How to spot a compulsive liar

Updated February 21, 2017

Compulsive liars are different from pathological liars or those who only lie periodically. There is often no obvious reason for the lying, and different underlying motivations exist for compulsive liars than for other types of liars. Certain warning signs can help you discern whether you are dealing with a compulsive liar, so read on to learn what these are.

Notice how often the person seemingly lies. Compulsive liars lie on a regular and ongoing basis; it is a habit in which they participate almost all the time.

Consider the apparent ease with which a person tells a lie. If they appear uncomfortable or nervous, then chances are that they are not a compulsive liar. Lying comes naturally to a compulsive liar, who looks and feels more comfortable lying than telling the truth.

Focus on the types of things that the person lies about. A compulsive liar often lies about anything and everything, even small, seemingly insignificant things.

Evaluate the motivation behind the person's lying. If the person seems to lie simply when it is beneficial for them or when it gets them out of an awkward situation, they are probably not a compulsive liar. Someone who is a compulsive liar generally lies because doing so is a habit and not because they are trying to manipulate others.

Think about the person's personality characteristics to determine whether they fit the stereotype of a compulsive liar. Often, compulsive liars begin this habit to get attention from others or to make themselves appear better in some way, so a compulsive liar may have issues with poor self-esteem.

Examine whether a potential compulsive liar recognizes their behavior. Because lying is such an ingrained habit for a compulsive liar, they may not even recognize that they are doing it, or they may deny the behavior.

Look at the person's ability to remain consistent in what they say. A compulsive liar may have a difficult time keeping their stories straight since they have injected so many lies into what they have told other people.


Compulsive lying is treatable through therapy, but the person must first realize that they have a problem and be willing to change.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

This article was created by a professional writer and edited by experienced copy editors, both qualified members of the Demand Media Studios community. All articles go through an editorial process that includes subject matter guidelines, plagiarism review, fact-checking, and other steps in an effort to provide reliable information.