If Someone Uses These 10 Phrases, They’re Probably Hiding Something

You probably already know some tips on how to catch someone in a lie, like watching how their eyes move during conversation or noting how long they take to answer your question. But sometimes there are specific phrases someone who’s hiding something from you will use, such as to distract you from what you’re asking or to buy themselves some time. It’s sneaky! Here are 10 phrases that could mean someone’s hiding something from you or totally lying to you so you’re not caught by surprise.

1. “To Be Honest…”

You ask your BF where he was last night and he starts by saying, “To be honest…” This could be a way for him to buy some time to come up with a really solid lie. I mean, if he’s being honest, he won’t have to tell you he’s being honest, right?! Generally, a kind person won’t tell you they’re kind, just like an honest person won’t have to point it out.

2. “Hard To Remember.”

Your BF told you he was hanging with his bestie last Friday night, but now when you ask him about it again, he says something like, “It’s hard to remember.” Here’s something to remember: it’s actually really easy to recall the truth. Lies, on the other hand, can be much trickier to keep track of. He should’ve thought of that before trying to spin this.

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4. “It’s Complicated…”

Hearing someone say “it’s complicated” when you ask them something simple is one of the most frustrating things. What’s complicated about it, exactly? Even in the case of a friend telling you “it’s complicated” when you ask her how she’s doing in her rocky relationship or if she’s still keen to go on vacation, it can be annoying – it feels like a way for her to slip out of the conversation.

5. “It’s Not What You Think.”

Another phrase up for the award of the Most Infuriating Phrase To Hear goes to “It’s not what you think.” When you think of this phrase, you probably imagine a scenario like busting a guy for cheating and him replying with, “It’s not what you think.” Really? ‘Cause it certainly looks that way, buddy. Someone might even try to use this phrase on you for less serious situations, but you’re not out of line for telling them, “Don’t tell me what to think!”

6. “You Know What I Think?”

You’ve confronted someone about something and instead of answering you, they say, “You know what I think?” This is a weird phrase that could mean they’re trying to buy time to answer you properly, but it could also be a way for someone who’s hiding something to try to reclaim power in the conversation. They might be about to tell you what they think about you confronting them. Hmmm. They could be using this strategy ’cause they know they’re drowning and have no other way out.

7. “I’ve Been So Busy.”

Maybe your partner uses the “I’m busy” excuse for why they can’t talk to you during the week (a bit dodgy), or maybe because they want your sympathy. You’re confronting them about something, like why they can’t remember where they were last Friday night, and they use the sob story about being so busy that they can’t even think straight. Err, right. This isn’t going to work.

8. “I Would Never!”

A common behavior of someone who’s hiding something from you is making sweeping statements, like “I would never do that” or “I’m always honest!” They’re backed into a corner and desperately trying to make you believe them. Sometimes, a person’s manipulation will extend to the following phrase…

9. “Don’t You Trust Me?”

A manipulative trick you might receive when confronting someone about their dodgy behavior is the good old, “Don’t you trust me?” guilt trip. It’s a clever way of trying to deflect and make you out to be the bad one for asking! The person’s hope is probably that you’ll backtrack and apologize for ever doubting them. Insert eye roll.

10. “Trust Me.”

Another phrase involving trust is the “Trust me” ploy. Sometimes, people who are hiding something and who don’t have their stories straight yet will resort to asking or begging you to trust them so that they can distract you by trying to show you that they’re being honest. As if you can magically switch on trust! It has to be earned, and the more someone tells you to trust them, the more wary you’ll be of them.

11. “That’s Not Important!”

It’s so insulting when you express something to someone in your life who you suspect of hiding something and they shoot you down by telling you what you’re talking about isn’t important. Geez! Not only does it make you feel like they don’t care about the things that matter to you, but they’re shutting down your feelings right now when you’re trying to engage with them. It’s so toxic.

Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.