How to Identify Symptoms of a Pathological Liar

When asked to identify the most important aspect of a successful friendship or relationship, most people would probably say the answer is trust. The ability to depend upon the honesty of another person is essential to a happy relationship--but if one person is a pathological liar, the path to a lasting friendship can be rocky.


    • 1

      Give your friend the benefit of the doubt unless you have proof that he is lying to you. A single lie does not make a person a pathological liar, especially if the lie stems from the desire to keep the person out of trouble.

    • 2

      Suspect stories that are too fantastical to be real. Some pathological liars need constant attention and they get it by telling stories that thrill and delight. Although there is a chance that the stories are true, if the person telling them constantly has stories of this nature, she might be lying.

    • 3

      Observe the intent of the stories. If you can determine no reason for the story, except to impress others, the storyteller might be a pathological liar. The liar may also lie so convincingly because he actually believes his own lies. Some pathological liars have successfully passed polygraph tests.

    • 4

      Question the person if you find inconsistencies in her stories. Because a pathological liar tells tall tales regularly, she may forget small details she told you previously.

    • 5

      Notice a need in a pathological liar to tell a bigger or better story than everyone else in the room. As a side effect of a narcissistic personality disorder, these people feel compelled to fabricate stories just to get attention.

    • 6

      Think twice before relying on the word of a person you think is a pathological liar. Accomplished liars may look you straight in the eye while telling you a total untruth.

Tips & Warnings

  • You might choose to remain in a relationship with a pathological liar if you understand he lies as a result of a mental illness and if you feel strongly enough to deal with the repercussions of not being able to trust the individual.
  • Explain the importance of trust to a friend who is a pathological liar, and encourage her to tell the truth even if it isn't exciting or flattering.
  • Don't accuse a person of lying unless you can back up your accusation.
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