"Long story short, it finally hit me today that my friend I’ve known for a few years might be a pathological liar. We were talking today and she said she had to leave for a doctor appointment so we left it at that. Then on Facebook, I see she was tagged at a concert literally an hour later! We’ve always been friendly, but there was also something off about her stories.
"She’d tell one friend one thing, then tell another friend the same story but with completely different details. It’s just very bizzare. She’s not malicious or anything, she’s actually really super sweet, but man, sometimes she forgets what she tells you, so ends up telling repeat stories with completely different details. I’m wondering if she does it for attention (she will tell these epic stories that make you scratch your head). Even our mutual friends are puzzled by her.
Does anyone have friends like this and is it possible to maintain a friendship with a pathological liar? We have always been very friendly but the fact I’ve known her for years but do not REALLY know her always made me wonder."
Another woman, studying psychology, responded with some advice.
"I had a friend that was almost exactly like yours, and somehow only a few of us could see it. As a psych major, I’m almost certain she had narcissitic personality disorder. She always had to be the center of attention and always had to one up everyone. Her stories were just illogical and ill-conceived most of the time. On top of that, she was always claiming that all of these men were falling in love with her, fawning over her, etc.. when in reality, I would talk to them about it and they hardly knew her/thought she was crazy."
Yet another reader had a hilarious anecdote of her own.
"I know a guy who consistently claims he has an allergy to mint that causes him to forget how to speak English as soon as he smells it. He’ll speak French or Hebrew for like half an hour. I’m no stranger to weird allergies (I’m allergic to the sun) but come on there’s no way that’s possible."
Another advises that if the lies are harmless, to let it go.
"I have another friend like yours. She tells me things that don’t make a lot of sense. When I compare notes with other friends we can usually put the story together. However, these lies are not dramatic and don’t affect my life the way my other friend did. She is also a great listener and gives honest opinions, which is weird because she lies about other things, so I will definitely not be cutting off our relationship. If her lies don’t stress you out and cause drama I honestly wouldn’t even say anything."
Have you been dealing with a dishonest "friend"?
"What about the times when you have a nagging sense that you’re being lied to but aren’t certain and don’t want to come across as paranoid or accusatory? While too much skepticism is never healthy, a small dose can be a very good thing, especially since we’re so poor at recognizing lies," he writes.
He offers up four solutions; do nothing, deflect with humor, play dumb, or call them on it. If you do decide to call them out, he says: "You just need to think carefully about the best way to do this, and impulsively bashing them is never a smart move. You may choose to have a conversation with the liar in private or with others whom the lie affects. In either case, it’s important you have evidence that backs up your claim, or you very well may be called a liar yourself."
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