How To Tell If Someone Is Lying Over Text (15 Ways To Tell)

Last updated on July 4, 2022 by April Maccario

The text form of communicating has made staying in touch way easier than before but, it has equally made it more difficult to tell if someone is telling the truth. Communication has become so easy that people prefer you text or chat with them rather than call them.

However, is the convenience of texting worth the possibility that people are lying to you over text? Maybe yes but, it hurts when people you trust lie to you only for you to realize it later. 

How then can you make sure people aren’t treating you like a fool by repeatedly lying to you via text message? How can you be certain you’re not just unnecessarily acting paranoid in most situations? How can you catch a liar without the benefits of seeing their facial expressions while they speak? 

While you may not always directly catch people in their lies, you can call them out on their bad behavior or stay away from them if they refuse to stop lying. The signs in this article will help you spot a liar and the red flag that trails them.

15 Ways To Tell He’s Lying Over Text

1. When they play dumb

A person may be lying when they pretend to misunderstand your questions or the ongoing conversation. The both of you have had the conversation before in person, via calls, or even through text but because they want to lie. They’ll pretend they have little or no idea of what you’re talking about. 

If you ask something like “what about the headset you promised to bring for me from your trip?” and the person replies with “huh?” but doesn’t say anything again on the issue, it is a lying tactic to not get you the headset.

2. When they stall before giving you a response

The stalling tactic is an old trick cunning people use. They are not completely playing dumb but they aren’t giving you a good answer either. Someone who stalls will take you around the block with roundabout answers and quips that will leave you tired. This tactic is more or less like the person putting words in your mouth without you knowing that’s what they are doing. 

To tell if someone is using the stall tactic to lie to you, ask them ‘Yes or No’ questions so they don’t have the chance to cook up lies for you.

3. When they give you evasive answers

A liar won’t always tell a bald-faced lie. Sometimes, they’ll give you half-truths so it won’t be easy for you to later tell that they lied to you. Also, if someone is lying to you, they will create a third answer even if you ask them a ‘yes or no’ question. 

Meaning, they’ll use the ‘maybe’ option (which you weren’t expecting) more than the yes or no options. They could give you a full-sentence answer that won’t still give you the answer you need. 

For instance, you ask the person, “can I borrow your car this weekend?” and they say, “Uhm, I might need it, but I’ll let you know Friday night". Of course, Friday night comes but you don’t hear anything from them about it. 

4. When they reply to you with questions

This sign is a common indicator that's easy to spot if you’re talking to this person face-to-face. You ask someone a straightforward question and they reply to you with another question. It is a bit harder to tell if a person is genuinely unclear about the simple question you asked if the conversation is going on through text messages. 

You ask, “when did you get in last night?”, they might ask, “you mean from work or grocery shopping?”. You would be slightly confused or angry that they didn’t answer your question, especially if they are aware you know their schedule. The person is trying to lie to you.

5. Going on the defensive

This happens to be the winning red flag of all lying tricks. You’re asking the person why he acted the way he did, but he turns the table on you by getting angry just to make you feel bad for seeking the truth. 

It is very easy to fall for this classic trick but if you watch out for clues like the change in the tone of the message, the emoji they switch to, and the way they leave the conversation, you’ll figure out they are lying.

6. When they take their time before sending you a response

when they take their time before sending you a response

A delayed response to your text message might not automatically mean someone is lying to you. They could be busy, out of reach of their phones, or simply incapable of responding at the time.

However, social media has made it easy to track who is interested in giving you their attention and who doesn’t consider you important. So, if people ignore your messages for so long and still update their statuses, they are probably looking for a way to lie to you. 

7. When they ignore your messages without any response

People who delay in replying to your text will still reply to you with their version of the lie but, someone who doesn’t want you to tell they’re lying will completely ghost you. Such people will change their chat settings so that you won’t know if they are online or block you temporarily. 

They may even return a few weeks later and lie about what happened. The best way to catch such people in their lies is to ask about them from mutual friends. 

