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What to Do With a Friend Who Lies?

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.

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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).

114 comments

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10:15AM PDT on Jul 30, 2014

I also have a friend that lies "spins the truth" and at first i use 2 believe what he was saying was in-fact true. It has only been the past year or so that i have learned it was all made up or 'half truths' I tired 4 ages to not let it bother me but lately i am really struggling to keep quite about it. It's gotten so bad to the point where I feel he is insulting me and telling me what i know about something is in-fact wrong and what he says is correct, i've tried talking to him but he talks over me louder and quicker so i can't keep up and get my point across to him. When he does get found out he just says 'oh well it's not what i have been told'
I bet he doesn't even realize when he tells the truth or not any more, I am very sorry to go on but i have never spoken about this and i feel so much better now. thank you for your time

10:00AM PDT on Mar 25, 2014

I've been good friends with someone for 21 years and he's always lied about things. I've let it go on for far too long. Now it's become personal, whereas before, his lies were more general and not really involving me. I decided recently that he wasn't worth my time and aggravation, so I let him go. It's tough, because he has so many great qualities and I like him a lot, but at the same time, I cannot let him treat me like a doormat. There must be consequences. If he truly values my friendship, which I doubt that he does, then someday he will remedy his ways and reenter my life. Until then, he's no friend of mine and that's just the way it will have to be, unfortunately.

1:44PM PST on Dec 29, 2013

cut that bitch off

9:02AM PDT on Jul 22, 2013

My so called " friends" change things I say or say I said/ done something and then call me a liar they even made my own sister turn on me and change what she once was ( she used to be the perfect sister) so the last thing I said to them over the phone( house phone baring in mind they live up the street from me and their mother is more than likely gonna come to my house and shout at me or something ) was Leah was the perfect sister before she met you mutts ( they and my sister said that I called them ugly mutts) so that's one example another is I said that my grandad said he will think about going to America and they said that I said that we were going to America so I'm going to shun them out of my life forever and play with their next door neighbour ,Nikita , and they told her that I was just using her when I'm not because she is actually really nice then they talked about her behind her back saying that she was just jealous ( they asked my sister to stay around then nakita asked me to sleep around hers) and I forgot the other one

9:03AM PST on Dec 14, 2012

I am sitting here reading this and I have come to realize that this is my story....and the person who lied was my best friend. I have completely remover her from my life. We were friends for over 15 years in the middle of those 15 years we had a falling out. Then we resumed our friend shop almost 7 years ago. Within in the last year I have come to realize how fake her ass really was, judging me behind my back. Spinning the truth to make herself better. I cannot be friends with her anymore. I was so honest and open with her about everything then to find out who she really was. It was a hard decision and I cried over it but it had to be made.

3:32AM PST on Nov 7, 2012

Stop judging & just set them free!! Otherwise you are enabling them or condoning their actions. Just release them in your mind, then keep busy with other things and/or friends. If you don't like it, change it!! Stop whining about it!

3:22AM PST on Nov 7, 2012

Pal, there's no type actually,just today found out that i am in a same situation :-( ,
I met a person,for the first time someone i thought i found out someone ilike me, but soon i realised all were lie, i mean theoretically,literally,actually, all he ever said were lie,
About college, plans,i mean even wherefore is right now,,,,the would always agree,,then break heart....oh god,,,,
Pal u r not alone,
I think i'll never talk,but realised,, i have gone too far,,, i wish i find the reasons,
For know i am not wrong about the feeling,
I hope i see the truth of though lie , the greatest friend i had, even if the truth ain't good, but it's friendship,, we'll make it good,,,,l
Please reply.

1:05PM PDT on Oct 18, 2012

Discard!

10:46AM PDT on Oct 17, 2012

some people are so blind to themselves they believe their own lies
it's sad

3:52AM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

HOW do you feel after being around the friend is who is
lying?
bluffing?
exaggerating?
causing invented drama?

DO you feel in CONTROL? like you can trust the source of information?
Or do you feel like you have to correct that person often to "not talk behind others backs.." or "is that what you say behind my back... remind me never to cross you or else I will get...."

THE TEST- if you feel crummy after being around that friend.... then it is time to stop being around that not reliable person or persons. Stop giving them information or attention- both of which are getting used on you to discredit you too.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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