Deception Tip 55 - How To Detect Deception - A Guide To Deception - Author Spencer Coffman

Deception Tip 55:

Behaviors such as nail biting, cuticle picking, or other hand grooming gestures are indicative of tension and possibly deception.


Listen To The Podcast!

E55 – Grooming Hands – Deception Tips Podcast – Click Here To Subscribe

Podcast Transcript

Hello and welcome to the deception tips podcast where you will learn amazing cues to detect deceit that will help you read people like never before. I’m your host Spencer Coffman, let’s get started.

Welcome to episode 55 of the deception tips podcast where you are learning how to read people and detect deceit so that you will be able to know whether or not someone is lying to you. I hope you’re taking advantage of the deception tips videos as well, so you can get a little bit more of a tidbit on exactly what is happening in each of these tips.

Last time, we talked about a sign of deception that is with breathing and it is how liars or people who are nervous or when people lie. When they lie, remember they are under a lot of stress and tension, therefore, they express different symptoms or signs based on that stress and tension.

For example, stress sometimes leads to things like bouncing the legs or wringing the hands. We talked about those, massaging, remember the back of the neck, rubbing out that tension or easing and massaging it away, something like massaging the fleshy part of the hand between the thumb and index finger. Different things like that that people can do to release that stress and tension.

Those are outward signs of that, they’re symptoms of the root cause which is stress or tension. The real question is what is causing that stress and tension, that’s what you need to determine. It could be that the person is lying because when they lie, they’re under stress and tension for numerous reasons.

Remember they feel like they’re doing something wrong, their moral compass tells them otherwise, and they have a conscience. Remember the battle between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind, there are numerous reasons why stress and tension happen when people lie. When someone is stressed, that doesn’t mean that they are always lying you can be stressed for any number of reasons.

Maybe you have to take a big exam and you’re stressed out about it, maybe you have a big work meeting coming up and you’re stressed, maybe have a job interview, it could be anything. Maybe you need to tell something to your kids, their fish died or something and you’re stressed and worried about how they might react. Rather than just going and buying a new fish you have to tell them what happened.

There could be any number of reasons that you may be stressed, therefore, remember that it doesn’t always mean someone is lying. However, all of these signs are signs of deception and when you see them you can think, okay, I see one, but it doesn’t mean the person is lying, let me look for some others. When you see multiple signs, it becomes a pattern or a cluster of behavior, then the odds increase that that is the cause, that is what is happening.

Last time, we talked about breathing rapidly, how a liar can breathe rapidly, taking a series of shallow breaths then followed by a deep, long breath. It is almost like a sigh of relief after telling the lie or after getting it out or after seeing that the target is starting to believe the lie, something like that, they are in relief, it is like an ahh moment of relaxation.

Remember one thing though, that these shallow breaths, it’s almost like hyperventilating, that could be somebody hyperventilating. It could also be a sign of attraction, however, the breathing with attraction is a little bit different than the breathing in stress or tension involved in telling a lie. 

The attraction breathing is a little slower, a little shallower, and is more with the mouth. The lying breathing or the rapid breathing there could be the mouth, the nose, more of a hyperventilating, panting type of breathing.

Today, we have a new sign that is a grooming gesture, grooming gestures are some things that you see all the time and there are a number of reasons. First off, when someone grooms themselves, they obviously are thinking that their appearance isn’t perfect and they’re trying to fix it, they’re trying to make themselves look better.

As we’ve talked about before, liars often try to make themselves look better or sound better, they want to sound more believable. Remember things like converting different statements from positive to negative to sound a little more complicated, that was way back in episode 9. We’ve had other things like detailed stories where they want to use a lot of detail to sound more believable, that was episode 17.

We also have different things like episode 24 with pledging truthfulness where they would state something that makes them sound a little bit more truthful. Then episode 31 when we talked about the unconventional language that they may use when telling a lie to sound a little bit more intelligent or a little bit more like an expert in the matter.

So, when someone is grooming, they’re trying to make themselves a little bit better. That’s not a speech gesture like all those other ones, it’s more of a physical appearance gesture, they want to appear better, they want to appear more believable, and they’re dressing to impress. Usually, signs of grooming, they’re also called preening gestures and those are done when they’re trying to impress someone.

So, it could be like a sign of attraction as well, keep that in mind, however, it is common in deception. So, here it is, deception tip number 55. Behaviors such as nail-biting, cuticle picking, or other hand grooming gestures are indicative of tension and possibly deception. Here it is again, deception tip 55. Behaviors such as nail-biting, cuticle picking, or other hand grooming gestures are indicative of tension and possibly deception.

So, really quick, let me dissect this a little bit, we’ve got three different behaviors mentioned, nail-biting, cuticle picking, or other hand grooming gestures. The point with this deception tip is that it is happening on the hands, it’s something with the hands. It’s just like we had the wringing of hands in episode 51 and massaging the hands in episode 52, this is grooming the hands.

These gestures are indicative of tension, which is not always deception, it says, and possibly deception, so keep that in mind as well, it is possibly deception. I’m going to continue diving into this, getting deeper into this tip and what it looks like coming up right after this.

