15 Phrases That Instantly Expose A Liar’s True Intentions

Ever felt like someone’s words just don’t add up? Like their story is missing a few pieces, or maybe the puzzle pieces they’re giving you just don’t fit together right? We’ve all been there. Sometimes, it’s not just our gut feeling; it’s the actual words people use that can expose their true intentions. Here are some phrases that might be red flags when you hear them.

1. “To be honest with you…” or “To tell you the truth…”

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Ironically, when people start a sentence like this, it can often mean they’re about to say something that’s not entirely honest. It’s like a verbal disclaimer, a way to distance themselves from the truth they’re about to bend or twist. If you hear this phrase, pay extra attention to what follows; it might reveal more than they intend.

2. “I would never do that…”

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This is a classic deflection tactic. When someone’s accused of something, a quick “I would never do that” can sound defensive, especially if it’s followed by a vague explanation or a complete change of subject. People who are genuinely innocent tend to offer more specific details or evidence to back up their claims, not just a blanket denial.

3. “You’re just overreacting” or “You’re too sensitive.”

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These phrases are often used to invalidate your feelings and make you doubt yourself. If someone consistently dismisses your concerns or emotions, it might be a sign they’re not taking responsibility for their actions or words. They might be trying to shift the blame onto you instead of acknowledging their own role in the situation.

4. “I don’t remember saying that.”

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Selective memory can be a convenient tool for someone trying to avoid accountability. If they deny saying something you clearly remember, it could be a deliberate attempt to manipulate the situation. Pay attention to their body language and tone of voice, as these can often reveal more than their words.

5. “It’s not a big deal.”

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This phrase is often used to minimize the impact of their actions or words. If something hurts you or makes you feel uncomfortable, it is a big deal, regardless of what they say. Don’t let anyone downplay your feelings or experiences. Trust your gut and stand up for yourself.

6. “I’m not lying to you.”

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When someone feels the need to explicitly state that they’re not lying, it can actually raise suspicion. Honest people usually don’t need to declare their honesty; it’s implied in their actions and words. This phrase might be a sign that they’re trying to convince you of something that’s not true.

7. “You’re misunderstanding me.”

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This is another way to shift the blame onto you and avoid taking responsibility. If you feel like someone’s words or actions don’t align, don’t let them convince you that you’re the one who’s confused. Trust your instincts and seek clarification if needed.

8. “Everybody does it.”

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This phrase is often used to justify questionable behavior. Just because something is common doesn’t make it right. Don’t let someone excuse their actions by claiming that everyone else does the same thing. Hold them accountable for their choices.

9. “Believe me…”

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When someone repeatedly insists that you believe them, it can often have the opposite effect. Trust is earned, not demanded. If someone is truly honest and trustworthy, their actions and words will speak for themselves. This phrase might be a sign that they’re trying to compensate for a lack of credibility.

10. “I swear on my…”

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Swearing on something or someone important, like their mother’s grave or their children’s lives, is a dramatic attempt to make their words seem more believable. However, it’s often a desperate tactic used by those who have something to hide. If someone feels the need to resort to such extreme measures to convince you, it might be a red flag.

11. “Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.”

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This phrase can be a sign of arrogance and an attempt to shut down any questioning or disagreement. A truly knowledgeable person is usually open to discussion and able to provide evidence or explanations to back up their claims. This phrase might be a way to avoid scrutiny or accountability.

12. “I have nothing to hide.”

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Similar to “I’m not lying to you,” this phrase can be a way to deflect suspicion. If someone feels the need to proclaim their innocence so forcefully, it might be a sign that they’re actually hiding something. Pay attention to inconsistencies in their story or any evasive behavior, Time suggests.

13. “Why would I lie to you?”

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This question is often used to guilt-trip the listener and avoid answering the actual question. It’s a way to shift the focus from their potential dishonesty to your perceived distrust. A more straightforward and honest response would address the concern directly instead of questioning your motives.

14. “I’m being completely transparent with you.”

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This phrase is often used to create an illusion of openness and honesty, while actually concealing important details or information. Be wary of someone who claims to be completely transparent but is unwilling to answer specific questions or provide evidence to support their claims.

15. “You have to take my word for it.”

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This phrase is a classic sign of someone who’s trying to avoid accountability or scrutiny. If someone is genuinely telling the truth, they should be able to provide evidence or explanations to back up their claims. Don’t blindly trust someone just because they say you should.

Harper Stanley graduated from Eugene Lang College at The New School in NYC in 2006 with a degree in Media Studies and Literature and Critical Analysis. After graduating, she worked as an editorial assistant at The Atlantic before moving to the UK to work for the London Review of Books.

When she's not waxing poetic about literature, she's writing articles about dating, relationships, and other women's lifestyle topics to help make their lives better. While shocking, she really has somehow managed to avoid joining any social media apps — a fact she's slightly smug about.