On Liars

Everyone lies. Everyone. Yes, even you.

Now, they aren’t the so-called “big” lies, like putting something that isn’t true on a your professional resume or telling your spouse that you’re on a business trip while you’re sleeping with a colleague from work.

No, we all make small deceptions wherever we go, sometimes unintentionally and sometimes we willingly tell a “white lie” that, on the surface, appears harmless, like telling your spouse that they look “good in that dress” when they don’t or that you don’t really care what you want for lunch when you really do.

You know, those types of things.

But deceit is deceit—there isn’t any gray area. It is what it is.

What I’ve come to realize, though, is that there are a few different types of people in the world when it comes to lying and being deceitful:

  1. People who lie and who never back down from it.
  2. People who lie but, when caught, acknowledge the deception but never own it outright (or apologize).
  3. People who lie, are caught, and then admit that they were wrong and they apologize, but they have no intention on changing their behavior and make no actionable steps to do so.
  4. People who lie, are caught, admit to wrongdoing, and who make an attempt to change but do so in a vacuum or by themselves, ultimately failing to keep their promises long-term.
  5. People who lie, are caught, admit to wrongdoing, and then, with help, create a new environment around themselves (sometimes with new people) to keep them from falling back into old habits.

The last type know that, without community and without healthy relationships that give them encouragement, perspective, and advocacy, their deception (and desire to deceive) will eventually win the long-term war and old habits truly die hard (i.e. never die).

Our goal, as individuals and as a community is to help folks get from #1 to #5 because we all start at the first-step, learning to lie and be deceitful and then learning, over time, that it’s just not a good place to start and then stop—I see my children go through this phases and I’ve realized that many adults still haven’t completed the cycle (or gotten to the last step).

Now, what do you do if you find yourself in a (serious) relationship with folks who are consistently deceptive and deceitful with not just their words but their actions? At some point you may realize that they are beyond your help and they need assistance from folks that don’t include you.

Does this person, consistently, DO what they SAY they are going to do?

That can be incredibly hard, but, removing toxic relationships is part of growing up and is a large lesson on self-care. Remember, those who find themselves in toxic relationships are often the very ones who get hurt the most—the people distributing pain can be completely oblivious to the damage that they are causing!

Sometimes, you just need to walk away.

What happens if you’re “stuck” in a “committed” relationship?

  1. Get help. Get counseling. Get therapy. Now. Professional help is good because they are professionals—they do this all the time and have made it their life’s work to help people like you!
  2. Set up times to consistently talk about it with the other person(s). Schedule it in. Make it a habit of surfacing and re-surfacing this type of beliefs and behaviors.
  3. Focus on the behavior. Repeat offense is never fair and talk is very, very cheap.
  4. Realize that you’re also guilty of similar behavior. This should help keep you humble and grounded (hopefully) as you enter into these conversations.
  5. Create a plan, define what “success” looks like (and a time-table), come to terms and agreement, and then execute.

This is a messy, messy process because a relationship is involved. Relationships are always messy, but they can be worth it.

But, there’s no good reason to be stuck with a chronic liar, ever.