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Liar, liar pants on fire. Everyone has heard this phrase as a kid growing up, but not many are aware of the complexity and depth of what a lie and the lie teller really is. Lies are told daily, some concealing, others falsifying. Some white, while others bold. Rather the intention of the lies are pure or evil, a lie is still indeed a lie and is full of deception. In this article, we will be discussing the various types of lies and liars and how to coexist with them.

So let's begin with the basics. What is a lie?

According to Merriam-Webster, a lie is to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive; to create a false or misleading impression; an act in which a person makes a deliberate choice to mislead another person without giving prior notification of that intention.

Most people tell lies with the intention of the lie being concealing or falsifying. A concealing lie is that of withholding some sort of information. Example: When asked by your significant other how your day was at work, you shrug it off and refrain from mentioning that you were actually laid off that day.

While a falsifying lie is false information that is presented as the truth. Example: When asked by your significant other how your day was at work, you say, “Great! I was promoted,” when in reality you were laid off.

Listed below are the various types of lies:

* White Lie- a harmless or trivial lie often told to avoid hurting someone's feelings. Often seen as the least serious out of all lies.

* Bold Faced Lie- a person who tells something that others know to be a lie. This is like telling a kid that chocolate is bad when you are eating one yourself.

* Broken Promises- failing to keep a spoken promise or commitment. These lies become damaging when the person who promised something never planned on keeping their word in the first place.

* Lie of Fabrication- fabrication is telling others something that you don't know is sure to be true. Fabrications are extremely hurtful because they lead to rumors being spread that can often lead to the damage of someone's reputation.

* Lies of Deception- a person who creates an impression that can mislead others by creating a false impression/or by not telling all of the facts deliberately.

* Lying in Exaggeration: exaggeration is enhancing a truth by adding lies to it. The person who exaggerates usually mixes truths and untruths to make themselves look impressive to others. An exaggerator can weave truth and lies together so well that they can cause confusion, even to the liar. After a while the exaggerator begins to believe his or her exaggeration.

Now let’s tackle the various types of liars:

* The Compulsive Liar: Compulsive liars lie because of several reasons. However, you can always find out if they are lying. Their stories don’t usually add up. They are also very obvious and display the classic lying behaviors, such as avoiding eye contact, breaking out into a sweat, and tripping over their words or rambling.

There are two kinds of compulsive liars: narcissistic liars and habitual liars.

* Narcissistic liars usually have narcissistic personality disorder. These people usually make up grand stories centered around themselves. They are also prone to embellishment. Narcissistic liars always make themselves out to be the conquering heroes, no matter what the situation is. Most of the stories they narrate seem a bit far-fetched or are downright unbelievable. They demand attention and deny any type of responsibility.

* Habitual liars also known as Pathological Liars constantly lie, practically all the time. The urge to lie is compulsive. For them, lying has become a regular habit, and they see no harm in doing so. They don’t know when or why they are lying and are incapable of being honest with not only others, but with themselves. Due to this, it’s impossible to have an authentic relationship with the pathological liar; their reality shifts on a whim. Treatment for a pathological liar is complicated because with them lying isn't a choice. They are usually completely unaware that they are lying to begin with, thus making it challenging to fix a problem that they don't even know they are committing.

* The Intentional Liar: This type of liar enjoys pushing your buttons. They lie for the fun of it – for the sake of entertainment. It makes them feel powerful and in control. The people they lie to are their pawns. They often desire an audience. While the intentional liar is similar to the pathological liar in some ways, they differ in that they’re fully aware of their untruths. The intentional liar is the high school quarterback who asks the least popular girl to prom… and then tells her it was just a prank – in front of all his friends.

Sometimes, the intentional liar poses as a jokester, but they’re malicious and cruel. The only reason they’re not ranked higher than the pathological liar is that by possessing awareness, they at least have the capacity to change.

* The Manipulative Liar: They lie to get what they want. They have an end goal and will do or say whatever it takes to achieve it. They often use flattery or say what they think you want to hear in order to get a promotion, make a sale, get elected… or get in your pants.

Like the pathological liar, you won’t know where you stand with the manipulative liar. (Does she think you’re witty? Or does she like free dinner?) The manipulative liar is not malicious, but they can still cause harm.

* The Protective Liar: This type of liar is at times dangerous, but can also be perceived as noble; it all depends on what (or who) they’re protecting. They’ll go to any length to protect a secret, be it the murder of their lover’s wife or a demotion at work. They have no moral objections to lying as long as it serves their purpose.

They may protect your secrets as well, making them a loyal friend or spouse.

