7 Different Types Of Liars And How To Deal With Them

It may be hard to believe, but some liars are innocent and have good intentions.

Reviewed by Rodolfo Parlati, Professional Life Coach Rodolfo Parlati Rodolfo ParlatiProfessional Life Coach facebook_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Asmita De MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA Sangita Goel MA

Lying helps you escape an uncomfortable situation. But, how well you do in the end will determine which type of liar you are. We all lie at some point in our lives, no matter who we are.

Lies are a part of life, no matter how we treat them. Liars come in all shapes and sizes. Some are guilty of the occasional innocent fibbing, while others are compulsively deceitful and manipulative. Lies can range from being trivial to painful. They can harm relationships deeply.

Analyzing body language is absolutely helpful to reveal liars. Everyone can tell a lie from time to time but the problem arises when people make it a habit by transforming their attitudes and behaviors towards everyone. In the end, this will badly affect any relationship by destroying the mutual trust created over time. Consequently, it also becomes more and more difficult for people marked as liars to demonstrate their sincerity when facts give them a reason. In the end, lies give no real advantages to anyone.

No matter the reasons for lies, there are some known psychological reasons for lying. Check them out below.

What Is Lying?

What is lying
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It may be an exaggeration to state that lying is the biggest art of deception. However, sometimes, people use certain ways of telling the truth that may not be completely truthful. When people lie, there is always a level of self-protection that is involved. These moments can often educate you about a person’s true character.

A person who chooses to tell the truth even though it would not protect their interests is a human with great character. Lying is often dangerous on its own, but if the person lies and gets caught, the outcome may be even more embarrassing and humiliating than the truth.

But, if one can get away with it, should they lie?

The Definition Of A Lie

The definition of a lie
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A lie is “an intentionally false statement” that is stated by a person. There are a lot of things involved in this. Obviously, there are different kinds of lies people generally tell. There is a difference between falsely bragging about playing the piano and claiming to be a messenger of God. This is because the person claiming to be godly will cause unnecessary distress to more people when compared to the other case.

The statement that all liars are the same is not true. There are different kinds of lying disorders or personalities. For some people, compulsive lying could be a symptom of a personality disorder. Those who falsely brag about themselves may not be embellishers, but they may be dealing with narcissistic personality disorder or low self-esteem. And then, there are pathetic liars, who lie to people to extract a pathos response.

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According to a National Geographic report, most people between the ages of 18 and 44 (59%) lie between 1-5 times every day and about 15% lied more than 5 times per day (2).

Let us look at the types of liars in detail.

Different Types Of Liars

The different kinds of liars include compulsive liars, pathological liars, and sociopaths. There are also people who are occasional liars. These people usually tell white lies, which are essentially meaningless and do not result in any harm.

1. Compulsive Liars

Compulsive liars
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Compulsive liars lie because of several reasons. However, you can always find out if they are lying. Their stories don’t usually add up. They are also very obvious and display the classic lying behaviors, such as avoiding eye contact, breaking out into a sweat, and tripping over their words or rambling (1).

There are two kinds of compulsive liars – narcissistic liars and habitual liars. Narcissistic liars usually have a narcissistic personality disorder. These people usually make up grand stories centered around themselves. They are also prone to embellishment. Narcissistic liars always make themselves out to be the conquering heroes, no matter what the situation is. Most of the stories they narrate seem a bit far-fetched or are downright unbelievable.

On the other hand, habitual liars constantly lie, practically all the time. For them, falsehood has become a regular habit, and they see no harm in doing so.

2. Pathological Liars

Pathological liars
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Pathological liars lie as a response to any stimuli. These people are excellent liars because they lie constantly and make up stories so unnecessarily and often that it becomes extremely difficult to distinguish the truth from mendacity. Unlike the compulsive liar, pathological liars are near impossible to catch in the act of prevarication. Pathological lying is also known as pseudologia fantastica.

Dave Fernandez, a blogger about his life experiences, notes that “A pathological liar is a person who lies compulsively and without clear motive. This is very different with a non-pathological liar, whereas the lie is very beneficial and maybe less harmful (i).”

Pathological liars know how to play the eye contact game – when lying, instead of looking away, they fix their gaze upon you. These types of liars use their pathological lying trait as a defense mechanism.

It could be that they lie to avoid something traumatic that happened in their lives, such as abuse. They use lies to protect themselves when a situation goes bad. Of course, no matter what, there is no excuse for lying, but it sure does make it easier to understand why some good people choose to lie.

If you are aware that a pathological liar is spinning a tale, it is important to call them out on it. But make sure you do this in a non-aggressive way so that person doesn’t feel embarrassed or threatened.

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According to one study, pathological liars had prefrontal white matter increase by 22-26% as compared to those with an antisocial personality disorder. It might be because telling lies calls for preparation, focus, and self-control (2).

3. Sociopathic Liars

Sociopathic liars
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These types of liars can be very difficult to deal with. Sociopathic liars lack empathy. They do not care if the lies they state impact others negatively or even actively cause harm. This type of liar can be narcissistic and super charming, but this isn’t always true.

Sociopaths are master manipulators. They tell you fictional stories to get you to do what they want, whenever they want it. You are nothing but putty in their hands because they are not capable of feeling sorry for you. Being the target of a sociopath will likely feel horrible because it will conflict with your morals and your sense of right and wrong. A sociopath will continue to manipulate you and get you to see things his or her way until you give them what they want.

