My best friend — we'll call her Shelly — has recently fallen for a compulsive liar. He's a sweet guy in nearly every way, but he has this weird need to spout the most outrageous bullshit. Usually the stories are about himself, what he's done in the past, the women he has dated, the people he knows or has met.
It doesn't seem to bother Shelly, but I just want to stab myself in the ears listening to him go on and on about his sexual conquests. If you know somebody famous, he knows somebody even more famous. If you've been somewhere exotic, he's been somewhere even more exotic and out of the way. If you talk about some band, he claims to have jammed with them before they became famous. He has even hinted that his mother was a groupie and his father is a famous rock star. Of course, he never has any proof of anything he says. The photos were lost, his computer with the emails was stolen, his account hacked, a jealous girlfriend threw it all away. His excuses are even more imaginative than his stories.
What bothers me the most about him isn't him. It's Shelly. She believes him. He wouldn't lie to her. It drives me nuts to listen to her tell his stories for him. It's like I can't get away from it, even when he's not there. One of our friends recently laughed in her face and she was really hurt, so now I'm afraid to say anything to her. But honestly, I don't know how much longer I can listen to his tales of slumming with sheiks and royals and nearly driving in the Monaco Grand Prix. He's only 23! He'd have to be 63 to have done all the things he's said he's done.
Buried in Lies
It's easy enough to laugh. When I was in the CIA, we used to run into these people all the time, so I know how you feel. If only I hadn't left my license to kill in my other pants ...
Shelly is hopeless. At the moment, she's smitten, but that will wear off. Eventually she'll wake up and smell the bullshit. Until then, all you can do is wait. If you confront her, you'll just lose her as a friend. For the sake of your bleeding ears, you might want to try not to spend so much time with her. Give her plenty of space and time with Mr. Bond to come to her senses.
When she finally does, be generous. She'll need an understanding friend. Don't shake your head and roll your eyes. Just accept her back as graciously as you can. In time, you'll both be able to laugh about him.
And just to sympathize with the devil, maybe his self-esteem is so rotten that he needs to make shit up rather than admit to the horrible ordinariness of his life. Thank God I don't have that problem. Maybe he could be as sweet as you say in every other way, if he could only discover that he can just be himself, that people don't need his BS to think he's a pretty swell guy. Probably not, but you never know.
Got a problem? Jack Waggon will set you straight: firstname.lastname@example.org