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Playing With: Hesitation Equals Dishonesty
Basic Trope: Pausing before speaking means that you're lying.
  • Straight: Alice asks Bob a question. Bob pauses before responding with a lie.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Hesitating for even the slightest fraction of a second is a sure sign that somebody is lying.
    • He hesitates for a full minute, then lies badly.
  • Downplayed: Bob hesitates before lying to Alice that he did not eat the missing cookie.
  • Justified: Bob needs some extra time to think up a lie and this is a tell.
  • Inverted:
    • Bob is a Consummate Liar who never hesitates before telling another lie.
    • Bob hesitates before revealing an Awful Truth.
    • Alice thinks Bob is lying because he didn't pause - ergo, it sounded rehearsed.
  • Subverted: Alice takes Bob's pause to be this in an interrogation and badgers him on it. Bob is not only innocent but he has a neurological condition and Alice ends up losing her job for her insensitivity to the disabled.
  • Double Subverted: While Bob may not have been behind it directly he pulled the strings.
  • Parodied: The pause is absurdly long, Bob looks around the room, desperately coming up with a lie. Alice goes and gets a cup of coffee and Bob still hasn't though of it yet. He then comes out with a Blatant Lie.
  • Zig Zagged: While Bob is capable of lying without so much as blinking, whenever he says something the audience already knows is a lie, he noticeably pauses.
  • Averted: Pausing before speaking is merely used when an emotional bombshell is dropped. It is a natural consequence of preparing oneself.
  • Enforced: Meddling executives think the crime drama fans need more clues that Bob is lying, and have the director insert pauses into any line where Bob will lie.
  • Lampshaded: Alice teases Bob about hesitating, because it almost made him sound like a liar.
  • Invoked: Alice's best friend Donna tells her "Just come right out and ask him! If he has to think about it, you'll know he's lying through his teeth!"
  • Exploited: Charlie overhears the conversation, and plays on Alice's fears by hinting to her that the fact Bob paused before answering may mean he wasn't being entirely truthful...
  • Defied: Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic is averted, so hesitation abounds.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed: Alice automatically assumes that this is the case and accuses anyone who pauses before speaking of lying. This poisons her relationship with Bob, who is already somewhat introverted; every time he pauses to collect his thoughts, she gets upset and calls him a liar. To make matters worse, word gets around, leading to poor Bob getting a terrible reputation.
  • Reconstructed: When speaking about her stressful breakup with Bob, she hesitates before explaining how it wasn't really her fault, even though deep down, she knows it was.
  • Played For Laughs: Bob leaves spaces wide enough to drive a truck through while telling a blatant lie... which Alice immediately accepts.
  • Played For Drama: Alice already knows the truth, but asks Bob anyway as a Secret Test of Character. His brief hesitation draws out the drama before he actually lies, much to Alice's disappointment.

Back to Hesitation Equals Dishonesty

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