7 signs you’re not a difficult person, you just won’t tolerate dishonesty

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Is each person you encounter annoying you a bit? Are you getting into more arguments than you might like?

It could be easy to think that everyone in the office is simply stubborn — but it could also be because of you.

People avoid difficult people because they make life, well, complicated.

But what if you’re not actually a hard one to be around? 

Here are the 7 signs you’re not a difficult person; you just won’t tolerate dishonesty. 

Let’s dive in. 

1) You ask open-ended questions

People who tend to lie are less likely to say, “I don’t know,” but instead, they immediately offer an answer even if it’s not true. 

Asking questions is an effective way to unmask lying. This way, you come across as curious and not confrontational or suspicious so that other people are ready to give you more information. 

Questions could be about:

  • Things you don’t know the answer to but would like to learn about;
  • Things you know the answer to, but you want other people to express their opinion;
  • Things that both of you know the answer to, but you’d like to get some additional details.

While for some people, this may seem like you’re too into the details, you just want to make sure that others tell the truth, and you also value authenticity.

2) You tell people they’re lying

A pathological liar tells lies and stories that fall somewhere between conscious lying and delusion. They sometimes even believe their own lies.

It’s difficult to know how to deal with a pathological liar who may not always be conscious of their lying. Some do it so often that experts believe they may not know the difference between fact and fiction after some time.

Pathological liars also tend to be natural performers. They’re eloquent and know how to engage with others when speaking.

But out of all the people who might put up with someone’s lies–you won’t. You’d tell them straight in their face that they’re lying just because you won’t tolerate dishonesty.

It doesn’t make you difficult, even though it may seem so for others.

3) You set clear boundaries

If you’re not tolerating any lies, depending on your relationship with the person, you could say:

  • “I don’t want our relationship to be based on lies. I can only be your friend/partner if you tell me the truth.”
  • “I will have to terminate your employment if I find out you’ve lied to me again.”

Even if you set your boundaries strong, if the person’s compulsion to lie is strong, the boundary may not be effective. 

So, you may find that they continue to lie to you despite the threat that you’ll leave the relationship.

In this case, it might be better to terminate the relationship once and for all.

4) You pay attention to the things people say

While body language expresses genuine emotion, it’s often hard to detect lies based on only on the body language. 

For example, you may correctly discern that your colleague is stressed but you won’t be able to see that they lied about something. 

That’s why if you don’t tolerate lies, you’d much rather focus on the person’s non-verbal signals, to tell how much truth they tell.

5) You always ask for details

Liars may be less inclined to include what we call ‘verifiable details. Verifiable details are details that can definitively prove their story is true or false, including:

  • Exact times of events;
  • Names of specific locations;
  • Names of the people they encountered;
  • Their exact route to a place;
  • The specific words they used in a conversation.

It’s normal to forget some information, especially if you’re talking about something that happened further in the past. 

But if the person you’re talking to seems to be intentionally vague or deflects any questions about details, this might be a sign that they’re lying.

And as someone who values the truth–you’d always ask for additional details.

6) You have strong opinions and aren’t afraid to voice them

Passionate people are usually very opinionated, and they’re not afraid to share their views with others.

If you find yourself getting into heated debates with people about issues that you care about, it’s a sign that you’re passionate about those things. Liars don’t share that philosophy. 

That’s why some people might find you difficult. 

7) You love asking “why”

If you suspect someone might be lying to you but aren’t sure, an easy way to find out is to ask them “Why?” questions. 

It is much more difficult for people to lie about why they did something or why something happened than it is for them to lie about basic facts. 

If someone struggles to explain their intentions, it’s a major red flag that they are lying.

You’d spot them in the blink of an eye with your targeted “Why?” questions.

The difference between white lies and real lies

Most people lie at one time or another. Research suggests that we tell an average of 1.65 lies every day. Most of these lies are what are considered “white lies.”