8. When the text is long and complicated

Someone who is lying will want to throw you off-track by using complex sentence structures that would require that you reread the text over again before you understand. However, the kinds of words they use, the way they mix up their tenses, and the pronouns they adopt will give them away. 

A liar will use words like “I tried to return your stuff two days ago but I didn’t make it out of work early. Then I forgot I was supposed to do that and I went to a pub and got drunk". Their purpose is to either leave you confused or lead you to believe they had a stressful day.

9. When they unnecessarily affirm their words just so you believe them

Unnecessarily affirming words means repeating the truth even when the other person already got the message you are trying to share. People who are lying to you might use the same words repetitively so that you don’t sense they are lying.

A person can affirm their words in a case where someone else had lied against them, so it’s not every time that affirmation of words means that someone is lying. 

10. When they swear multiple times

Another award-winning sign of liars is when they use words like “I swear it’s the truth" or “I can bet my life on the fact that...”

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To be honest, when a person isn’t lying, they don't need to swear to make you believe them, well, unless they are in court. As such, if you are friends with or related to someone who finds it easy to throw around the opening words ‘I swear', you should be wary of such a person.

11. When they offer extra information you didn’t ask for

One of the ways liars give themselves away is by offering you additional information you don’t need. If you asked them one thing, they’ll throw in two extra bits and that’s how to tell if someone is lying to you.

Although, if the person naturally texts a lot and is very expressive, it might be slightly tricky to tell if they are lying. 

12. When they give you excuses in the place of a direct answer

when they give you excuses in the place of a direct answer

It is very easy to give excuses in place of sincere answers. If you’re emotionally attached to the person lying to you, you may take their excuses as justifiable reasons but with the time you’ll realize they’ve been lying and taking advantage of you. For once, don’t accept their excuses and see if they will bluster their way through another lie.

13. When they make you answer your question

This particular sign is a skill liars have mastered over time. You ask them for something and they come up with a closed issue where you were the wrong party. 

For example, someone broke into your workplace and you ask who left the door open but, they tell you that you’re the one who forgot to lock the door that one time. They are probably trying to cover up their fault by indirectly lying.

14. When they abruptly change the topic

When someone wants to lie, they will change the topic hoping to distract you from the truth. You can avoid this by steering them back to the issue at hand. If they continue to evade the conversation, ask them bluntly if they are lying.

15. When your instinct tells you they are lying

Sometimes, the answers people give you will appear perfect but something would tell you they are lying. It is better to trust your instincts than accept their lies and get hurt when you eventually find out they lied to you.


How can you tell someone is lying through text?

Several things will give away someone lying through text: they will try to pick their words carefully and, they might even use ambiguous words to delay the real response you’re expecting. 

What are the 5 signs that someone is lying?

1. They will make use of long sentences to distract you from the truth. 
2. They will be indirect in their answers 
3. Like someone holding your call, they will leave you hanging by seemingly typing for so long.
4. They will use reverse psychology on you.
5. They will pretend they don’t understand what you’re saying.

How do you trick someone into telling the truth?

You can play along with their games, act as though you believe them, then throw in a question or statement they weren’t expecting. They will falter, even if it’s for a second but you’ll know they are lying. 

Can you really tell if someone is lying?

Yes, you can tell if someone is lying. If the conversation takes place face-to-face, their facial expressions, tone of voice, and general body language will tell if they are lying. However, it’s a bit hard to catch someone who is lying over text.

Is getting angry a sign of lying?

Yes, getting angry can be a sign of lying. People pretend to be angry to throw you off and put you on the defensive. However, there are times when someone who is saying the truth can get angry because you don’t believe them.

In Conclusion 

Nobody wants to be caught in a lie, so people cover up one lie with more lies. You can decide not to be at the receiving end of lies by watching out for some of the signs outlined in this article. Do leave a comment if you found this article helpful and share it with others that need it as well. 

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April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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