As we already mentioned, sociopaths do not feel any empathy. But they are excellent actors. So, if you tell a sociopathic liar that you are not comfortable with something, they will likely not care but will surely act as if they do. They are extremely dangerous and can wreck your peace and mental balance as you spend more and more time with them.

4. White Liars

White liars
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We often assume that white lies are not really lies. People who always tell little white lies here and there often feel that they are harmless or even beneficial.

White liars often mix the truth with the lies. They do it so that when people catch them, they tend to believe that they didn’t mean to deceive and were probably confused themselves. However, sometimes, a person may tell white lies when trying to protect someone from the truth if it is too hurtful or damaging.

5. Careless Liars

Careless liars
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Careless liars are one of a kind. They lie all the time and don’t care much about morals and ethics. Most careless liars are aware of their dishonesty as they don’t put in much thought behind the lies and are generally very sloppy.

If you know a careless liar, it may be a good idea to confront them about their untruthfulness. It is most likely that they are aware of what exactly they are doing. But, at the same time, it does not mean that they will change themselves or even admit it. Be prepared to walk away from people like this, or it may cause you a lot of stress and heartbreak.

6. Occasional Liars

Occasional liars
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Most people tell a lie occasionally, although it is not something to be applauded or accepted. One of the relatively better things about occasional liars is that this is not a regular thing.

The sweet thing is, they usually feel so guilty about it that they admit their lies and ask for forgiveness. Most of the time, if you call out an occasional liar on their lies, they will be genuinely sorry and want to work on it and change.

7. Impulsive Liars

Impulsive liars
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Impulsive liars are the storytellers of the moment, weaving tales on the fly without much premeditation. Unlike compulsive liars, their lies are more reactive and might not be as ingrained in their behavior. Their falsehoods can range from harmless exaggerations to more significant untruths. Impulsive liars might lie without a well-defined purpose; sometimes to avoid embarrassment, enhance a story, or escape consequences. While their lies might not have malicious intent, this behavior can strain relationships and erode trust. Thus, it is important to understand and recognize the source of the impulsiveness to address the core issue and build trust and transparent communication in relationships.

Let’s now understand how to deal with liars.

How To Deal With Liars

Dealing with different kinds of liars
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There are many different ways of dealing with liars. The best thing you can do is not react aggressively or with anger – although this is easier said than done and is incredibly difficult.

The liar is expecting an explosive reaction from you anyway and will use this as a diversion and turn the entire situation against you. Be aware that their version of events is likely false. The best way of dealing with liars is to firmly but politely confront them, tell them that you are aware of the truth and you won’t stand their insincerity. Get yourself out of this toxic situation.

If you find out that someone has told what they call a ‘white lie, and the lie doesn’t really harm anyone, it is probably best to let it go. You may hint it to the person that you are aware of the truth and are letting it go this one time, else this may become a habit. Always letting go of white lies can cause issues with trust and intimacy, so you need to deal with it.

Infographic: Top 6 Types Of Liars You Might Come Across

People lie for many reasons. Some lie to cover small mishaps, others lie to manipulate, and yet others lie compulsively. There are 6 different types of liars you should know about and look out for. Check out the infographic below to read more about them!

top 6 varieties of liars you might come across (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Lying is a compulsive act, and it is hard for a liar to change this dangerous attitude, no matter how you treat them. We are sure that you will spot these liars without any hassle with the above discussion. Whether you are dealing with a pathological liar or a sociopathic liar, a white liar, careless liar, or even an occasional one, the point is to identify them and keep a safe distance from them. So, make sure you are thorough with the traits of these different types of liars to prevent yourself from financial loss, physical harm, or emotional damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the one thing all liars have in common?

Liars avoid confronting facts and tend to hide their feelings. Most liars also tend to be insecure, manipulative, or distrustful.

How do you spot a serial liar?

Pathological liars tend to portray themselves as the star or victim of their lies, being overly detailed or vague about facts or telling lies that have no clear benefit to themselves.

Is lying a mental illness?

Lying is not a mental illness, but it can be a symptom of certain mental health conditions, such as personality disorders or compulsive behavior disorders.

Why are liars toxic?

Liars can be toxic because they can damage trust and relationships, cause emotional distress and harm, and undermine the integrity of social interactions and institutions.

Is lying part of psychology?

Lying is a common subject in the study of psychology because it is a complex behavior with many different factors that can influence it, such as social norms, personality traits, and cognitive processes.

Is lying a bipolar disorder?

Lying is not a symptom of bipolar disorder specifically, but people with bipolar disorder may experience impulsivity or manic episodes that can lead to impulsive or reckless behavior, including lying.

What is a fraudster?

A fraudster is someone who engages in fraudulent activities with the intention of deceiving and profiting from their victims, such as financial scams or identity theft.

Key Takeaways

  • Compulsive liars, pathological liars, and white liars are some of the different kinds of liars.
  • Liars tell you fictional stories to either get out of a sticky situation,
  • The best way to deal with liars is to firmly but politely confront them and tell them that you know the truth.

Discover the different types of liars and how to spot them. Learn how to identify a liar and protect yourself from being deceived easily. So, click on the video below to bookmark helpful tips on spotting a liar.

Personal Experience: Source


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  2. The phenomenology of lying in young adults and relationships with personality and cognition
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Rodolfo Parlati

Rodolfo ParlatiProfessional Life Coach

After having graduated in Business Administration, Rodolfo decided to follow his passion for supporting others by becoming a professional coach. Today, his mission is to help people be happy and successful by discovering their potential and finding together the right way to fully exploit it.   His clients experience improvements in their communication skills, relationships, work-life balance, productivity, conflict resolution,...read full bio

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