The danger lies in who or what they choose to protect. This type of liar may posses dark secrets that would shake you to the core if revealed. You’ll never know what they keep hidden and therefore, you’ll never (fully) know who they are. Their secret could be as benign as a childhood stutter… or it could be devastating and unspeakable, such as carrying on a secret love affair with your best friend or a past as a child sexual molester.

* The Avoidant Liar: They strive to avoid anything they find unpleasant; instead of being honest, they offer partial truths or deflect. It could be that the avoidant liar is evading conflict or doesn’t want to complete a particular task. Maybe they don’t want to be judged. Instead of being straightforward, they make excuses or dance around the truth.

For example, the avoidant liar who opts out of a family dinner because they can’t stand their mother-in-law pleads a migraine. Or the avoidant liar who oversleeps and is late to work tells their boss they got a flat tire. And the avoidant liar who drunkenly spills red wine on the white carpet blames it on the dog.

Avoidant liars are frustrating because they often don’t say what they mean; you can never be sure if you’re getting the truth, a half truth, or a made-up excuse.

* The Impressive Liar: They aim to impress. This person might not see themselves as a liar; they may not even realize they’re being deceitful. They fabricate to gain the approval of others. They may stretch the truth to make a story a bit funnier. They fake a feeling to seem more self-assured than they are.

Lying to impress is more of a habit than a conscious act. The impressive liar believes their own stories after telling them time after time. (For example, after multiple retellings of a bar fight, the impressive liar actually believes that he knocked out three burly bikers, when in reality, he broke his fist attempting to punch the bartender for cutting him off.)

Impressive liars are mostly harmless, but can be annoying, especially when they’re obviously fibbing. They pose little risk… but why spend time with someone who feels the need to pretend to be something they’re not?

* The Lazy Liar: Sometimes, speaking candidly requires an explanation. The lazy liar streamlines the truth because it’s less complicated than giving the full narrative. For example, saying, “I was late because I grabbed the wrong report” is easier than “I’m late because after I grabbed the report, I realized one page was missing, and when I went back, I had to reprint the entire report because the page numbers were off and the heading was on a separate sheet. I then stopped to use the bathroom.” (Not worth the effort, right?)

Lazy lying is (relatively) harmless. The lazy liar doesn’t share the full story; rather, they opt to recount the edited “movie version” of the truth as opposed to the 700-page book version. (The only time lazy lying can be problematic is when the lazy liar deems a detail unimportant when it is, in fact, imperative.)

* The Tactful Liar: They are considerate and well-meaning. They offer overly-optimistic reassurances when things aren’t going well and find themselves saying things like, “It wasn’t that bad” (even when yes, it was indeed that bad).

They’re pleasant to be around. But you also won’t know when there’s spinach in your teeth, if your fly is down, when your breath is bad, or if your PowerPoint presentation was dull. The tactful liar has the best of intentions; they don’t want to upset you or hurt your feelings. What they lack in candor, they make up for in amiability.

* Self Sacrificing Liar: This type of liar is exceedingly rare. The heroic liar is similar to the protective liar in that they’ll go to extremes to protect, but in their case, they lie to defend (or safeguard) someone they love (or to save a stranger even, if they believe it’s the right thing to do).

For example, if two children (brothers) are playing, and the youngest breaks a lamp, the older (heroic liar) will take the blame to save the younger from a spanking.

How to Deal With Them:

There are many different ways of dealing with liars. The best thing you can do is not react aggressively or with anger – although this is easier said than done and is incredibly difficult.

The liar is expecting an explosive reaction from you anyway and will use this as a diversion to turn the entire situation against you. Be aware that their version of events is likely false & never let them sway your mind to think that what you know, isn’t true (gaslighting). The best way of dealing with liars is to firmly but politely confront them, tell them that you are aware of the truth, and that you won’t stand being lied to. It’s important to establish boundaries especially when dealing with those who are being deceptive.

If you find out that someone has told what they call a “white lie”, and the lie doesn’t really harm anyone, it is probably best to let it go without consequence while still addressing it. You may hint to the person that you are aware of the truth and are willing to let it go this ONE time, but you’re not going to allow them to make it into a habit. Lying is a very complex issue, especially if a family member is involved. The best way to protect yourself is by determining what kind of liar you are dealing with. No matter how much the other person tries to sway you, keep your morals intact and remain confident in the truth. Stick to the facts and don’t give in – this is the best way to deal with liars, whether big or small, manipulative, or harmless.

Hopefully you found this article informative and now know how to coexist with a liar and the lies that they might tell.

sending love & light ❤️

- Maya Benberry