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How to Come Clean After Lying

by Christine Wans

Lying is something a lot of people do and sometimes regret. After telling a lie, if you feel inclined to tell the truth be sure to think carefully about how to do so. When revealing the truth, be kind and consider who will be hurt or offended by the lie. Every person reacts differently to bad news and the person you lied to may surprise you. Admitting to lying could lead to a sense of relief and strengthen the relationship between you and the other person.

Prepare the person to whom you will be revealing the lie. Before revealing what exactly you lied about, tell the person that you need to have a serious conversation. This will give the person an opportunity to realize they might be receiving bad news. By giving the other person a warning, the shock will be softer and the other person will be sure to listen to what you say and give you careful attention.

Select an appropriate time and place. Do not tell a person about a lie when in line at the supermarket or right before bed. Choose a private place and a good time of day to approach the person you are coming clean to. It will make the process easier for both of you and provide a safe place if there is an argument or any emotional overflow.

Describe the lie and offer your honesty. Explain why you lied and why telling the truth is now important. Your conversation will have a more meaningful feeling if detailed honesty is offered. Also as a way to gain back trust, being honest regarding what you lied about will help a person believe you again. Do not be afraid to give a lot of info regarding the lie because too little may seem as if you are hiding something.

Avoid becoming defensive. Tell the truth and let the other person decide if it is a big deal. By getting defensive or protecting yourself, you may be sending the message that you are not really sorry for what you have done.

Apologize. Examining the severity of lie will help determine what kind of apology is appropriate. An apology can range from a simple "sorry" to a gesture such as a gift or extra attention. This will allow for the person to understand you are, in fact, sorry for you lie. If the lie was severe and hurt another person deeply, then several apologies may be needed, as well as time for the person to get over the lie.

About the Author

Christine Wans is a freelance writer living in New Jersey. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and women’s studies and enjoys writing about health, beauty, parenting, gardening and entertainment. As a regular contributor to the Pampers Pregnancy community, Wans writes about pregnancy-related topics as well.

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