If you notice these 7 behaviors, you might be dealing with a chronic liar

by Brendan Brown | December 16, 2023, 5:17 pm

None of us want to be lied to, but the unfortunate truth is that we often are. 

In one study, a whopping 13% of people identified themselves as pathological liars. That is, they told an average of ten lies per day.

Another study found that the top 1% of liars averaged 17 lies per day!

So what does this mean?

It means we are probably dealing with chronic liars more often than we know.

You would want to know when, right?

It can be difficult to spot, but fortunately, there are some things we can watch out for. 

If you notice these seven behaviors, you might well be dealing with a chronic liar. 

1) They tell exaggerated or highly dramatic stories 

One of the first things you might notice when dealing with a chronic liar is that they tell highly dramatic stories and tend to exaggerate things. 

You know, that type; stories that seem too unbelievable to be true. 

Oftentimes, the details are unverifiable, but you just get the feeling that their stories are just a bit over the top. 

While it may be entertaining to listen to these stories, and such embellishments may seem innocent enough, this is a clear-cut sign that this person may be a chronic liar. 

These types of lies are often told in order to impress people or for personal gain.

In many cases, they may not hesitate to do the same when the stakes are higher. 

2) Their words don’t match their actions 

Another sign of a chronic liar is that they talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. 

And they always have some excuse for not doing so. 

Do you have a friend who claims to run 10km alone every day?… But every time you go running together, he never seems to run that 10km. 

He has a bad ankle or didn’t get enough sleep, or forgot to have breakfast. 

There’s always an excuse. 

When someone’s words don’t match their actions repeatedly, there is a good chance you are dealing with a chronic liar. 

3) They pass off others’ stories as their own 

Picture this. You, Tom, and Bob, are colleagues. 

After work one evening, you all go out for a few beers, as is normal at your company. 

Tom tells you and Bob a story. It’s a great story. You both love it. 

The following month, you again find yourself out for drinks with some work colleagues, but this time, Tom isn’t there. 

You overhear Bob telling a story that seems to be entertaining everyone in the group, so you listen in. Turns out Bob’s story is remarkably similar to the story Tom told you the month previous. 

Bob has changed a few details, but the story is essentially the same, and he is passing it off as his own. 

Bob might well be a chronic liar.

4) Their story changes repeatedly

This one should be pretty obvious. 

If the details in someone’s story change repeatedly, they are probably lying. 

We all forget things, but we don’t fabricate details to fill in the bits that we forget; we just say we don’t remember. 

Chronic liars, because of the number of lies that they tell, often find it difficult to keep their stories straight. 

They also tend to add lies or change the details of their stories to make them more dramatic or entertaining. 

More entertaining they may be, but they are still lies. 

If you have noticed repeated changes in your friend’s or colleague’s stories,  he or she may well be a chronic liar. 

Move forward with caution. 

5) They include a lot of unverifiable details

As mentioned in the introduction to this post, many chronic liars can be skilled deceivers.

These are practiced liars who can be difficult to identify as they have nearly perfected it. 

They can keep their story straight. They don’t make it obvious when they have stolen someone else’s story and passed it off as their own. 

They have learned to tame their desire to over-exaggerate.  

So what can we watch out for here?

Lots of unverifiable details. 

Practiced liars usually don’t want to be caught or to be known as liars. That would probably ruin the pleasure of it. 

Therefore, they mix the truth with lots of unverifiable little lies. This makes what they say more believable. 

However, if we pay attention, we can spot it. 

The next behavior is another that is common with practiced, skilled chronic liars. 

6) They are overly-detailed 

Another habit of chronic liars is telling overly-detailed stories

They add a lot of detail and even background to their lies to make them seem more believable. 

These details are often unnecessary to the story but are delivered in order to add some authenticity

A lot of liars get caught out by saying the wrong thing or including details that can be verified as lies. 

However, highly-skilled liars have perfected this, too, and use these details to make it all seem more believable. 

Many still, however, tend to add a little too much irrelevant detail. If you have noticed this in someone’s behavior, it is a sign that you may be dealing with a chronic liar and possibly a very skilled one.

7) They lie when there is no reason to 

 A very obvious sign of a chronic liar is when they lie when there is absolutely no reason to. 

Let’s face it, we all lie.  

But it’s usually for some purpose. We lie to make someone feel better, or we lie to escape some kind of punishment. 

But as noted by WebMD, some lie for the sake of lying. They lie when there is no logical reason to do so. 

You might be surprised how common this is. Research suggests that 5% of lies are told for no reason at all!

Of course, you will have to be closer to the person to know this is the case. However, if you notice this behavior, it’s a strong signal that you may be dealing with a chronic liar. 

The bottom line 

We all want to know who we can trust in our personal and professional lives, and being aware of the behaviors common to chronic liars can help us to identify those who we can put faith in.

Some of the behaviors, like overexaggerating, may seem harmless and even entertaining at times, but it’s important to remember that these habits may show up in more serious situations. 

Some are obvious, like when you notice someone lying for no reason. 

Others, like overly-detailed stories, are less so, and we need to be on our toes to notice them. 

As always, I hope you found this post helpful. I hope it has shed some light on those in your life who you might need to be more careful interacting with.

Until next time. 

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