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liars

How to tell if someone is lying.

Imagine being able to reliably detect when someone is lying. You could catch your kids in a fib or quickly find out when a used car salesman is trying to pull one over on you. If people could be 100% perfect in determining the truth, it would make the legal system so much easier for everyone involved.

In an interview with Steven Bartlett on his “Dairy of a CEO” podcast, former Secret Service Special Agent Evy Poumpouras shared how she can tell when someone is being dishonest.

Poumpouras is the author of “Becoming Bulletproof: Protect Yourself, Read People, Influence Situations, Live Fearlessly.” She also served in the Presidential Protective Division, working for Barack Obama, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.


In this TikTok video with over 350,000 views, Poumpouras shares some signs someone is lying and how it’s possible to detect lies.

I asked Former U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Evy Poumpouras how to tell if someone is lying… 

@steven

I asked Former U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Evy Poumpouras how to tell if someone is lying… #p#podcastp#podcastclipss#stevenbartlettd#diaryofaceos#specialagents#secretservices#securityevypoumpouras #lying #liar

What are signs someone is lying?

Poumpouras believes the key is to talk to someone for a while to get a “baseline” on their behavior. She used the podcast’s host, Steven Bartlett, as an example. “So if I sit and I speak to someone and the whole time they're speaking, like when you talk, Steven, your hands are usually here. You go on the iPad, you do this. That's your baseline, right? You do a lock, eye contact,” Poumpouras said.

Once she has established a baseline of behavior, she can tell when someone is being deceptive if it suddenly changes.

“This whole time I'm talking to Steven, he's locked in with me. He's got a certain posture. I asked him this question. He just showed me something different,” she said. “And then now I know to be curious… when you're done asking or answering my question, I come in with good follow-up questions. Cause you're showing me something is happening here.”

Once Poumpouras sees a dramatic shift in the subject's body language, she begins to ask some follow-up questions. The key is to be measured and not too pushy during the interrogation. “You don't want to be nosy, but you want to be curious,” she adds.

Poumpouras says you should always trust your gut when you think someone may be lying. “You can figure out who's full of B.S. and who isn't one,” she continued. “You feel it. I think your intuition is a huge thing and we dismiss it.”

On her website, Poumpouras adds another dead giveaway that someone isn’t being honest: if they take a longer time than usual to answer a question. She says that this is part of an F3 response, short for flight-fight-freeze. When some people are placed in situations where they are experiencing high anxiety or sense danger, their response is to freeze and become incommunicative.

“Long pauses or silence after being asked a direct question can be a huge indication of deception,” she wrote. “When the liar doesn’t see the question coming, their F3 kicks in, causing them to freeze as they frantically try to think of what to say or what lie to spin.”