A habitual liar lies to feel better about themselves and more confident in general. Today, we will discuss the common things this type of people does and the best strategies for dealing with them.

Surely, we all lie. You don’t have to be a habitual liar for that. If any of those who read these lines will say no, they also lie. Whether we are lying constrained by a particular situation, whether we lie to gain some benefits, or we lie to feel better, we lie.

We lie for moral or material reasons, essential or minor. A well-placed lie at the right time can help us get a better job, opening doors to the destination we long for. Whether we lie to ourselves, whether we lie to others, with embarrassment, regret, nonchalance, we lie.

The reasons can be many and none of us is a saint. Yet, there are some of us who can be described as habitual liars.


The simplest definition of mendacity is that of the habitual tendency to lie. Practically, mendacity manifests itself when a person distorts the truth or makes up some extraordinary events or details, in order to attract the attention of others. The person basically seeks to stand out and gain the admiration or sympathy of the entourage.

Why Do Habitual Liars…Lie?

The appearance and manifestation of mendacity are related to affectivity. The habitual liar lies to feel good, to feel secure. S/he can not cope with the reality of being an “irrelevant” person, her/his capabilities are not giving him/her the possibility to behave in ways that could bring the real affirmation, and then s/he uses the lie as the last solution.

This way, s/he manages to find emotional satisfaction that concrete reality cannot offer. S/he feels particularly satisfied when the entourage, after telling her/his “stories”, gives her/him credit, considers her/him to be intelligent, altruistic, in other, an extraordinary person.

As a rule, the habitual liar is aware of the absurd nature of her/his stories, but the affective reward s/he receives is very important. This habit of distorting the truth can, unfortunately, have negative consequences. It can lead to negative relations with others once they notice the fictitious character of the liars. This may lead to misunderstandings, quarrels, and even breakup of relationships/marriages.

How to Recognize a Habitual Liar?

1. They provide too many details

When people lie, they feel the need to give as many details as possible to persuade a person to believe them. If you notice that a person offers more details than usual, this should make you think.

Often, the liars prepare their story in advance, memorizing it as a poem. It may be a good idea to address additional questions or try to change the subject to see how they debate the events.

2. Strange behaviour

To find out when someone is lying to you, you have to pay attention to their behavior, be a listener and an observer. Any change in behaviour may indicate that the person is lying.

For example, if you notice that a relatively calm person begins to shake when a particular subject is being discussed, change the subject and pay attention to their body language. Return to the original subject and observe again.

3. Too much visual contact or a lack of it

Some liars feel guilty and do not have the courage to look into your eyes, while others are so skillful that they can lie to you looking straight into your eyes. Some even exaggerate with visual contact to make sure you understand that they tell “the truth”.

If the person does not maintain eye contact for a long time and now does it or vice versa, something is wrong.

4. They change the subject

The liar knows that if s/he stretches the story, s/he risks being discovered. So it’s very likely that they will change the subject as quickly as possible.

A skilled liar can change the subject immediately, but you do not have to fall into it. Go back to the subject and find out why s/he is desperate to avoid this topic.

5. Body language

Watch the hands of the one you suspect of lying because liars tend to hold their hands while they say a lie. It is possible that they will begin to touch their face, knees, elbows, play with their clothes or hair.

6. Delayed or inappropriate reactions

When a person is truly happy or angry, these states are expressed on their whole face. But when someone is lying, their expressions of joy or madness are made shortly before or after they lie.

They may additionally have delayed reactions to someone’s questions or events around her/him as they try to keep track of their “lies”.

7. They argue with you

If you express your doubts about the liar’s words, s/he will start attacking you, because the attack is the best defense strategy. You do not even need to express your doubt clearly because the liar will use every word to react to shut you up.

How to Deal with a Habitual Liar?

1. Recognize when the person is lying

Once someone lies, our trust in them is broken and we barely give them credit after that. Yet, once you notice a change in their behaivour or attitude, keep a track of their words and then determine whether they lie or not.

