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?