White lies are occasional and consist of:

  • Small fibs;
  • Harmless inaccuracies;
  • They don’t have malicious intent;
  • Things we say to spare another’s feelings or avoid getting in trouble.

Some examples of white lies include:

  • Saying you have a headache to get out of attending a meeting;
  • Saying you’ve paid the phone bill when you forgot to pay it;
  • Lying about why you were late for work

Pathological lies, on the other hand, are told consistently and habitually. They tend to appear pointless and often continuous.

Pathological lies are:

  • Told frequently and compulsively;
  • Told for no apparent reason or gain;
  • Are continuous;
  • Told to make the teller appear heroic or the victim;
  • Are not deterred by guilt or risk of getting found out.

Examples of pathological lying:

  • Creating a false history, such as saying they’ve achieved or experienced something they haven’t;
  • Claiming to have a life-threatening illness that they don’t have;
  • Telling lies to impress others, such as saying they’re related to a famous person.

How to cope with a pathological liar

Knowing a pathological liar can be deeply frustrating because the lying appears pointless.

It can test the trust in any relationship and make it hard to even have a simple conversation with the person.

And if you’re someone who can’t tolerate lies, it might be even harder for you.

Here are a few pointers to help you handle a conversation with a pathological liar.

Don’t lose your temper

As frustrating as it may be, it’s important not to let your anger get the better of you when confronting a pathological liar. Be supportive and kind but firm.

Expect denial

Someone who pathologically lies may tend to respond with a lie first. If you confront them about their lying, chances are that they’ll deny it.

They may become enraged and express shock at the accusation.

Remember that it’s not about you

It’s hard not to take being lied to personally, but pathological lying isn’t about you. The person may be driven by an underlying personality disorder, anxiety, or low self-esteem.

Be supportive

When talking to the person about their lies, remind them that they don’t need to try to impress you. Let them know that you value them for who they really are.

Don’t engage them

When you notice the person lying, don’t engage them. You can question what they’re saying, which may encourage them to stop the lie at that point.

You can also let them know that you don’t want to continue the conversation when they’re being dishonest.

Suggest medical help

Without judgment or shaming, suggest that they consider professional help and let them know your suggestion comes from genuine concern for their wellbeing.

Be prepared with information about pathological lying, such as a printout of an article or a pamphlet they can read when they’re ready. 

Expressing that you’re concerned that their behavior may result from an underlying medical condition may also help.

Why do pathological liars fascinate people

A pathological liar is an excellent storyteller and performer. They know how to captivate their audience by telling elaborate and fantastic stories while being very animated.

Along with knowing how to weave and express a detailed story, people are also fascinated by what drives a person to lie.

It’s natural to want to know why they’re lying, especially when there is no apparent reason for their lies.

Lying as a coping skill

Many people who lie compulsively use it as a coping skill because, in the past, it protected them or solved a problem, perhaps when they were very young. So, if someone is a compulsive liar, they’ve probably had to handle some tough situations where lying helped them cope or kept them safe.

Let’s recap

Pathological lying is a pattern that becomes evident throughout multiple situations and topics and persistently over time. 

It can be a compulsion on its own or a symptom of a mental health condition.

If you are being lied to, try to stay grounded, limit interactions, and set healthy boundaries. You may find it helpful to talk with a therapist if you need support.

Don’t think that spotting and pointing out lies makes you a bad person. On the contrary, it might help others learn the truth or, for the liars–get rid of their harmful habit.

Anna Dovbysh

With 8 years of writing experience and a deep interest in psychology, relationship advice, and spirituality, Anna’s here to shine a light on the most interesting self-development topics and share some life advice. She's got a Master's Degree in International Information and is a life-long learner of writing and storytelling. In the past, she worked on a radio station and a TV channel as a journalist and even tought English in Cambodia to local kids. Currently, she's freelancing and traveling around the globe, exploring new places, and getting inspired by the people she meets and the stories they tell. Subscribe to her posts and get in touch with her on her social media:
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