DEAR HARRIETTE: I lie compulsively about how busy I am, and I suspect it is a product of my depression and anxiety. Usually I decide to lie as a way to get out of possible time commitments in favor of alone time or even getting ahead on my work. Although I know having alone time is important, I think I should get out of the habit of lying like this. How do you think I should I approach this issue? -- Why Lie?
DEAR WHY LIE?: If you think this is possibly happening because of depression or anxiety, schedule an appointment with a mental health professional who can give you tools and possibly medication to help balance out your system so that you can begin to think more confidently.
In addition to professional help, start thinking things all the way through before you open your mouth. If someone asks you to do something or to share information, play the entire scene out in your head. What could the outcomes be if you tell the truth or if you tell a lie? What would happen if you say nothing at all? Evaluate each answer to get an assessment of what the best answer will be. Nine times out of 10, it is best to resist committing to sharing information that may be inaccurate or agreeing to do something that you know you have no interest or intention of doing.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)