What to Do With a Friend Who Lies?
What do you do if someone close to you is a chronic liar? Should you stop talking to the person once you find out, and simply cut them out of your life? Or should you try to talk it out and reform the person? There is, of course, a third choice: you could gradually make peace with the fact that this person lies a lot, and just carry on living/loving.
Right now, I am not sure what to do.
I know not one but two chronic liars. One is the type who exaggerates everything and will almost never keep a promise. For him, the common themes are, “Oh Prague was beautiful,” (never mind that he does not possess a passport), and “But I did send it to you—did it not reach?”
So, no monumental lies here, but a series of annoying, upsetting little tales that make you want to shut the door on him.
The second is the kind of liar who spins stories about herself for fear of being judged or made to feel guilty. So, for years, she has been tweaking her personal reality to come across as one who is likeable, honest and in many ways, wronged by others. Having not seen any reason to doubt what I have been told, I have believed every word she has ever said.
But suddenly, and quite unintentionally, I stumbled upon evidence that refuted those words. Among other things, I now know that the people she criticised were not so bad after all, and because I began seeing them through her eyes, I also judged and shunned them. And now I am not only shaken, but confused.
One part of me says, it is her life, and after all, she has been lying about it only to protect herself, and not harm me. So, do I even have the right to be judgemental? After all, I too don’t tell everyone everything.
On the other hand, I feel angry, and let down. I wonder what friendship is all about if one must wear a mask even there. Whatever else I may have done, I have been transparent in this relationship. In fact, to me this friendship has always exemplified Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words: “A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him, I may think aloud.”
I’ve tried to talk it out, but she will not admit that she has lied. Only, this time I know the truth. And to let her go out of my life…is not easy at all.
What shall I do? I need advice.