There's no denying the obvious – it's always best to tell the truth. But depending on circumstances, you might stretch the truth or make the decision to tell a bold-faced lie. Sure, you might have your reasons, and ordinarily you're an honest person. However, it only takes one lie for others to question your integrity and word. Here's what to do if you're caught fibbing.
1. Pull the Plug
You might be tempted to dig yourself out of a lie with another lie. But in most cases, this plan will backfire and blow up in your face. Even if the person believes the second lie this doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. You have to remember the details of the second lie, and there's always a chance the person will uncover the second deceit down the road, which will ruin any chances of ever regaining their trust.
2. Fess up
The moment you're caught in a lie, fess up. It definitely takes more work to keep a lie going, and you may always wonder whether the person secretly knows the truth. You don't need this type of stress.
3. Beg for Mercy
If you come clean and apologize from the very beginning you're more likely to gain forgiveness. This isn't the time to be prideful. Lying can wreck your reputation, causing others to question every word that comes out of your mouth. Beg for forgiveness.
4. Use the Power of Persuasion
Even if it's only a little white lie, there's never a justifiable reason for withholding the truth from anyone Still, it doesn't hurt to offer the person an explanation. Depending on the circumstances and why you felt the need to lie, this person might sympathize and understand your thought process. And once you provide an explanation, he or she may realize you're not a deceitful person and this isn't a pattern.
5. Don't Point the Finger
Another person's actions might have contributed to the lie. But at the end of the day, nobody twisted your arm or forced you to lie to others. You're responsible for your own actions and you shouldn't point the finger at another person. If you shift the blame and throw a co-worker, friend or sibling under the bus, the person may feel you don't understand the seriousness of the situation or that you're not taking responsibility for your role.
It was a moment of weakness and a case of bad judgment. You've learned your lesson and you'll never lie again. Now that you've convinced yourself, it's time to reassure the person who caught you fibbing.
7. Fix Your Reputation
It may not happen in the next week or month, but this situation will eventually be forgotten. In the meantime, you need to be on your best behavior and prove to everyone you're an honest person. It only takes one incident of deceit to hurt your reputation at work, school or home, and for the time being, others will be watching, listening and questioning every word that comes out of your mouth.
Nobody wants to be known as a liar, so make sure you’re honest at all times and don’t lie or withhold the truth from your family, friends or employer. Once you've ruined your reputation, it’s not easy to restore.
What are other tips if you're caught in a lie?