Fairly Innocuous Pathological Lying

Many of you out there would say you’re honest in person or only tell social lies, but whether it’s out of fear, awkwardness, impatience, or boredom, some of you are profuse liars in situations with strangers you probably won’t see again. Let’s look at driving and buying, for instance.

A pathological driver is an expert in a very fine art; his underlying deceit is seldom seen. The pathological driver’s skill can be best demonstrated in exit only lanes or lane closures. A non-expert tries to pass in the exit only lane because it’s open and he can move up in the line of cars, but the other drivers quickly sniff him out and make it extremely difficult for him to get back in. A pathological driver, on the other hand, is welcomed back into the lane because he “genuinely” didn’t notice he was in an exit only lane. Or, he “honestly” changed his mind immediately after moving over. The story is substantiated through a calculated spectacle including dramatic hand gestures, misdirection, and other exaggerated acts of confusion. Sometimes, even the pathological driver himself doesn’t believe this was just a clever ploy to move up a few cars.

If necessary, further embellishments are added to remove doubt from the minds of onlookers (because said driver believes everyone is watching him). For example, the pathological driver will occasionally end up taking the exit for fear of giving away his true intentions. If the pathological driver has a passenger, the acting job is taken a step further. The driver gets food and gas. The driver gets groceries. The driver subtly mentions the planned nature of this exit on the real or fake phone call he is currently making. The part is played to perfection. The driver acts completely unnerved even though his true attention lies on getting back to the road as quickly as possible.

In the same vein, there’s the “pathological buyer,” someone you might already be familiar with. Instead of saying he isn’t interested in the product a salesman is trying to sell, the pathological buyer insists he will definitely purchase the product later that day when his girlfriend, who of course is the actual end user, arrives from Australia, or notices a stolen credit card or a lost wallet, or has to make a quick phone call but an emergency on the other end leads his surprised self to run to his car, and the whole act is being closely watched and critiqued by the company’s entire fleet of salesmen. Just to prove to the salesman he isn’t lying and to avoid facing the awkwardness of walking out of a store without buying anything, the pathological buyer sometimes purchases the product.

When returning an item, a pathological buyer’s genuine intentions of using the product are never in question. He is only returning the immaculate merchandise because his grandparents coincidentally bought the same item for him without his knowledge.

If your inner pathological liar needs an outlet, I would suggest these alternatives as opposed to lying about important things to people you have some sort of acquaintance with.


What are some other examples of ridiculous displays of deception in public interactions?