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the great equivocator

I have a friend who is, and always has been, a compulsive liar. She’s terrific in every other way, and to be honest, she never lies about anything that matters, and she never lies to gain any advantage that I can see. It’s just about inconsequential things. If you run into her on the street and ask her where she’s coming from, she may say the coffee shop when you know damn well she was at the laundromat. Who cares? What does she gain from that lie? Why do I even care whether it’s true or not? Still, it irks me. I’d feel petty confronting her about any of her little while lies, though, because they are so meaningless. What do think?

Doubting Thomas

Strictly Classified says: Your friend sounds kind of creepy. My thoughts are, if she lies about the little things, what about the big things? Keep that in mind and realize that perhaps she can’t be trusted.

The Omniscient One says: You should have fun with your lying friend. If she says she just left the coffee shop tell her you just got back from Paris. Keep upping the ante until it gets ridiculously funny and neither of you believe anything the other says.

Smart Money says: It could be worse. Your friend could be telling people she’s dying of cancer to get sympathy or otherwise manipulate people. Either way, she’s a creeper. Dump her. What’s the point of having a friend you don’t trust?

The Gay Perspective: Interestingly, lying is an important developmental ability in children. By the age of two or three, most children are capable at telling lies. We learn to do this for a variety of reasons: to avoid punishment, to gain an advantage, to protect against an unwanted consequence. Slightly older children will lie to protect a friend or to protect their privacy. At a certain age, however, it is equally important for children to learn the consequences of lying and the advantages of telling the truth. That is to say, “Mother and father will be happier if I tell them the truth.” At this point, a person should learn to lie only judiciously and after making a quick ethical assessment. Some people learn precisely the opposite lesson; they learn, in fact, that their parents will be happier if they lie. These people become pathological liars. They lie even when it makes little sense to do so. It is possible that your friend falls into this category. At the slightest suggestion of anxiety, she lies. There is probably nothing malicious about it, but I’d be cautious of a friend who lies uncontrollably.

wham bam thank you, ma'am!

I lent my car to a friend to run some errands. I didn’t notice until the next day that there was a small dent in the rear passenger-side quarter panel. I noticed it while I was pumping gas. It’s a small dent. I couldn’t imagine my friend would hide something like a little accident from me—because we’re that close, and because the car is old and not in the best shape to begin with.

So, I just decided to let it ride. Never brought it up, and never thought twice about it. Now, I get a message on my answering machine saying I have to show up to explain a hit and run that took place on the date I lent the car.

Awkward, right? I finally confronted my friend, asking about the dent. She says she has no idea what I’m talking about. Then, she tells me she didn’t borrow the car on that particular date. It was in fact the day before.


So I don’t know what all this is going to mean, between insurance and leaving the scene of an accident. But I am pissed off. She must have dented the car, but she says no. And either way, it’s my car, so I’m on the hook. What do I do about this situation?

Disgruntled Do-Gooder

The Omniscient One says: You’d better start hunting for some way to confirm the date she borrowed the car. There HAS to be something. What did she borrow it for? Where did she go? Who did she see? What did you have to that day because you didn’t have the car?

The Straight Skinny: What kind of car is it? What color?

I ask because not long ago, I went out on the street to find someone had hit my car, tearing loose the driver’s side front fender and breaking the headlight on the same side, and then taken off without so much as a note. A neighbor saw the whole thing—the other driver had tried to pull nose-first into the spot ahead of me but missed. My neighbor took down the license plate, so I called the police to make a report and then called my insurance.

My insurance agent told me just yesterday that the guy who the cops tracked the car to is claiming that he loaned the car to a friend that day, a woman, but my neighbor who saw the whole thing swears the driver was a guy.

So what kind of car is it? And where do you live?

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