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Don't Believe Everything You Hear: Dealing with Exaggerators

Do you have a friend or relative who tends toward hyperbole & exaggeration? Maybe they tell stories with so much flair that it's hard to separate fact from fiction. Or maybe they tend to inflate their accomplishments to sound more impressive. Whatever the case may be, it can be frustrating and draining to deal with someone who exaggerates. In many cases we find ourselves avoiding time with this person in an effort to avoid the mental gymnastics that comes with having to filter & translate what's coming out of their mouths, and the icky feeling we're left with. In this post, we'll explore some tips for dealing with exaggerators and maintaining healthy relationships.

Understand Why They Exaggerate:

The first step in dealing with an exaggerator is to try to understand why they do it. Sometimes, people exaggerate in order to impress others or to make themselves feel better. Other times, they may simply be forgetful or prone to embellishing the truth. By understanding their motivation, you can start to develop strategies for communicating with them.

Don't Enable Them:

One mistake many people make when dealing with exaggerators is to nod along or affirm their stories. While it may seem harmless at first, this can actually perpetuate the behavior. Instead, try to gently question certain details or ask for clarification. Don't be confrontational, but make it clear that you value honesty and accuracy in communication.

Don't Shame Them:

On the flip side, it's important not to shame or belittle an exaggerator. Most likely, they're not intentionally trying to deceive or upset you. By approaching the situation with empathy and understanding, you can help to create a more supportive and forgiving environment. Remember that everyone has their quirks and flaws, and that it's possible to have a healthy relationship with an exaggerator.

Focus on the Positive:

One strategy for dealing with an exaggerator is to focus on the positive aspects of their behavior. Maybe they're a great storyteller, or maybe they have a unique perspective on the world. By acknowledging and celebrating these strengths, you can help to build their confidence while also mitigating the negative effects of their exaggerations.

Set Boundaries:

Finally, it's important to set clear boundaries when dealing with an exaggerator. If their behavior is causing you undue stress or discomfort, it's okay to let them know. Try to do so in a neutral and nonjudgmental way, emphasizing your own needs rather than criticizing theirs. By communicating openly and honestly, you can help to foster a healthy and respectful relationship.

Dealing with an exaggerator can be challenging, but it's not impossible. By understanding their motivations, refusing to enable or shame them, focusing on the positive aspects of their behavior, and setting clear boundaries, you can maintain a healthy relationship while mitigating the negative effects of their exaggerations. Remember that everyone has their quirks and flaws, and that it's possible to have a fulfilling relationship with an exaggerator with a little bit of patience and understanding.

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