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Old 06-26-2009, 07:51 PM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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Do habitual liars think everyone else is lying too?

Title says it all.
Old 06-26-2009, 10:00 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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I don't have any data or cites, but my gut says yes. This is a horrible answer to a GQ and I apologize. On the other hand, I have the anecdotal evidence of my evil lying criminal sociopath half-brother, and I'm absolutely sure he thinks we're all as bad as he is. YELCSHB may vary.
Old 06-26-2009, 10:09 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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I've meet one or two who I honestly think they don't even know they are lieing.
Old 06-26-2009, 10:18 PM
Smeghead Smeghead is offline
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Hang on, I'll ask my wife...Morgan Fairchild! Yeah, that's the ticket.
Old 06-26-2009, 10:24 PM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is online now
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I've known compulsive liars who convince themselves that what they're speaking is the truth. They're more exaggeraters than outright untruthers, but they actually believe the lies they spout, so for that reason they think it's okay.

But yeah, my experience says habitual liars believe it's okay to lie because everybody else does it too.

Except they're wrong, because I know I almost never lie.
Old 06-27-2009, 12:07 AM
Orr, G. Orr, G. is offline
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No cites, just more questions.

Aren't there distinct types of habitual liars?

The sociopath would likely be very aware that they are lying, and might believe that they are superior to the rubes who care about things like honesty and such nonsense.

The confabulator might not even be aware that they are lying, and thus it doesn't really make sense for them to think everyone else is doing it too.

Then there are those who took classes about deconstructing literary theory, but didn't take science courses, who believe that truth itself is malleable, more a matter of personal taste.

And perhaps a different category would be your more mundane spinmasters, sleazy salespeople, cheaters (marriage, taxes, job tasks, etc), who may very well rationalize their behavior as "everybody does it", and may be a bit paranoid about other people doing it to them.

And then there are those who habitually lie to protect themselves, or are hoping to make themselves out to be more likable or respectable to others. Perhaps they do it believing that other people aren't, and that they have to lie just to keep up with all the perfectly moral and problem-free holier-than-thou types in their lives?
Old 06-27-2009, 09:48 AM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
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Originally Posted by Smeghead View Post
Hang on, I'll ask my wife...Morgan Fairchild! Yeah, that's the ticket.
I personally think that yes they do.
Old 06-27-2009, 03:15 PM
Gus_Handsome Gus_Handsome is offline
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I've often wondered this myself.
I have a friend, who I like very much, and I would like him more if he didn't lie about everything.

This guy lies when the truth fits.

It's got to be some mental 'ism' or something that causes it, I wish I could understand it. I always call him a liar right to his face and never let him think he's getting away with it, but he doesn't care.

Old 06-27-2009, 03:35 PM
runcible spoon runcible spoon is offline
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While we're on the topic, what about the other question? Do habitually honest people think everyone else is telling the truth, too?
Old 06-27-2009, 03:48 PM
aldiboronti aldiboronti is offline
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I don't think artful habitual liars believe most people lie at all, at least in non-trivial matters. This is part of what they conceive as their cunning, in the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king. They see themselves as running rings round the poor trusting saps who are honest. Of course, it generally doesn't quite work out like that.

Liars need good memories and most habitual liars haven't and trip themselves up eventually.

Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive. The tangles of that web wrap themselves ever tighter around the habitual liar until they are trussed up tighter than a turkey at Thanksgiving.
Old 06-27-2009, 09:26 PM
HorseloverFat HorseloverFat is offline
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Honestly, I think these pathological liars have an undiagnosed mental illness at the core of their lying. Something like borderline personality disorder or anti-social personality disorder. Perhaps generalized anxiety which is "treated" by a stream of lies and delusions. I think the lying is really part of a larger delusional structure and its really impossible to make generalizations about them.
Old 06-27-2009, 10:03 PM
T. Slothrop T. Slothrop is offline
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I don't lie, but I tell outlandish stories as a joke. They are so outlandish that I know they couldn't possibly be believed. e.g. "I was late because my tires rusted." Or at least I thought they couldn't possibly be believed. One time one of my co-workers came to me and told me she is from the country so everything I told her she would believe and it was a problem for her because sometimes she would find out from others that it was not true.

So we agreed that when I was telling an outlandish story, I would wink at her.
Old 06-28-2009, 12:00 AM
Auntbeast Auntbeast is offline
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God I wish I knew. I despise lying. I'm also blessed with a sister-in-law that is a pathological liar. It makes it impossible to deal with her on any real level, heck, I've even told her that. That her lies are a way of keeping people from being close to her or knowing her, which of course, might just be the plan.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a clear cut answer? Then when you deal with those folks, you could know how to respond. I'm 41 and haven't a clue how to deal.
Old 06-28-2009, 12:42 AM
Zoe Zoe is offline
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Location: Liberal South
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Someone in my family lies frequently, especially through exaggeration. She has done this since her late teens and it has gotten much worse as the decades pass. Now she has become totally unreliable as a source of information. When challenged on something, she flies into an uncontrollable rage. I feel certain that it is caused by mental illness, but I've not known anyone else quite like her. She is a really sweet person other than this.

It is not unusual for people to project their own character traits onto others. The thief may be afraid that you will steal from her. The honest person may trust very easily. The racist may find it hard to believe that you yourself are not concerned about "racial" issues.
Old 06-28-2009, 12:43 AM
MonkeyMensch MonkeyMensch is offline
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Originally Posted by aldiboronti View Post
Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive.
But when we've practiced for a while, How vastly we improve our style.
Old 06-28-2009, 01:12 PM
jakesteele jakesteele is offline
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Originally Posted by MonkeyMensch View Post
But when we've practiced for a while, How vastly we improve our style.
In my experience pathological liars actually have a personality disorder. They can be very convincing, especially when you first are meeting them and for a while before you begin to notice that they tend to talk about themselves constantly, their stories become extremely grandiose and the stories begin to conflict with each other other as far as timelines, names an parts of the story change. People around them tend to be very reluctant to confront them because the scene becomes very uncomfortable and the person will keep will sound very convincing when denying it. But when absolutely confronted I have noticed there are two major reactions. One is outraged indignation at being accused a liar and how a person's honestly is the only important thing a person really has, etc. The other reaction I have found is all of a sudden, their face and eyes go blank and they turn on their heels and leave never to return.

It is hard for them to stay with the same group of people too long because eventually their shit catches up with them. Also, the reason they can lie so convincingly is that they first tell the lie to themselves and are then able to lie to other people convincingly because they actually believe it themselves. People are thrown off about this because a normal person knows that they have to be lying but is confused because the liar is so utterly convincing in the way they do it.

Complusive liars, on the other hand, know when they are lying but can't or won't try to stop it and very often feel guilt or remorse. I know because I am one of them. I lie about everything, including about being a compulsive liar.


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