The old folks have a saying: “If you’ll lie, you’ll steal. If you’ll steal, you’ll kill.” Unfortunately for Phaedra Parks, she may have killed her reality show career after being exposed as a raging liar on Sunday’s reunion show for Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA). On the episode, it was revealed that Parks crafted an array of lies intended to destroy former friend and current castmate Kandi Burruss. Even worse, Parks, an attorney by trade, threw rocks and hid her hands by manipulating another show regular, Porsha Williams, into spreading these untruths. According to Williams, Parks told her Burruss admitted that she and her husband, Todd Tucker, wanted to drug and sexually assault Williams.
Now you know an act is heinous and reprehensible when the cast of RHOA agrees that someone has reached an unforgivable low. In fact, TMZ is reporting that Parks was fired from the show after her dirty deeds were aired. It was all too much, leaving us reeling and emotionally drained. But it got us thinking—how are we supposed to handle liars?
The only way to create change is to keep such offenders on the hook. There are no reunion shows in real life.
Many folks will encounter their own versions of Phaedra Parks, people who will say and do whatever they desire to hurt others, without readily accepting responsibility. How many folks have been blatantly lied on? How many individuals have been the victim of a malicious rumor that had no bearings of truth, but gained traction in their communities? How many men and women have faced the consequences of another person’s dishonesty?
The only way to create change is to keep such offenders on the hook. There are no reunion shows in real life. You don’t get to put someone on the spot with everyone they’ve lied to and ferret out the truth. People are encouraged to take the high road and let the liar’s greatest consequence be that he or she must live with the guilt of being a con artist—as if they care. And calling someone out can even backfire. Nowadays, shamers often receive more harsh critiques than those who’ve actually committed the crimes. We have to remember that demanding personal accountability is not the same as unhealthy shaming, or humiliating someone just because you can.
People generally don’t like to be called out.
If you want to know how to keep the liars in your life from becoming repeat offenders like Parks, know that you can’t. No amount of intervention will mold an individual’s free will; it has to be his or her choice. What you can do is create an environment where the lying is addressed so consistently that the person is discouraged from bending truth. People generally don’t like to be called out because it takes away their power.People generally don’t like to be called out. Here are some ways to become a pro lie-buster:
- Let him or her know you are paying attention. If you have a friend who is known for embellishing, let them know you are considering his or her words with scrutiny by asking validating questions about sources and details.
- Let him or her know you plan to fact check, immediately. The best way to discourage a fibber is to let him or her know that you will go to the source. You’re not a cop or superman/woman, so this should be done casually in conversation. If a friend tells you someone said something questionable, advise them that you plan to follow-up with the third party. If a pal makes out an outlandish tale about a salary or event, remind him or her that you can look up the numbers. Understanding that the lie will be outed is a natural deterrent.
- Call him or her out, preferably with the secondary source. Liars gain power because others don’t want to create an embarrassing or potentially uncomfortable situation by stating facts. Don’t be that person. If you have a buddy who isn’t familiar with the truth, bust him or her out repeatedly by finding an irrefutable secondary source. It’s all about receipts. Whether it’s time stamped Instagram images that dispute their presence at an event, or an eye witness account that counters a story, don’t let falsehoods slide.