2. Are the lies harmful?

Someone may lie to cover an embarrassing situation or simply because they have done something that may cause temporary discomfort. If you discover that they lie for their own pleasure, benefit or for the purpose of harming you, then you should address the problem.

3. Address the problem

It is necessary to make the person aware that you know what happens. If you tolerate it or hope for a change, then things may get worse. Calmly discuss the problem in private with the liar and try to understand the reason behind their lies.

4. The reason behind the lie

What influenced a person to lie to you? What is the cause?

5. Give them the chance to explain

As painful as it may be, do not lose your temper. Give the person a chance to explain the reasons, without accusing or insulting them. Even though you may feel entitled to react, your criticism will inhibit and push them to find more excuses as they cannot bear the feeling of being exposed.

6. Show evidence

Your gut may tell you that you are 100% right. But in order to help a person realize their mistake, you need to confront them with facts, especially when you deal with a habitual liar. In the absence of evidence, they will usually try to convince you that you only make assumptions and subsequently, turn the conversation against you.

7. Walk away

If you have been giving chances and waiting for a person to change, yet their behaviour is unchanged, the ultimate solution is to exit the relationship. Sadly, more time and more chances will only affect you. A person should be mature enough to realize that lies can hurt and a change is highly necessary if they wish to keep someone in their lives. Time to move on.

Have you ever met a habitual liar? How did you handle the situation?


  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com
  2. https://www.lifehack.org

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This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Baffled

    I had a habitual liar that I walked away from 7 months ago. There has been no contact but as you can tell, I am still searching for answers and that’s how I saw this post. He lied about the most random and unimportant things it was shocking. No one has time share the countless lies he told me or read about them but here is a couple more recent ones. Once, he sent me pics of his fathers day celebration and said look what I did yesterday. Later I learned that those pics were from two weeks ago and had nothing to do with fathers day. Towards the end of our friendship on two separate occasions he told me that he was hospitalized. Clearly he had an injury and he claimed he went to the emergency room for them but he was lying about the hospital part. I found hard evidence that he never went to any hospital. I saw that he was injured but why he lied and said he went to the hospital makes no sense. So I began digging for more truth and sure enough everything he ever told me was a lie to the point that I am wondering if that was even his real name. Most of the lies were not harmful just annoying but some of them very hurtful and haunts me to this day. Very bizarre, I don’t get it.

    1. Some Guy

      Yes, baffled is a good word. I’m still currently one and a half years into a relationship like this. I know her lies stem from self-esteem. However, it truly just messes up a relationship entirely. Are used to college, empty promises. Because that’s what it was like. Just to tell you what she thinks you wanna hear, show agree to do anything you want. Then when it comes time to doing it, it never happens. She doesn’t change her mind, she just goes on like nothing ever was talk about or anything. She has always claimed that she is a work in progress. So to a point, she knows what she’s doing. But does not change the fact that nothing has ever changed in the positive direction. If I have to look back, I would almost want to say that it got worse. I’ve seen old text messages from her ex-husband and he was always mention “ lies “. Now I know what he means. I guess that’s why he got a divorce. She claims that he cheated. I am not sure how to approach this. The biggest issue, is that she has children and the children adore me. I see the oldest (10), Recognizing the lies now too. I see him experiencing the empty promises as well.

      Just recently the other day, we went met with friends for the first time ever. I almost wanted to pull my hair out. She was talking all happy and pleasant and talking about all kinds of stuff that we love to do and enjoy, and then she would turn to me to enforce the enjoyment with her. It was totally exaggerated. I felt so uncomfortable. The friends were talking about riding the Hulk at Universal and how they like it. So my girlfriend naturally said she loves it, and then she turned me and said, “….We love that ride, right honey?…”.

