So you’re dating or in a relationship. It’s going smoothly, but then you get a distinctive whiff of something—could it be bs?

Sometimes it feels like we have a preternatural ability to detect a lie. The problem with getting a ‘gut feeling’ about someone’s honesty gauge is that it’s hard to tell the magnitude of what they’re hiding. I had a friend who threw his paddle into crap creek, when he told his girlfriend he was staying in for the night when in fact he was blowing off date night to play poker with his buds. The truth came out and she immediately assumed he was up to no good. In truth, he was too much of a pussy to admit he just wanted some dude time. But because he’d lied, it looked far worse than it really was. So why lie to begin with?

Guys are more sensitive than they let on. In general, if they can avoid conflict through a white lie, they will. In most cases, it comes down avoiding an argument at all costs. It might be innocent, but once the truth becomes murky, how do you tell the difference between a white lie and a fuckboy whopper? And what are the concrete signs that someone is trying to hide something much bigger than a night out with the boys?

The Story Changes Each Time They Tell It

At some during the crafting of bro-code, it stands to reason that someone invented the ‘truth caveat’ i.e. I didn’t lie, if I didn’t tell you everything. But withholding sketchy details can be tantamount to lying. Especially when they emerge at a later date.For instance, your boyfriend said he was working late.

Reveal 1: After work he went out with his friends

Reveal 2: There may have been one or two chicks there.

Reveal 3: He’s got a bad case of hot tub rash. Wait, what?

So he was working late, but the parts of the story you weren’t told involved chicks and a hot tub? But he didn’t lie. Did he?

A hot tub filled with strange is likely to elicit a volcanic eruption in even the most chill of chicks. When the story changes multiple times, you can bet there’s something going on that they don’t want to tell you about. But what about the fibs that are tough to call out?

Just A Friend

He’s mentioned a female friend of his a couple of times. It’s totally normal for guys to have female friends, and it doesn’t bother you. Maybe he plays a song she’s recommended, or talks about a cool conversation they had. Seems legit. But then he drops in some weird details, like saying that she’s unattractive, or fat. When a guy goes to lengths to make out his female friend as an ogre, it’s suspicious. First, because a real friend wouldn’t make cruel comments about his buddy. Secondly, why does it matter? If she’s a new pal, the details of how they met change a little bit every time. Hmm. He played her band’s song a month ago, but he says he’s only known her for a few weeks?

Like this sloth, you pick up on dat smell.

Dat smell of bullshit.

Something doesn’t add up. So you lookup this chick on Facebook. And guess what!

She ain’t fat and she ain’t ugly.

You’ve caught a flat out lie, and it’s suspicious AF. But what if he’s just saying that so you don’t get cray cray jealous? Like we said, there’s nothing wrong with having friends of the opposite sex. But when you start lying about your friends of the opposite sex, it’s not just a red flag. It’s Jeff Goldblum waving a flare in the face of a T-Rex.

Once you’ve unravelled these threads of deception, it’s tempting to cut the cord and peace out – no questions asked. But when you have feelings for someone, often you need some explosive evidence of wrongdoing to make a clean break.

How do you catch a liar?

Is He Lying? These Tools Might Help You Figure It Out

At the end of the day, nobody wants to be the paranoid lunatic hiding in the bushes with binoculars. But not many rational females wants to waste their time with a cheater. Lying about the details doesn’t necessarily mean he’s cheating. But it certainly causes justifiable concern about the trust in your relationship. So how is the best way to react when you think something’s going on?

Stay Calm

It’s a sorry statistic that most of us have been cheated on at one point. And it’s easy to leap to conclusions. But before you freak out, understand that the best way to figure out the truth is to remain very, very cool. Don’t jump in with accusations, because actions speak louder than words. Also, according to FBI agents, you get far more information if you hang back and ask subtle questions, rather than jump in guns blazing.

The Clues Are Already There

The greatest way to bust a liar is to be a good listener. Listen closely. At the right moment, ask questions. This is the best way to navigate through the ‘truth caveat’ of only revealing a small portion of the story. This takes a certain finesse, but done right, it can reveal way more than a straightforward accusation. The devil is in the details. But in order to get a revealing response, you need to ask the right question. There’s some science behind this, and it’s called A Volatile Conundrum. Meaning, if you asked pointed and accusatory questions, your subject will feel interrogated and clam up, or immediately become defensive. A volatile conundrum is when you throw a spanner in the works and the subject has to make a snap decision. For honest people, it’s not hard. But for a fabricator, they’re likely to trip over their words. A volatile conundrum might look this this.

  • Gal: What did you do last night?
  • Guy: I stayed at home.
  • Gal: I heard on the news that some repairman blew up the power in your neighborhood! Did you lose the lights?
  • Honest Guy: Wait, what? I didn’t hear about that!
  • Girl: Oh, maybe that was somewhere else.
  • Lying guy: Oh, yeah. It wasn’t too bad though.


Flip It And Reverse It

Another tool practiced by human lie detectors is to ask for the story backwards. If you think a particular night isn’t adding up, just ask for the details in reverse. For example:

  • What time did you get home?
  • Did you drive or take a cab?
  • How long was (insert event)?
  • Did you have a good time?
  • Who was there?
  • What time did you get there?

Don’t be accusatory, just curious. Remember everything they said. Then ask for more details from the beginning. No matter how good the liar, their memory will betray them if they’re being dishonest.


Once you feel like you have enough red flags, raise your issues with your partner. Explain to them why you feel like something’s fishy, and ask them why they lied. If they get super defensive and try to turn it around back on you, it’s a dead giveaway that they feel guilty. If they wrangle up a rational explanation, or an apology, perhaps you can work on learning to communicate. Communication is a hard terrain to navigate, especially in new relationships. A series of lies could be a lazy way to avoid conflict, or a way to conceal malicious deception. At the end of the day, it all comes down to what your relationship goals are, and what you want in a partner. If your worst suspicions are confirmed, and he’s cheating on you, time to swerve.