Are you loving this podcast? If so, consider writing a review on iTunes, Google, or wherever you’re listening. Reviews help others find this podcast so they can learn how to spot lies as well.

Welcome back to deception tip 55 where we are talking about gestures on the hands. We’ve talked about these a few times and in previous podcast episodes, I hope that if you don’t remember them, you go back and take a listen to them, and get refreshed. If you don’t feel like spending 15 minutes listening to it, then check out the tips on the Deception Tip blog so you can just read it really quick.

You can check it out in “The Deception Tip” e-book or “The Deception Tips Revised and Expanded Edition” of the book. Also, you can check it out on YouTube on the body language YouTube channel. You have a lot of options to refresh your memory on all of those past episodes that I’ve mentioned in this episode.

So, do that, stay sharp, continue learning those signs, make it a daily habit, a force of nature, and make it something you do all the time so that you will know when someone is lying to you. It’s super important, you do not want to get taken advantage of especially not in today’s world when it is so prevalent. So, with that, here we go diving back into deception tip 55, nail-biting, cuticle picking, and other hand grooming gestures.

This is something that when people have their hands a little bit messed up or they notice they’re dirty or they’re bored. A lot of times when people are bored, they might do things like this, they’ll fidget with their fingers, and they’re going to get the dirt out from under their fingernails. 

They may pull off the dead skin or try to give themselves a makeshift manicure with their teeth or their other fingernails and scratch off the cuticles and things like that.

They may start biting their fingers, their nails, this is all a nervousness type behavior, but it’s not always nervousness because it could be like I said, boredom, they could be doing it if they’re bored, but it is tension, it is a habit. 

A lot of people have that nail-biting habit, if you pay attention to them and watch when they mostly do it, it’s often when they are feeling stressed or nervous.

For example, they have an event going on and all of a sudden, the main speaker of the event or the performer of the event isn’t showing up or they’re having a technology issue. The person who is in charge will all of a sudden start biting their fingernails or something like that. Why? It is because they’re nervous, they’re worried about it, they’re tense, they have anxiety, that is why.

Why is this a sign of deception? Why is it even considered in the deception tips signs? The reason is, that when people tell lies they have anxiety, and they have tension. This is a sign of anxiety and tension, this is a sign of major anxiety and tension. Of course, you need to be careful because some people have that bad habit of biting their fingernails, it’s just a habit they have, it’s part of their normal behavior.

For some reason when they were a kid every time they were stressed or tense, they always bit their nails to feel a little better. The habit never got broken so now they don’t know why they’re biting their nails anymore, it’s because it’s a habit, so for them, it may not be indicative of stress and tension anymore. However, chances are very great that when it started it was due to stress, tension, anxiety, etc.

Keep in mind that the other behaviors you see such as grooming the hands or maybe rubbing off the dead skin or picking at the cuticles, those behaviors might be indicative of stress or tension in those individuals. So, you need to pay attention to that, watch for that, and always establish a baseline behavior before you make any assessments or conclusions.

We’ve talked about baseline a few times before, but I haven’t really delved into it in a while, so I’ll give you a little refresher. The baseline behavior, you probably know what it is, but it is the normal behavior a person goes through, it is their regular personality, it’s who they are. So, it’s how they behave, how they act, how they think in an everyday situation, in an everyday manner.

It is like a polygraph test, they ask you a bunch of control questions, what is your name, what is your date of birth? Usually, they’ll even twist those questions and make them ‘yes’ or ‘no’ because with polygraphs the answers are almost always ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It’s a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question so that they get the charts to match up with the stress levels.

Again, this is why polygraphs are not as effective because most of the signs that you see on the body are not going to be expressed in a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question. They would be expressed when someone’s trying to tell their side of the story because now, they have to say a lot more words, there are a lot more opportunities to slip up.

So, if you are ever trying to detect deception keep that in mind and fight to learn these signs and try to have them give you more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers because you’re going to be a lot better off. Anyway, in a polygraph, they ask you controlled questions, is your name such and such, were you born in this month, and do you work at this place?

These controlled questions work to establish a baseline so that way they know how to compare it, then they can compare the responses to the questions that matter to the baseline responses. 

If there’s a difference in the stress levels indicated on the graph, then they know that that person could be lying. Well, they say that that person is lying but really, that person was stressed or tense or anxious about whatever that question was or that topic.

So, it doesn’t always mean they’re lying, it’s like all of these signs of deception, a single sign does not mean someone is lying. This is why you need to fill your mind with all of these signs, let them be a guide for you. Learn them, practice them, see them on yourself, work with yourself in the mirror, and think about what happens when you do it.

Maybe you’re a nail biter, well the next time you bite your nails think about why you’re biting your nail or what’s going on around you, is there stress and tension in your life at that moment. Maybe there isn’t physically around you, maybe you were thinking of something that’s causing you stress or anxiety, something worth thinking about so that you can start to understand these on other people

When you start to become more self-aware then you will be able to be more aware of others, you will be aware of your own self, and you’ll be aware of what’s going on in your mind. You can project what’s going on with you into other people when it’s happening to them and it may be something similar. Humans have the same genetic code markup, we’re all human beings, so we’re all very similar in some ways.

