How to spot a lie in a text message

Even while many people can spot a liar from their body language, it’s more harder to do so when a pair is texting each other. Expert explains why compliments aren’t always a good thing and the nine warning signs to watch out for in a message.

Therefore, Australian dating specialist Louanne Ward has compiled a list of the top nine indicators to watch out for, which can assist in identifying some of the most prevalent red flags of an untruthful text.

‘Spotting a liar is a lot easier when you are face to face because you can pick up their body language cues,’ she said.

‘One of the best tools you have is your gut feeling and intuition but whenever you are looking for a lie in a text message add these all together and see how many times they appear.’

‘These are answers like “I am not quite sure”, “it was probably”, “it might have been”, “maybe” and “sometime around”,’ Louanne said.

‘If you asked someone “How is your day, do you want to catch up?” someone who is lying might say something like “I have a busy day ahead, not sure what time I will finish up I will probably just have an early night”.’

Changing the subject and creating a diversion

‘By creating a diversion, they are moving away from the lie they have just told.’

What is an example of how a diversion is used to cover a lie?

When somebody creates a diversion, they answer the question but they want to project somewhere else so they don’t have to deal with that subject anymore.

Question: ‘What did you get up to last night?’

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Answer: ‘Not much I just caught up with some friends for a few drinks – do you remember the name of the book that Sally was telling us about last week over dinner?’

Taking a long time to answer a short question

‘You can see when somebody is replying, you can see the bubbles, so if you see if somebody is taking a long time it might be that they are distracted half way through but it could be that they are telling you a lie,’ Louanne said.

‘These are things like I “my”, “we” and “our”. They remove them because they don’t want to personalise the message too much,’ Louanne said.

What is an example of a text message avoiding personal pronouns?

Someone who is innocent: ‘I ended up having dinner with Tony. After we saw our last client, we finished up quite late and then we went and had a game of pool.’

Somebody who is likely dodging the truth: ‘Had dinner with Tony and then a game of pool.’

Abruptly leaving the conversation after a question is asked

‘If they do that and don’t answer the question, when they message next time that question will usually be avoided,’ Louanne said.

Using compliments and empathy

‘A liar might say something like “I’m not sure what time I am finishing up. My last client is a real talker but much rather be spending my day with you as you always make me happy”,’ Louanne said.

‘Don’t jump to conclusions but if it seems vague be wary.’

Over-sharing of details that are not relevant

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‘They do this to throw you off track,’ Louanne said.

‘A lie will sound something like this: “Tony and I decided to go for dinner and we were quite hungry so we found this place that had a $15 parmigiana. The parmigiana was good but they were really busy and it took a long time”.’

Over-sharing of information to make the story sound more believable

‘It is quite similar to the previous point but this time the answer is more relevant to the question asked,’ Louanne said.

‘When somebody over exaggerates and it’s a very short question that you ask and they are telling a really long story sometimes it is to cover up a lie.’

What is an example of over-sharing to make a story believable?

Question: ‘What did you do last night?’

Answer: ‘Tony and I were quite hungry after we finished with our last client so we decided to find somewhere to eat and we stumbled across this place that had these $15 parmigianas which were really great and after that I was so full so I wanted to burn off some of the calories so we decided to go for a game of pool. Tony isn’t very good at pool so I had a win and we had a few beers, it was a good night actually.’

Being defensive and using qualifying words

‘Qualifying statements include “if you must know”, “to be honest with you”, “it was actually” and “all I am saying is”,’ Louanne said.

‘When somebody has to qualify their words that’s something to look out for.’

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