I Hate Liars

I lie sometimes. I say things that aren’t true and send them off into the universe, giving karma the middle finger. But my lies are small and largely inconsequential. I lie mostly about stupid stuff like when someone asks me if I’ve seen a certain movie and I say yes even though I haven’t. This is a courtesy lie though. Instead of making the person explain the plot and the significance, I’m allowing them to just make their point and move on to the next topic. See? Easy breezy.

Some people I know though—people who I have actually been good friends with for certain periods of time—are pathological liars. They’ll lie about anything, no matter how big or small, out of a compulsion or an insecurity or, as often is the case, they’re just insane. I hate these people. They weird me out. Their stories often don’t add up and they get  caught in a lie, which you just usually have to ignore because it would be too uncomfortable to call them out on it. So you just have to pretend what they’re saying is true while nodding politely even though you’re secretly freaking out. Yeah. Having pathological liars for friends is not fun.

I once lived with a girl who would lie about everything. She claimed she was a nationally-ranked tennis player, even though she was a waitress at a trendy restaurant, and she once told me that a coffee she purchased at a pricey cafe cost her fifteen dollars. Fifteen dollars for a cup of coffee. When someone tells you something that is so blatantly a lie, what do you say exactly? “That’s impossible. A coffee can’t cost that much. Show me your receipt!” You can let then know that what they’re telling you is hard to believe but what you can’t get in their face about it. Because oftentimes, compulsive liars believe their own stories. They’re, in fact, delusional. And it’s not worth trying to fight it. All you can do is tiptoe out the backdoor while imagining the score from Psycho to be playing.

I had another friend who lied mostly out of insecurity. He told people he lived in Bel Air when he actually lived in Sherman Oaks (Oh, the private shame of living in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the Valley!) and when he took a leave of absence from the school we both attended in New York, he told everyone he was transferring to UCLA. These lies I understand more. I guess it’s more chic to say you live in Bel Air and it’s understandable that someone would feel embarrassment for taking a year off of school. But, still. Why? Why do you need to do it? Why do you need to lie to your closest friends—people who know the real story. I understand lying to an intimidating acquaintance but not your close friends. That’s different. That’s like a weird betrayal.

To be fair, I think compulsive lying is a symptom of a much larger problem, one that’s possibly a type of mental disorder. And to those who don’t feel the need to lie constantly, it comes off as bizarre behavior. It’s crazy how common it is though. I bet everyone who’s reading this knows someone like the two people I just described. Isn’t that sort of nuts? Interestingly, people who lie about bigger things than coffee and their address don’t offend me so much. I understand why someone would lie about cheating. I understand why someone would lie about doing drugs. That makes sense to me. There’s something substantial to cover up. But there seems to be no valid reason to lie about something like the price of a coffee drink other than to do it for the sake of lying, which is terrifying.

Thankfully, I’ve since cut out those liars from my life and if one of my friends starts feeding me BS, I’m quick to call them out on it. Because we all lie a little bit but that doesn’t mean we should always get away with it. TC mark

image – Pinocchio

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


More From Thought Catalog

  • Taylor

    Dear Diary, 
    Someone lied to me today, so I ranted about it on Thought Catalog.

  • Anonymous

    People who lie are attention whores, they tend to like exaggerating…or as you said, out of insecurity

  • Brooke

    My mother is a compulsive liar. Makes it easy to spot in other people. Makes me not even try to be friends with those people. 

    • Guest

      Mine is, too. It really saddens and embarrasses me (but mostly sad). I get this sinking feeling when I see her with someone and she is telling them these stories that can’t possibly be true. That moment when the other person realizes, “wow…this woman is crazy” and you see them try to escape is truly heartbreaking. I mean, she is my mom. You don’t want to have to see sh*t like that. She lies about literally everything and does it so often that I don’t think she is even conscious of it. You’re right–it makes it easy to spot pathological liars in my day-to-day life and I stay as far away from that type of person as possible. 

  • Jay

    This made me want to stop lying. NO that wasn’t a lie. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    Next time you rant against liars, just think of what would happen to the lie
    detector business if  liars didn’t exist. Assemblers of the device,
    polygraphers, schools for training polygraphers would all be out of business.
    That’s the last thing we need in this economy. 

    • MC

      And lawyer! And politicians! Our country would collapse.

    • Laura

      That’s an interesting counterpoint. However, I doubt the lie detector business is making much of a profit from the girl who lies about the price of her cup of coffee.

  • AMY

    This is very relatable, thanks Ryan!

  • Brian George Wu

    About six months ago I was interviewing at a small start up in the area that was developing an app for smart phones – wanting to help with development. They had 1 developer, really a junior developer, at the time. Three months later, without even discussing the situation with him, they fired the developer because he had gone to get outside help. They threatened to sue him and took away all of his equity. They then hired a more senior developer and he, with the help of some outsourced work from a firm in India, developed the app. Two weeks ago, when the developer came to work, the most senior members had moved their company to a bigger city without having paid the developer or the outsourced firm. They left the developer with no job and no equity. He came to work, and they were gone. The owner of the company is a compulsive liar, but he has the money to cover it up. 

    When I was interviewing with them six months ago, it seemed like such a solid gig and they seemed like a really great group of employees. I’m lucky I didn’t end up there.

    • Guest

      cool story, hansel

  • Catt

    As a compulsive liar I have to say, unless a liar is truly deluded, they probably feel just as confused and guilty about their lies as you do listening to them. I oftentimes can’t stop myself from saying something, and once it’s crawled out of my mouth I don’t want to immediately say “Sorry. That wasn’t true” because god, would that be awkward. So instead, I roll with it and try not to let the other person ask too many questions.

    Do I do it for a reason? No. It’s usually stuff that doesn’t even necessitate a lie (Instead of saying “I’m late because I left late” I’ll blame traffic, or the car, or say I stopped for gas) but I can’t help lying about it anyway. So I guess what I’m driving at is that compulsive liars are just that, compulsive, not malicious, and it’s nearly impossible to make oneself stop.

    • http://twitter.com/mung_beans Mung Beans

      I lie about things like Ryan said in the first paragraph – sometimes I’ll say I’ve seen a movie if I haven’t or say I’ve read a book or something.  And I usually say ‘oh sorry, that was a lie’ or something after.  Maybe it’s just that I always accidentally end up lying to the sorts of people who want to, like, talk about the movie… but it hasn’t seemed to harm me much socially.  

      ‘Oh sorry!  I made that up.’

  • aqf

    hey look! some people who are weird!


  • Guest

    I know this girl that told me a huge elaborate lie about how a pedophile raped her best friend and was then after her and her boyfriend and he kept attacking them and following them and then he ended up killing her boyfriend and a lot of people cut her off once we realized this was a big made-up tale that she used to get loads of attention and it was just insane. She hasn’t talked about any of it since. 

  • Heyey

    I had a friend that told me he had a drug-addicted sister who went to rehab at the best facility in the country. He then called me over the summer and told me she died. I found out later that he never had a sister. 

  • lovejasmine

    try dating a pathological liar

  • http://www.danerickson.net/super-habit-8-build-positive-relationships/ Super Habit #8: Build Positive Relationships – Dan Erickson

    […] who lie to you: I hate liars! When people lie to you it creates stress and turmoil. If you have a friend or family member who […]

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