Your personality will be different from someone else’s, so what’s going on in your mind is probably not exactly what’s going on in someone else’s mind, but if you learn enough about human behavior, you will find that it is predictable. In a lot of these things, you can reason to see what might be going on in someone’s mind at any certain time based on their outward behavior.

That’s why deception is a learnable skill, you can learn how to read people and detect deception. You can know when someone is lying to you, you just need to learn the behaviors of the signs of deception and it is something you will be able to detect and find out about. If you take a look at a guide to deception, I stated a lot of research in there that proves that. I’m not going to go into it now because we are almost out of time.

So, I want to thank you for listening to the deception tips podcast. I hope that you’ll share with your friends, subscribe to the feed, check out the deception tips videos, and the deception tips blog, and take a look at the books I have available as always, tune in next week for a new deception tip.

Video Transcript

Hey guys, my name is Spencer Coffman, thank you for watching the Deception Tips videos, they’re all about teaching you how to read people and detect deception so that you will be able to tell if someone is lying to you. Today, we are going to talk about a cool behavior that you’re going to see on all areas of the body. It definitely involves the hands as the hands are the reason for the behavior because it has to do with making their appearance look a little bit better.

As you know, when people lie, they are concerned with their appearance, why are they concerned with their appearance? Well, it is because they are trying to sell that lie to the target, they’re trying to convince them of something. Therefore, their presentation, their delivery, their appearance, everything like that has to sell that lie.

So, if they come in and they’re really happy and smiling and they say, “Oh, I’m so sad, I just lost whatever.” Whether it’s a family member, some money, their car or their house and they’re laughing about it and they’re smiling, you’re going to be like, well what the heck, that doesn’t really match because they haven’t sold you that story in a convincing way.

If they come in and they’re crying and they’re devastated and they’re very quiet and you say, “What’s up?” They say, “Well, I just had to put my dog down” now you believe them a little bit more because their entire persona helped with that story. So, this is about grooming gestures and body and how liars may groom themselves and again, there could be a lot of different reasons for it.

So, here it is, this is deception tip number 55. Behaviors such as nail biting, cuticle picking, or other hand grooming gestures are indicative of tension and possibly deception. Notice in that tip it says tension and possibly deception, so they’re indicative of tension. That is because when someone is biting their fingernails or if they’re working on their fingers, picking their cuticles or they’re pulling the dead skin off their hands or whatever they’re doing, it looks like they’re stressed or they’re tense.

You notice this all the time when things may not be going well, typically you see it in females more than males with this nail-biting. Where like someone is not on time so they’re sitting there biting their nails, all nervousness and it’s going crazy, they’re just biting one after another and they’re stressed, they’re tense, they’re anxious. Of course, you’ll see it in men as well and they’re going to be doing the same thing in that stress or anxiety.

So, these self-grooming behaviors of picking their cuticles or biting their nails, they could be indicative of deception, but they are for sure tension. You know that when someone is doing that, they’re anxious, they have anxiety, they’re stressed out about something.

Whether someone is late, whether they’re telling a lie, whether they’re worried about whether or not their story is going to be believed. Whether they’re worried about the consequence they’re about to face, you name it, there’s something going on that is causing them a lot of stress and anxiety. Therefore, when you see it you need to be certain that there is some kind of stress or there’s some kind of anxiety.

However, you cannot be certain that there is deception, there could be deception because when people lie, they do feel that stress, tension, and anxiety. Therefore, when you see this behavior you need to take a look at the entire situation, you need to take a look at the context. You need to see what they were saying, how are they behaving, how are they acting, what is going on around them.

Is the environment just completely chaotic, are there kids running and swinging from the chandeliers and they’re stressed about breaking something? Then that’s perfectly normal. Is the situation calm and they’re doing it? Well, something might be going on. Look for those other signs of deception, the patterns, and clusters of behavior.

As I mentioned, this is a behavior that is a hundred percent guaranteed to be stress, tension, and anxiety. Therefore, rack your brain, look at the other tips, read the book, listen to the podcast, anything like that. Find those other behaviors that are indicative of stress, tension, anxiety, whether it is bouncing the legs or chewing on their lips or tapping their fingers or whatever type of fidgeting or stress or anxiety behaviors that we’ve talked about.

Listen to those, watch those, pay attention to those, and then bundle them in with this one, with this self-grooming gesture and see if you see other behaviors of stress and tension. Then see what it was that they were talking about or what were they doing, if there are some similarities then you know it’s not a coincidence and then something could be deceptive, so they could be lying there. As always, just pay attention to the context of the situation, use your discernment, watch for multiple signs of deception.

If this is your first time watching these videos, I’d love to have you subscribe to the channel on YouTube, feel free to comment with any questions you may have. Also, if you’d like more information, we’ve got booksblog postspodcasts, all available on that are dedicated to teaching you exactly what every body is really saying.

Until next time.

Enjoying This Content?

Consider donating to support Spencer Coffman!

Venmo        PayPal        CashApp