.
How to encourage a guy to be honest: 3 quick tips
1) Lead by example
You can’t control whether a guy is straightforward with you. But you can always control whether you are with him.
Set the tone by always being honest with him, even when it feels difficult.
Both of you are responsible for creating the right trusting environment. If you show him that you value and expect honesty, he is more likely to do the same.
2) Be open to hearing the truth
Often we say we want honesty, but sometimes we don’t like the truth and so we react badly to hearing it.
When a guy tells you something you find hard to hear or disagree with, try to maintain your composure and respond fairly.
Don’t overreact or become angry. Instead, try to remain calm and rational. Try to understand where he is coming from before reacting.
At the same time, don’t be afraid to have sincere reactions to what he says to you. You don’t have to pretend to be ok with something if you’re sad or unhappy with it.
But remember, if a man thinks that telling the truth is only going to cause him trouble, he’ll be less inclined to do so.
3) Set clear boundaries about honesty
Tell him what you want and need, and what are your deal breakers around communication and honesty.
Make sure he knows that.
It’s not about “laying down the law” it’s more about making your club rules clear.If he wants to be in your club (and why wouldn’t he) he has to abide by the rules.
If he doesn’t there need to be consequences. If a guy gets away with shitty behavior, lying and cheating, then he’s more likely to do it again.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.
Take the free quiz here to be matched with the perfect coach for you.
Click the above link to get $50 off your first session – an exclusive offer for Hack Spirit readers.