      The ironic thing about this whole relationship, as I believe I recognize that the very beginning but it was turned into a joke. When I first met her, she started talking about her home and calling it a “pool home”. Everything she was saying sounded like it was fake. People just don’t talk like the way she was talking. At that point it was early, so I called her out immediately and said she was fake. Now we laugh about it. But that honestly is probably the sign I should’ve took to heart

  2. Jordan

    Disappointing. The fact that this came up at the top of searches shows someone has great SEO skills, because the author doesn’t seem to know anything about compulsive liars, and her qualifications are that she’s “deeply passionate”?
    First of all, giving more details about an event than is necessary has little to do with lying for many people, and is a common trait among females. Yes, there are those liars who give details that go on and on but are so incongruent that they make no sense, which may be meant to confuse people. However, one can certainly give detail that does make sense and is accurate, even if it’s more info that the listener wants.
    2. Compulsive liars don’t shake when lying. They’ve been doing this for years, or decades, depending on their age, so it comes naturally to them.
    3. Touching one’s hair or clothes is a very common display of mild nervousness in social situations, which is often a mere lack of confidence that may have more to do with being intimidated by those present or the present setting, and often has nothing to do with the truthfulness of what they’re saying. People do it often in situations where they feel pressure, such as job interviews, or when around others they deem to have higher status or to be more popular.
    Also, smokers have a strong tendency to fidget as they get further and further away in time from their last cigarette. And while addicts are more prone to be liars, fidgeting is not an indication that’s what is going on.
    4. As for timing of emotions, we have a close relative who is a compulsive liar as is his wife of 30 years. They’ve both been lying for 60 years and show no changes in emotion before, during, or after lying….unless they’re told that they’re lying. Some close to them have learned to record everything they say because, otherwise, it’s a barrage of blatant contradictions from one day to the next, but the wife is always, always calm during, before and after her lies. That said, they’re both smokers, which appears to help them maintain a facade of calmness.
    5. “give them a chance to explain.” Giving compulsive liars a chance is the same as giving that man that beats you a chance to say he’s sorry and promise he’ll never do it again. Yes, he’ll say he’s sorry and may show genuine sadness, but he will also beat you again because apologies are meaningless and useless without focused and persistent effort to make changes.
    Any explanation from a compulsive liar is just going to be filled with more lies. They may tell the truth sometimes, most likely about things that don’t matter to them, but it’s very rare for them to be truthful, and you’ll find that the more chances you give them, the more likely they’ll make excuses, not give explanations, for their bad behavior. More importantly is that they never, ever own up to their lies. They just keep changing the story until they come up with one that can’t be disproven.

    1. albert

      It’s very interesting that you have presented no evidence in support of the falsehood of anything in the post, or the correctness of your own claims. Your claims are not grounded on common sense, they read as just personal opinion plus an example from a couple of your own relatives. This really hurts the credibility of your claims.
      This post cites a couple of references in the end; maybe reading them would calm you down a bit, as they don’t exactly contradict the post. You might also learn to support your own claims more strongly in the future.

  3. Shannon

    I know for a fact that what Jordan says is spot on, your post sounds defensive Albert. You were looking for examples?? Example number one and this is me leaving the relationship !!!

    1. albert

      I can’t believe I’m answering this, but I’m extremely bored. I hope you get your trollgasm reading this.

      “I know for a fact” means absolutely nothing. It’s the same kind of “logic” Jordan was using in his “arguments”. Are you Jordan by any chance? 🙂

      Yes, my post does indeed seem defensive.You’re very observant!

      I was not actually looking for examples. I was looking for citations, logical arguments, or anything that might support the claims that were made. If you actually follow the links, you may notice that the authors of the cited articles have real names and other publications, information about their education and work experience is publicly available, and their claims are not about “a person they know and his wife” and can be traced as far back as one would like to and is willing to go!

      I have no idea what you mean by your final sentence. I really hope you do!

  4. Kim

    If they lie once for no reason they will always lie. Walk away fast before they steal your credit card numbers

  5. Me

    Devious, sneaky, self-centered, dishonest, dramatic for affect, seems to run in the family, embarrassing, irritating, frustrating, assanine, stupid, ridiculous, continuous, pathetic, weak, cheating, low self-esteem, somewhat selfish, exhausting…….my compulsive lying husband

    1. Anonymous

      Agree with you mine is the same and his daughter and family! It is even more exhausting us telling the truth and they continuously keep forcing they’re own lies! When for a fact when happening events and they distort everything and lies about it to get away with they’re own sins.

