7 Things a Habitual Liar Does (and How to Deal with Them)

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habitual liar

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.

Mendacity

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?

References:

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com
  2. https://www.lifehack.org
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Andreea is a freelance writer who is deeply passionate about the wonders of life, emotions and psychology. Her motto is, "What comes easy won't last long and what lasts long won't come easy."


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2 Comments

  1. Baffled May 19, 2018 at 4:19 am - Reply

    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.

    • Some Guy June 19, 2018 at 12:32 am - Reply

      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

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