16 Telltale Signs You’re Dealing With a Compulsive Liar

Are there people in your life who seem allergic to the truth — as though calling a spade a spade would cause them to break out in hives? While no one can say they’ve never bent the truth, a compulsive liar will utter false statements just because. There is often no method to the madness. They lie because that’s what they seem hard-wired to do from dawn till dusk.

How can you tell you’re dealing with a compulsive liar? Here are 16 telltale signs to look for.

They Tell a Boatload of Lies

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One sign that someone you’re dealing with is a compulsive liar is if they tell a boatload of untruths. The lies just keep coming with no end in sight. Whether talking about where they went to school or where they’ve vacationed, a compulsive liar will lie their heart out.

They Get Stressed Out When Lying

A pathological liar will lie to their heart’s content without any sign of stress. But not so with a compulsive liar. A compulsive liar will display signs of stress when telling fibs. They don’t want to be found out. So, observe if someone you suspect is a habitual liar avoids eye contact.

They Lie Without Rhyme or Reason

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A compulsive liar will lie about anything. You may wonder why they would even choose to lie about the stuff they lie about. It’s a genuine head-scratcher. Some people tell fibs when backed into a corner, but compulsive liars back themselves into a corner by the lies they tell.

They Apologize When Caught in a Lie, but They Keep Lying Anyway

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Unlike a pathological liar willing to go down with their ship of lies, a compulsive lair will fess up if their lies are exposed. They may even have a logical reason as to why they told untruths. But a compulsive liar will quickly pick up from where they left off and start lying again.

They Struggle With Low Self-Esteem

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If you suspect someone in your life is loosey-goosey with the truth, consider whether they have self-esteem issues. A compulsive lair will sometimes spin tall tales to compensate for their low value of self. Lying becomes their way of conveying what they wish they were.

They Pause Before Answering Questions

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A compulsive liar will often pause for a while before answering questions. It’s not the slight pause of someone providing a thoughtful response to an intriguing question. It’s the long pause of someone trying to remember what they said previously to maintain a consistent narrative. 

It’s been said that you don’t need a good memory when telling the truth. That’s something lost on compulsive liars, however.

They Don’t Blink When Telling Their Untruths

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Some compulsive liars are ahead of the game and won’t avoid eye contact. They’ll stare right into your eyes unblinkingly while spewing lies. Knowing that many liars look anywhere but into the eyes of whoever they’re lying to, compulsive liars want to show they don’t fear eye contact.

They Go Overboard With the Details

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A compulsive liar will often provide too many details, and the information is typically unnecessary. They attempt to make whatever they’re lying about appear more believable.

They Speak Too Much or Too Little

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When pondering if someone you know is a compulsive liar, observe how much they talk. A compulsive liar will usually either speak too much or say too little. 

On the one hand, they may say too much hoping that the boatload of information makes their lies believable. On the other hand, they may say too little to keep things simple.

They Display Different Speech Patterns

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A compulsive liar will often switch up their speech patterns. It’s not something they do intentionally. When telling a whopper of a lie, their voice might go up or down an octave or two. While the change in speech pattern might be obvious to you, it won’t be to a compulsive liar.

They Touch Their Face When Lying

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Another sign you might be dealing with a compulsive liar is if you notice them touching their face a lot while they speak. Do they touch their throat, mouth, or another part of their face when spinning lies or exaggerating? That’s one of the telltale signs of a compulsive liar.

They Get Mad if You Appear to Doubt Them

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A compulsive liar might get upset if you don’t appear to buy what they’re selling you. When they pull out all the stops to sell you a fake narrative, they want you to accept the lie hook, line, and sinker. You’ll be the bad guy if you call them out on their lies.

They Lie About Minor Things

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Why would someone lie about what they ate for dinner, what musical instruments they play, or how many friends they have? That’s just the way compulsive liars are. They lie about everything.

They Change Their Stories a Lot

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Compulsive liars aren’t just inconsistent in some of the small details. They sometimes change their stories completely. It’s about finding a better narrative that they can go with.

They Turn Others Against You

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If a compulsive liar realizes you’re not buying their nonsense, they may take vengeance into their own hands and use their lying wonders to turn others against you. They may paint you as the bad guy or girl to win confidants for themselves and make enemies for you.

They Tell Dramatic Lies

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Another sign someone you know might be a compulsive liar is if their tall tales are dramatic. A liar will often bend the truth almost to the breaking point. They might like telling stories that make themselves out to be the hero in whatever scenarios they conjure up.

Beware the Compulsive Liar!

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Lying is never good. But it’s especially horrible if someone lies so much that no one can take anything they say seriously. That’s one reason to beware of any compulsive liar in your life.

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