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This is all going to sound very judgemental to my friend, but trust me, it's not. I think I know how she feels and I understand why she would do it and I want to help her. My whole friend group does.

My friend Alice is a very, very sweet person. People can't see this though because she lies. A lot. Big lies. She is always telling me about the boys she's with, but we've never been able to meet any of them. I saw her chatting with a boy on Facebook once, but then I also saw the other half of the chat when I wasn't supposed to.

People in my class in high school thought she was strange and weren't nice to her. They somehow looked up all the friends she had on Facebook, to find that most of them were fake.

She said she had a thing with this guy in the class and how they really liked each other, but I knew that he was the one leading the Facebook investigation.

We are in university now, she is in another country and we talk online.

Whenever we talk, she always spins up stories about all the guys that are just crazy over her and how she is playing hard to get. She is a great friend but I really hate seeing her lie like this.

My other friends do think she has some issues to deal with, but they don't see her lying problem. They seem to buy into every crazy story she tells.

I've brought up with them how I felt that most of her stories were untrue, but it didn't really go anywhere. We have talked about her a lot, only because we are worried that there's something going on in her life that she is not getting help for.

I know I can't help her with other issues, but I want her to at least feel that she doesn't need to lie to make herself look better.

How can I tell her that she doesn't need to lie to us because we are her friends and will support her no matter what, but without offending her?

EDIT: I'd like to emphasize that this friend is important to me. She takes lots of things to heart, however, so it's best if I phrase things subtly and gently.

  • 1
    Fantasising about the relationships she is or isn’t having is better than compulsively lying about other matters. Does she lie about anything else? It’s sounding quite harmless to me. You know, weird in a sweet way? – Matthew E Cornish Oct 5 '18 at 18:42
  • Does she like her own appreciation by others after lying about anything? – user21996 Oct 5 '18 at 18:49
  • @MatthewECornish It's not worrying in that way, I agree that it is harmless. But I think it's just harming herself more if that makes sense. The people at my school did not find it weird in a sweet way, even if my friends did. I don't want anyone to pity her or make fun of her, she doesn't deserve that. But that's what happened in high school. I want her to learn that it's not something she needs to do to feel better about herself if she's struggling or has a low self-esteem. I think if she does that it's essentially not letting her be herself and giving herself a standard to reach. – janee Oct 6 '18 at 22:10
  • @DDD Yes, I think she does and I think that's why she keeps doing it. – janee Oct 6 '18 at 22:12
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Explain the bad consequences of this behavior and achieve her confidence and trust in you in order to change her behavior

My Life Experience

One of my friends wanted to become a doctor. But due to financial problems, she could not become a doctor and pursued nursing education. Her dream was not fulfilled. But, she used to tell to everyone that she is a doctor. She often used to create false stories about her patients, their surgeries. As a result, she used to get respect from everyone. But a few days later, one of our other friends got the real information about her. They felt bad for her and further they could not believe her. A few other members of the friend group made fun of this. She felt bad. Due to this, her stress level increased and she fell into depression.

Reason for this Behavior

Many times, it happens that many people could not fulfill their goal (whatever it is) in life. So, they try to dream it (or try to feel it) and try to implement in real life by creating false stories. So, they try to create a false scenario. As a result, they get false respect and false appreciation which they always like and wanted to achieve in life. These people need care and support.

Your friend's behavior

she always spins up stories about all the guys that are just crazy over her

You also told that your classmates are thinking - 'she was strange and weren't nice to her'. She might be observing in college that many boys are talking with girls. But, nobody talks with me and behaves strangely. This is the reason, she is dreaming and making false stories in order to feel everyone's company and feel the craziness for her. Instead of changing her own strange behavior, she is diverting her own mind to create unnecessary(false) stories.

Whatever she is not getting, she tries to get it through dreaming. She tries to feel that "I am also that pretty and every guy wants to talk to me". So, she tries to create false stories to get appreciation and attention.

How can you tell her

Take her time. You can arrange a meeting with close friends. Tell her the bad consequences of her behavior. Tell her that, after some time nobody will have faith in her and she will be alone. It will become more stressful. So it is better for her to stop creating false stories. If possible, please take care of her. Tell her -"We all are with you, we support you but you need to change your behavior". Try to gain her confidence in you.

She needs your care and company. If that does not work, then try to get some professional help.

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Ultimately it's impossible to know if telling her will offend her or not.

Simply sharing that you don't want her to feel she has to lie is an ideal way to go with this. You can preface your telling by stating that your intention is not to offend, but whether she finds it offensive or not is ultimately beyond your control.

I would not advise setting up a meeting unless you're set on confronting her rather than simply sharing your authentic feelings on the issue.

From your description it does appear that her self-esteem is low and she is seeking validation by creating stories that demonstrate how likable she is. Her mal-adaptive behavior (lying) will change when she decides to change it. Wanting her to feel differently about herself is natural. I applaud you for acknowledging that there are issues you simply can’t help her with. She is fortunate to count you as a friend.

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