Looking for guidance on how to deal with a lying friend

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    I have a friend of mine that sometimes makes it look like they are lying.  When I ask a question about a given topic, they often back pedal and start telling me what they believe I would like to hear.

    I’m not sure how to deal with this situation.  I would like to let them know I suspect they’re lying and that I’m not offended in an attempt for them to be more honest.  However, as I’m sure one might suspect, this usually blows up in my face.  I probably do not go about this in the best way either, I just tell them “no [this] happened” (the opposite of what they are saying).

    I realize now that my behavior is not helping the situation as the confrontation results in a worse situation than it started out in.

    This causes me to sometimes suspect they are lying, and repeat a similar action as above, even in situations where I may not have fully conclusive evidence.

    I’m having a hard time knowing when to trust people, as I’ve often discovered later in life, that I’ve been told a great many lies that I didn’t catch.

    Now I’m trying to be aware when someone is lying to me, however, I’m feel clueless as to how to deal with the situation.

    There are a few questions around this theme I would like guidance on:

    1) What to do when you suspect, but are not 100% sure, that someone is lying to you (someone you care about)?

    2) What to do when you know for 100% sure that someone is lying to you (someone you care about)?

    3) What frame of mind should I take when dealing with people over all? (how to trust without being blind)?

    The other part of me says to just let it go, but then I feel like I’m allowing them to believe that I’m just buying what they are telling me and I’m also not able to get to the bottom of it to know if I was correct in my suspicions were correct in the first place.

    Thank you for reading this.


    Dear River:

    My answer:

    Regarding #3: the frame of mind when dealing with people regarding truth vs. lie: get to know the motivation of the person lying, or suspected of lying. Usually the motivation is the same for a lot of the lies. If one’s motivation is to avoid conflict at the cost of the truth, that is, he or she will tell you anything they think you want to hear. You can expect therefore that whenever there may be conflict… there will be a lie.

    If one’s motivation to lie is to get money out of you, then you can expect that whenever they talk about money, it may very well be a lie.

    It will give you some clarity in the truth vs. lie salad out there when you learn the motivation behind a person’s lying.

    When you talk to a person who has lied to you repeatedly, the frame of mind I do not suggest is to try to figure out what of what they say is a lie and what is true (No one lies all the time. So there will be truth there, in that salad). Avoid this mental unnecessary torture and don’t try to figure it out. Assume it is all a lie, see the person talk, don’t hear what they say, best you can, and in most circumstances.

    Regarding #2 and #3: check to see if the person is aware that they are lying. Gently ask for clarification of inconsistencies, watch their response. In either case, tell the person what doesn’t make sense, what is incongruent in what they said. If they don’t provide you with a reasonable explanation, then tell them that what they said is not true. If this is ongoing… see them talk, don’t hear what they say, or better don’t spend much time, if any, with that person.

    * comment: people are not computers and congruence can not be 100% accurate at all times:  memory is not perfect, feelings change, same word means something a bit different to different people, so allow reasonable incongruence in people’s verbal output.




    Thank you so much anita!

    You’ve given me such a good answer and in a way I can easily understand.

    I will do the best I can to let this sink in.

    Thanks again so much!


    You are welcome, River. Anytime.


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