  6. Ms. Moneec

    I would like to say that I truly enjoyed the insight from each post–given about habitual LIARS! I never thought in my 52 years of living, that I would be confronted with this situation from a close family member. This person’s lies are so delusional that they are willing to sacrifice the love of their own family members to keep the LIES going, even when they know that other’s may be lying or them, or better yet, telling the truth! It’s amazing how far some family member will go to distort the truth , and try to talk down about anyone they deem a truthful THREAT to the BS! It’s really EYE opening and disappointing at the same time. I would not be as concerned about them, had it not be for the fact that this person gave birth to my GRANDCHILDREN, and they in return have to endure their mother’s DENIAL AND LIES about almost any thing until they get grown and move out!

  7. Last First

    My next oldest brother is the same way. Middle child syndrome is what I call it. He is 21 months older. That’s what started his lying. I was born with a head full of blond hair and as an analogy the great eye from the dark tower Moved from him to me. He is still the same today as a man in his sixties. He not only lies but he has always been a bad influence leading me his little brother into criminal acts and drugs. He has always had his hand out offering me drugs. I think subconsciously he is trying to kill me or destroy me anyway he could. It took the passing of my last parent alive and coming close to death because of meth that finally woke me up. I take full responsibility for my choices, I am not blaming my brother.

  8. B

    Some of what is said here in this article is note worth but most is what I see in society to cover the true facts. Truth is present with facts, not opinions or words as this article suggested.

  9. Sensible_American_1234

    It’s really frustrating. You can’t even have a relaxing conversation with your girlfriend without this woman lying. The most frustrating part of it all? The lies are not even necessary at all. I have caught her in so many lies, at one time, I stopped talking to her for a while, because I could not trust anything she said. Just last October, I broke up with her. When we began to talk once again, she told me she had not lied to me since we came back together, although she never accepted that she was lying before the breakup. The assumption then was, she was lying before, but she stopped after October, which was 3 years since we began to have a relationship.
    I tried to take her at her word but quickly discovered that she had told me another unnecessary lie about a very mundane matter. I left her for good last month. She is otherwise a nice person, but her character is incompatible with mine because of the lies.

  10. Help me Understand!

    I’m leaving this message because I’m desperate. My sister is not only a Habitual Liar she’s also a Narcissist which makes it so hard to be around her. I love this child so much but cannot for the life of me understand why she does these things! I don’t believe it’s a choice because she’s been this way since she was very small. Not only does she lie about things but actually believes them too. Just one example telling a guy she was pregnant, now I’ve heard women doing this however this child went to the point where she taped down the corners of different size pillows and placed them inside a workout jumpsuit so when she went around town, she looked like she was pregnant. One day I was helping her clean out her closet and found one and asked what it was, she grabbed it out of my hands and just laughed it off. Sorry to say I didn’t catch on. A month or so later while I was at her house a car pulled up with two young girls and asked me where she was. I told her she was inside the house then my sister saw them and started yelling for them to go away. They started yelling back that they had a right to see their nephew. Can you say OMG!!!! Then the pillow in the workout suit made sense…..or did it. Who goes that far to lie!!! This last one was telling me she had this 5 bedroom house. I couldn’t figure out why we never had Thanksgiver there or wasn’t ever invited. She sent me many pictures of the home and went on and on about how beautiful it was. Long story short when I finally asked for the address she gave it to me and told me to F off. Then started sending me pictures again of this house. When I looked it up I said to her “I think you gave me the wrong number because this house doesn’t look anything like the pictures you’re sending me, and you better get over there because someone is in your driveway”. After that all I got was a lot of rage and cussing about how I ruined the Holidays. What the hell over! I just don’t think there’s anything else I can do but she’s my baby sister. Oh, and getting her help is a slap in the face because I’m the one with the problem.

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