4 Texting Signals Your Partner Is Lying & It's Time To Check In
There are a slew of cues that can suggest your SO isn’t being truthful. If they avoid eye contact, for example, or offer vague responses to your questions with few specific details, those can both be dead giveaways that they’re covering something up. But did you know that there are certain texting signals your partner is lying? That’s right — experts say that there may be clues right in your digital convos that can tip you off to their dishonesty.
Before you start playing text detective, however, let's be clear about one thing: It's essentially impossible to tell from someone's messages alone that they're being untruthful.
“Texting is a wonderful way to communicate quickly, but these messages are ripe for misunderstanding,” says Dr. Joshua Klapow, clinical psychologist and host of “The Kurre and Klapow Show.” “It is very difficult to know with any level of certainty that a partner is lying in a text. Texts can give clues but are rarely the definitive source.”
Still, given that someone's communication habits can offer a super telling glimpse into their thoughts and feelings, there are certain signs that should definitely be on your radar. Although they certainly won't be the only evidence you need, they can potentially point to some potential dishonesty — or at the very least, a misunderstanding. Ready to start sleuthing? Here are a few behaviors that Dr. Klapow says to look out for.
They suddenly go MIA.
According to Dr. Klapow, one of the top factors to look out for is a sudden change in their texting habits — specifically, how timely their responses are.
So, if bae has been super quick to respond, and you notice a much longer delay after you ask them where they were last night, that could suggest that they have to give your question some extra thought.
It’s important to note that this isn’t necessarily guaranteed to be the case. There are other possible explanations for their response delay — for example, they may have suddenly had to duck into a meeting, or hop on a call with a client. However, sometimes when they’re taking longer than usual to get back to you, it’s because they’re in the process of conjuring up a lie.
Another shift worth noting is the style of their texts.
Dr. Klapow notes that if your boo typically crafts super short messages and all of a sudden they’re sending novel-length responses, that could possibly be a red flag that they’re being dishonest. Why? Because when people feel guilty, they often tend to over explain.
They start using vastly different wording.
Pay attention when your partner starts peppering their responses with uncharacteristic words or phrases, too.
According to Dr. Klapow, when someone starts texting things they wouldn’t normally say — particularly emotional words or phrases — that can hint at the possibility that they’re telling a lie. This makes a lot of sense when you think about it: When someone is lying, they aren’t being true to themselves — hence, their language isn’t true to their authentic self, either.
They quickly change the subject.
One of the more obvious giveaways that your partner is lying is if they abruptly change the subject during your text conversation, as this suggests they are trying to avoid a particular topic or question.
“If they deflect the topic of the conversation away from them to you or someone else, that’s a red flag,” says Dr. Klapow.
While all of these clues are definitely worth paying attention to, Dr. Klapow stresses that none of them can tell you for certain whether or not your partner is being untruthful. That’s why it’s crucial not to jump to any conclusions based off any of these behaviors.
If you suspect your partner may be fibbing, the first step Dr. Klapow recommends is reading their text messages out loud.
“Reading out loud allows you to inject some level of inflection and emotion and may help reduce mental biases we have when we read the text silently,” he explains. “Before you respond — pause and ask yourself if you understand the text, if you are confused about what they are trying to communicate, or if you are unsure of the intention or tone.”
Dr. Klapow warns that if you immediately assume that your boo is lying and react accordingly, you will likely trigger a defensive response. Instead, he advises bringing whatever observations you’ve made to your partner’s attention. Then, you can look for body language clues that might suggest they're still lying, like closing their eyes or making gestures that don't match their words.
“Talk about the inconsistencies that you see and stick to the observable/objective facts,” he says. “Use phrases like ‘help me understand.’ These are important because they convey a true sense of confusion about the text message in the context of what is happening.”
By presenting your concerns to your partner in this manner, you allow them the opportunity to clear up any potential misunderstanding.
“Let them either clarify for you — or get themselves caught in a lie,” adds Dr. Klapow. “Let them explain the situation or come clean. The less you accuse them, the more likely that is to happen.”
While texting may not serve as a precise lie detector, this form of communication can certainly offer up some helpful hints that are worth paying attention to. Ultimately, the best way to detect if your bae is lying is to look for changes in the way they respond to you — after all, you know them better than anyone, so if the frequency, tone, language, or length of their messages suddenly shifts, that’s something you want to take note of.
The most important thing to remember is that the only way to confront your partner and clear up any possible miscommunications is to be upfront with them about what you’ve noticed. Stick to the facts, avoid jumping to any conclusions, and of course, try to give your SO the benefit of the doubt. If you can resist the temptation to start pointing fingers right off the bat, the odds are much higher that you'll get an honest explanation from them — and that’s the ultimate objective, right?