A pathological liar is incredibly skilled at lying. They can keep up with their twisted stories and do it so smoothly that it will be almost impossible to notice.

This can be a habit or simply insecurities, but ultimately, lying makes them feel better. Although everyone can tell little lies here and there, pathological liars can ruin their own relationships and the relationships around them by the stories that they concoct.

Here are 5 signs to help you spot a pathological liar:

1. Incredibly smooth conversation skills

Pathological liars have developed an incredibly sooth set of communication skills so that they can sell their lies more successfully. They will appear to be confident and genuine in what they are saying, fooling even the most sceptical of people.

They can talk so smoothly that you will just automatically believe what they say, even if there is no truth in it whatsoever. It can be eerie how well they can lie straight to your face, and finding out about these lies can be a little scary.

2. They love attention

Pathological liars really love attention and they will go to extreme lengths to get it. This can come in the form of ridiculous lies such as family issues, personal issues and illnesses to try and garner sympathy and attention from those around them.

This bid for attention boosts their self-esteem and makes them feel good about themselves. But it can be much more detrimental to those around them than they realise. Constantly giving attention and sympathy to someone who has no real life need for it can take attention from other areas of life, and this can have serious consequences.

3. They don’t fear consequences

Pathological liars have the main goal of lying and getting away with it, creating an alternate reality for themselves that they feel more confident in. They don’t play the situation forward to the consequences that may come out of their lies. They simply want to get away with it in the here and now.

So, when the lies start to unravel, they can become defensive and cruel to those around them in an attempt to keep the lies covered. This can filter into other areas of their lives, as they don’t have the habit of forward thinking to back them up in dangerous situations.

4. Loves to have the last word

Proving a point is one of the best ways to keep a lie under wraps, and this usually comes in as having the last word in an argument. Those who have the last word generally feel as though they have won an argument. So if the pathological liar has won an argument, then you will generally believe their propaganda.

Arguing with a pathological liar can be all out war, ecause they are determined to win and won’t let you get a word in edgewise.

5. They can be subtly manipulative

It is natural to manipulate small situations to end in your favour, but a pathological liar takes this to a whole new level. They’re a professional at getting people to do exactly what they want to do, when they want them to do it, and it can be a little frightening.

They know exactly how to distract you and convince you of their way of thinking, and they are almost always successful. Approach with caution if they are paying you a little too much attention because they may just see you as a means to an end.

What are the causes of pathological lying?

There has been extensive research into the causes of pathological lying, and there is no one answer as to why people feel the need to lie so compulsively. Although there have been personality disorders and behavioural disorders that have been associated with the need to lie, there is no simple cause of the issue.

We can’t answer the question of pathological liars with one simple answer. There are so many contributing factors that can cause someone to lie so often and become so convincing.

Most commonly, pathological liars are lying to try to hide behaviours or addictions that they are not ready to give up, such as alcoholism or drugs. So they lie in order to hide these behaviours and keep up these addictions.

In other cases, they have had a difficult upbringing and lying has become second nature for them in order to get by.

More seriously, however, pathological lying can be a symptom of a much greater problem. Pathological liars have been known to have personality disorders such as Narcissism or Borderline Personality Disorder. These disorders require professional medical help and can be dangerous if not properly addressed and treated.

Although these are extreme situations, you should always take caution when approaching a pathological liar. If it is someone you feel close to, then you should encourage them to seek help for this to find the underlying cause.


  1. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com
  2. https://www.semanticscholar.org

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