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Dr. Dana Season(Clinical Psychologist)answered(1/23/2012)Often people tell "white lies" to protect another's feelings or perhaps to cover up for an embarrassing situation. When these lies grow in depth and regularity there is usually something else going on. People who tend to lie on a consistent basis are most often attempting to cover perceived inadequacies. For example, say your friend is on a diet to become healthier and she tells you that she had a salad for lunch when really she had pizza. Now, although this lie does not directly effect you, if you know the truth, the lie creates a small wedge in the friendship. It may cause you to feel annoyed with her and consequently question many other things she says. The reason for a lie like this is likely that the person she wants to be (the ideal self) is not congruent with the person she actually is (the real self). In order for her to bring the ideal and the real closer together she lies about what she ate, or whatever the subject matter may be.
Confronting this issue can be tough between friends because there is generally feelings of shame behind both telling the lie and getting caught. Since you have tried to confront her and she denies the lies, perhaps you can try leading by example. We all strive to do the best we can but life, laziness, impulsiveness and other things sometimes get in the way. Next time you encounter a situation where your actions are different than you would have liked them to be you can tell her about it. This may show her that we all want to do better or be cooler but sometimes it just does not work out. For instance, say you are dating someone and you have vowed to yourself and your friends not to call them, but, then you feel that youmust...and so you do! Tell your friend about this event, explaining how you wish you had not called him, but you did and that it is okay to mess up. Explain that you will try to have more self-control next time. It is better to be real about the mistakes we make than hide them. Our mistakes and struggles are what make us real and lovable and interesting. Sharing our blunders give other people courage to share theirs too!
Best of luck!
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Molly Panswered(7/1/2012)I have a friend who behaves similarly and it has drastically affected our friendship—I hardly feel close to someone I always have to guess the real meaning behind their words and who I don't feel comfortable opening up to because I know she hides so much. I tried confronting it and she only shut down and pretended there was no issue. Today I just know we'll never be as close as we used to be. This way I can still hang out with her and be friends, but not get too frustrated as I don't feel I have as much invested anymore.