How to Deal with a Liar

How to deal with a liar? The truth is, if you can handle it, behavioral scientists report that during a 10-minute conversation people will lie two to three times, and if we are people, these statistics are true for you and me, too.

That’s a hard pill to swallow because we don’t like to be lied to, and we don’t like to be thought of as a liar, so we try to cover it up with withholding otherwise negative information (which is the unspoken lie of a weak-kneed chicken-hearted person, or people-pleaser). I know, “But I was trying to be nice,” but it’s still a lie.

And if you’re sensitive or aware enough to know when someone is lying to you, guess what? You’re wrong 47 percent of the time, so the joke’s on you.

Think law enforcement, CIA and lie detector professionals fare any better? Well, they do. They’re only wrong 40 percent of the time. Even with all the technology and behavioral science we can muster, only a seven percent increase in actual detection of a lie.

Even so, when you catch someone in a lie, it seems like such a betrayal or breach of trust how could anyone not take it personally?

So, what do you do when you catch someone in a lie?

Well, there are a couple of ways to approach the fact that someone has lied to you (assuming you know the facts, and that there is no other option than you’ve actually witnessed a bold-faced lie first hand).

Your first option is not to do anything, understanding that people lie all the time, and this person felt the inclination or need to lie based on any number of life circumstances and situations, and who knows? If you’d lived the same life and been faced with the same options at that particular point in time of your life, you may have responded the same way. Who knows? It could happen.

On the other hand, you could just laugh it off and make a joke of it, like it’s really no big deal. In this scenario, you might laughingly hint to what they might have said as being inaccurate or an exaggeration, without having to put the person on the spot. This gives them the un-threatened time and space to review what they’ve said and maybe consider approaching a more accurate story after they’ve had a chance to work it out for themselves.

You could take the Columbo approach, another non-threatening tactic, pretending that you’ve had a memory lapse, or appear to be confused because you’ve been juggling a lot of information that has become overwhelming and confusing. With this approach, you can query the person at leisure, by playing dumb, while continuing to ask questions to clarify your confusion, you’re likely to end up with a more accurate picture after some continued communication exchange.

Then, of course, there is the more direct option, which is to challenge their lie face-to-face, eye-to-eye. While this is the most direct approach, this is by far the most difficult and there is little or no margin for error. You must have your facts in order, in such a way so as not to be challenged yourself, or you could be labelled as a liar. In this direct fashion of facing off with the liar, it might be best done in private, or with others who may have been affected by the lie. Either way, be direct, keep control of your emotions, deal with the facts, and let the chips fall where they may.

Report the lie, if you feel the need to, to the proper authorities, manager(s), employers, agency, or victim, but if you do, keep it unemotional and stick only to the facts. Don’t use conjecture, accuse or try to speculate why this person feels as though they had to lie about anything. And if you are motivated by fear, anger or revenge, do not report it – at least not now – wait until you can make a report with complete control of your faculties. Often, after you’ve given yourself time to cool down, you might think that it wasn’t as much of a crisis as it felt like at the time, and you’ve avoided someone’s thinking that you’re over-reactive.

Above all, make note that you’re dealing with someone who has the propensity to lie. Try to cover your back by documenting all communication with this person. Try to communicate by verifiable methods such as email or texting. If this person is a highly advanced liar, they will not commit their words to writing. No problem, pay very close attention to what they say, noting the day(s), time(s), place(s) and player(s), then summarize their statement to him or her in a text or email just to confirm that you understood them correctly.

Please Lie to Me

Lies. We hear them all day long, every day of our lives and they make us feel good.

Even if the lies are horrific tales, they make us feel better about ourselves… because, after all, it could be worse. We could have been the unfortunate subjects of the tragic lie.

Our parents lie to us about Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Disney – the hallmark of all fanciful lies – spins a yarn so incredible, we can help but believe any web they weave, and the liest don’t stop there… We’re just getting started.

Go to school, read a book, watch the news, do a Google search. We’re surrounded by so many lies you couldn’t possibly discern what is truth, even if it was staring you in the face.

Are we all living one big lie?

Ever look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Who is that?” or “Who am I?” and not have any clue as to what the real answer to questions, like that, might be?

please-lie-to-me-it-makes-me-happy

But when you tell me good things about myself – even if they’re not true – doesn’t it make me feel better? And the bigger and more fantastic the lie is about me, the far better it feels. In fact, many of the happiest moments of my life were when I was surrounded and bathed in the most dishonest lies ever told.

Tell me lies: It makes me feel fabulous!

Let’s face it, being lied to makes you happy too.

Why am I happy when I am lied to? Because it feels so good to believe that the best things in life are not only possible, but it makes you feel like you are one of the lucky ones. So lucky, it’s as if you’ve just plucked the winning lottery ticket out of thin air. How much better does it get?

When people lie to me, it makes me happy. Tell me that I am amazing, that I look like a million dollars, that I am handsome or pretty, talented, unique, funny and/or brilliant and I will love it!

Please lie to me, it makes me happy. Don’t we all want a little bit of happiness? Sure, it may not last forever (or very long, for that matter) but in that moment we feel like we’re on top of the world.

Want to make me incredibly blissful? It’s easy; just tell me, “I will do anything to make you happy.” Aargh! You got me! Bull’s-eye! Right to the heart! I am yours!

Lie to me. Tell me that you love me, and make me the happiest person on this planet.

Please lie to me.
When you lie to me it makes me feel like I can do anything.
Please lie to me.
I will believe we can live in a world where we are free.
Please lie to me.
I will believe in true love between two for eternity.
Please lie to me.
I will believe we have a divine destiny.
Please lie to me.
So I can be happy.
Please lie to me.

Be a good liar

This doesn’t mean that you should be massively deceitful, though a high skill level in lying can be hugely effective if wielded masterfully.

What it means is

If you are going to lie, please do so with the best of intentions.

Narcissistic lies are simply destructive. While they may accomplish the desired results in the interim, the long lasting effects can be negative and can lead to the inability to ever be trusted by others.

On the other hand, if you have to lie – at the very least – make sure to make someone happy. There is a better chance of having a more meaningful social impact by telling what are commonly referred to as “white lies,” without malice of intent.

Take a moment to think, before answering,

How does my butt look in these jeans?