Seven Tips to Help You When You're Falsely Accused of Lying

Have you ever been accused of lying, covering up, or pretending? If you want to challenge these kinds of accusations, the first step is to remain calm, redirect your energy derived from your anger, and trust yourself. In fact, it's time to employ assertive communication.
Seven Tips to Help You When You're Falsely Accused of Lying
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

How should you act when you’re falsely accused of lying? The first key is not to lose your cool and react with anger or rage. Because they say that an angry reaction means you’re guilty. Therefore, you should keep your temper and understand that these situations, although they’re extremely painful, will happen to you now and then as you go through life.

Indeed, many of us experience these kinds of situations. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, you get blamed for having done something that you didn’t. It may even be the case that other people put words in your mouth that you haven’t said. Or, perhaps your partner accuses you of having cheated on them.

In these contexts, just as there’s no place for an aggressive response, neither must you try and run from it, ignore it, or let it pass. In fact, when you’re faced with a false accusation, there’s only one suitable reaction. Assertive, firm, and confident communication. Let’s take a closer look.

You must trust yourself and your own truth to defend yourself against those who accuse you of lying. 

girl thinking how to act when they tell you you've lied and it's not true

How to act

Being falsely accused can hurt as much as a physical blow. It’s an attack on your integrity, self-concept, and self-esteem. Studies into these experiences tend to delve into the cases of individuals who’ve been falsely accused of a crime. The psychological impact in these cases is devastating.

In this regard, the Department of Psychological Medicine in King’s College London (UK) conducted research. It highlighted the importance of developing mental health mechanisms in instances of this kind. Because those who experience this type of erroneous accusation suffer a loss of identity, psychological and physical problems, employment and adjustment difficulties, not to mention family problems.

However, beyond the criminal realm is the everyday scenario, the one where sometimes others falsely accuse you of lying. What should you do in this case? What strategies can you use to demonstrate your innocence and untangle yourself from this wrongdoing? Here are some tips.

1. Try to manage your emotions: neither attack nor ignore your accusers

As we mentioned earlier, as a rule, your first reaction to being called a liar will be to feel angry and react accordingly. However, this isn’t the right thing to do. Therefore, you must avoid it at all costs. What’s more, a study conducted by Harvard Business School and the University of Toronto found that those who angrily deny accusations and those who remain silent are viewed by others as being guilty.

The first step is to stay calm and trust in yourself.

2. Ask yourself why you’ve been accused

It may be a simple mistake. If so, the problem can be quickly resolved. On the other hand, there may be certain circumstances that aren’t so easy to solve. For example, in the context of a couple, accusations of this type may appear due to a lack of trust. 

In work scenarios, false accusations can often arise in highly competitive contexts. For instance, a colleague may be harassed in order for the other person to achieve some kind of benefit.

3. Ask open-ended questions and ask them to justify the accusations

When others tell you that you’ve lied and it isn’t true, you have to understand precisely what they’re accusing you of. Avoid falling into reproaches, attacks, and verbalizations loaded with anger. Furthermore, it’s far better for the other person to explain their reasons for considering you a liar. Listen to them patiently and allow them to speak.

To foster this kind of situation, start by asking open-ended questions such as, “what makes you think that I’ve lied?”

4. Detect inconsistencies and confront them with assertiveness

When the other person starts to justify themselves, it won’t take long for you to spot the inconsistencies in their story. That’s your starting point. Indeed, their contradictory and erroneous ideas will act as a springboard for you to be assertive and refute their arguments.

It’s imperative that you don’t lose your cool and that you regulate your emotions well. In this way, you’ll be able to explain yourself with clarity, assuredness, and forcefulness. Remember that any gesture that looks even slightly out of place will make you appear guilty even though you’re not. In this sense, staying balanced and calm will successfully carry you through.

5. Use indirect questions

In contexts of injustice and false accusations, it’s a good idea to use open and direct questions as well as indirect questions. With the latter, you want your accuser to explore and think about their own behavior. Here’s an example of some of the things you could say:

“I ‘d like to know what you’re hoping to achieve by accusing me of lying”, “The truth is, I really don’t know why you didn’t ask me first before coming to the conclusion that I was lying”, ” I still don’t understand what made you come up with that idea”  or, “I really wonder what it is I’ve done to you for you to have such a distorted view of me?”

Indirect questions help you as they mean the accuser has to reflect on their own behavior.

couple talking to symbolize when when they tell you that you have lied and it is not true

6. Seek support

Having support is essential when you’re accused of something that you haven’t done. Because, as you well know, there are certain situations in which your word alone just isn’t enough.

7. Accept that to some people, you’ll always be a liar

When they tell you that you’ve lied and it isn’t true, you experience a specific kind of pain. In addition, your confidence in that person is broken because they’ve attacked your identity and your self-esteem. This kind of wound lasts for a long time, despite the fact that at some point, you’ll often manage to redeem yourself.

However, there’s one point that remains clear. It’s the fact that, for some people, you’ll always be a liar. Indeed, for whatever reason, there’ll be those who’ll always harbor that misconception. Faced with this situation, you can only accept it and keep your self-concept unharmed at all costs. At the end of the day, you know that your story’s true and that you’re being honest.

Fortunately, there are always many more other people who know you and who’ll never question you.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Brooks SK, Greenberg N. Psychological impact of being wrongfully accused of criminal offences: A systematic literature review. Medicine, Science and the Law. 2021;61(1):44-54. doi:10.1177/0025802420949069
  • Leo, RA. Rethinking the study of miscarriages of justice: developing a criminology of wrongful conviction. J Contemp Crim Justice 2005; 21: 201223.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.