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by Abigail Van Buren

Friend Has Had It With Woman Who Can't Tell the Truth

DEAR ABBY: I'm a professional, independent female in my early 40s. I'm not sure how to handle a friend I've known for nearly 10 years. She's beautiful, with a magnetic personality, but she has a terrible habit of lying and embellishing about things big and small, inconsequential and serious.

There have been times I've been appalled by the enormity of her lies, and embarrassed for her when someone indicates they're aware that what she's said isn't true. I have gently reminded her more than once that it'll catch up to her and encouraged her to be honest. She persists.

My problem: A few years ago, when she expressed a desire to "expand her circle," she incorporated some of my closest friends and their friends. Boundaries have been blurred and the need to impress others (lie, greatly exaggerate) has grown worse. These new friends are drawn to her dynamic personality, yet I can no longer stomach her rampant dishonesty. Will I possibly lose or damage other relationships by ending my friendship with her? Should I label her a liar and watch her react? I don't know if this friendship can be salvaged or if I even want to. -- SICK TO MY STOMACH

DEAR SICK: You don't have to make any grand announcements regarding this poor woman. Stepping back from a relationship with a compulsive liar should not damage your other friendships. People will soon recognize her for what she is, and will likely follow your example. If, however, you are asked why you no longer socialize with her, I think you should quietly answer the question truthfully.

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