How To Deal With Dishonest People

This is part of the Dealing With People series.

  1. How To Deal With Energy Vampires
  2. 8 Tips to Tackle Naysayers
  3. 8 Helpful Ways To Deal With Critical People
  4. How To Deal With Dishonest People
  5. How to Deal with Rude People (3-part series)
  6. 10 Tips To Make New Friends
  7. How To Handle Bullying: An Important Guide


Dishonesty is a quality which sits at conflicting ends with truth. Many of us probably experienced dishonest behavior from others at some point in our lives, whether its people keeping secrets, lying, keeping up a facade, being hypocritical, trying to cheat us, and so on. On the map of consciousness, dishonesty tends to be dominant among lower consciousness people.

While we can try to stay away from such people, we can’t stop them from entering into our lives from time to time. So, how can we deal with them effectively?

For the purpose of this article, I’ll be covering dishonesty in the context where someone acts in an untruthful manner for his/her personal agenda vs. for better well-being of someone else. (For example, white lies will not be applicable here) People who have a tendency to use manipulative forms of communication, make blatant lies, is deceitful, acts with dishonesty, etc will apply here.

My Experiences with Dishonesty

As someone who seeks to achieve the highest potential and seek the highest truth, dishonesty is at conflicting odds with me. In fact, one of the core traits which I pride myself in upholding is genuineness in everything I think, feel, say and do.

Having said that, this doesn’t mean I’ve been always honest earlier in my life. There have been numerous times in my past where I was dishonest and felt ashamed of it afterward. During those times, I never fully comprehended the ramifications of my actions; It was only as I reflected on my actions and behaviors afterward that I understood the implications.

As I was growing up, I was lucky to be surrounded by people who strove to adhere to a high moral standard. Granted, there were numerous times where I trusted people and had that trust broken afterward. There had also been cases where I collaborated with people on certain projects and they bailed out on me. When I was 18, I joined a MLM company for a short period of time where I saw how the leaders manipulated people against their wishes through both subliminal and persuasive techniques. It was definitely an insightful experience.

It was from the times in life where I was dishonest or where I experienced dishonesty that I saw the true value behind truth and honesty. They led me to orientate myself more and more toward the path of truth.

Yet, I strongly believe that everyone, whether dishonest or not, has goodness in them. When people come across as dishonest, it’s usually because of unintended behavior or erroneous judgment on person’s part, rather than pure malicious intent. These people are largely unconscious of the full implications of their actions on others. If you try to dig deep and distill down to the fundamental originating cause of dishonest acts, you will typically find that it’s because of a desire for betterment, for acceptance, love, goodness, rather than because of ill desires.

The next time you come across a dishonest person, try standing in the person’s shoes and see things through his/her perspective. Chances are you are going to become more receptive to the circumstances which led him/her to act in that manner.

That being said, dealing with dishonest people requires conscious behavior on your part. Below is a series of steps on dealing with them.

How To Deal With Dishonest People

1. Maintain a High Level of Consciousness

In dealing with dishonest people, the first step is to root yourself in a high level of consciousness. An immediate way to increase your consciousness is to clear our your mental clutter via meditation. Next, ensure you are grounded in that conscious state.

Because dishonest people may resort to manipulation, it’s easy to get tangled into that state of lower consciousness if you do not raise or ground your consciousness. Having a higher consciousness gives you the leverage and perspective when communicating with them. While they may try to perform acts of deceit, your higher consciousness allows you to be impervious to that. It puts you in the right frame of mind to perform the next step.

2. Respond With Genuineness and Honesty

Usually, people have a tendency to react to dishonest people with dishonesty. However, just because the person is dishonest, does not mean you should react in that manner. There are several reasons for that. Firstly, while some may justify this behavior as ‘giving the person what he/she deserves’, it is not in our place to act as the karma police and determine what the other person should get. Secondly, doing that means you have pulled yourself down to a lower consciousness state, which does not aid you in becoming the best person you can be. Thirdly, such behavior perpetuates the situation, since the person will likely follow up with other dishonest acts, turning it into a downward spiral.

The same applies for other lower-consciousness reactions such as anger and violence. People who are dishonest are already inclined to resort to deceit as a defense mechanism. Unless these people are introspective by nature, reacting to them in such ways will only push them further in their current behaviors and make them to shrivel up into lower consciousness states.

Instead of a fear-based attitude, react to the person with a love-based attitude. Treat the person with full emotional generosity – honesty, kindness, love, positivity, all in one. If you want others to be honest, then start off by being an exemplary example of what honesty is, so others can follow suit. Treating a dishonest person with honesty is more effective in raising his consciousness than reacting with dishonesty.

If you need to seek resolution about a particular action he/she did, then do it while (1) maintaining your higher level of consciousness and (2) being completely honest and earnest in the resolution process. If you find yourself slipping into retaliation (anger) or deceit/manipulation (dishonesty), you have not raised or rooted your consciousness enough. Keep working on #1 until you can be in a calm, natural state even in the face of dishonesty.

Overall, he/she will be surprised at your behavior, since he/she is likely to have expected dishonest behavior in return. He/she probably will doubt your intentions and think you have something to hide. That’s perfectly okay. Usually, dishonest people operate in a mode of suspicion, fear, doubt and greed, making it hard for them to fathom the rationale behind your actions. After all, they are not used to people treating them with honesty.

In the best case scenario, the person will start to lower his/her barrier and reciprocate with honesty. This will happen if the person’s consciousness is not too low which allows him to be more receptive to attempts to save him. If that happens, congratulations – you are getting through to his/her inner self! :D

In the second possible scenario, the person will react with resistance – whether via aloofness, anger, denial, panic, etc. Contrary to what people may think, this is actually a positive sign. By Newton’s Third Law of Motions, every force has an equal and opposite reaction force. This resistance rises as a counter effect to the impact your honesty is having on him/her. Behind the resistance, the person is actually trying to reconcile how your actions fit into his mental model of reality, since it’s telling him all his model of belief is actually faulty. With continued efforts, you may get through to him/her.

The last possible reaction is a neutral state. The other party has no reaction and continues on with the dishonest behavior. This happens if the person is too entrenched in the lowest states of consciousness and is not reachable by the surrounding people.

3. Give An Ultimatum

This step is applicable if:

  1. The party is not receptive to your approaches after a certain period of time. Non-receptivity includes prolonged resistance toward you, neutrality to your efforts and continued acts of dishonesty
  2. You are genuinely concerned about the well-being of this person, to the extent you are willing to put your friendship on the line for it.

An ultimatum is a final statement of terms made by one party to another. Your ultimatum can be done face-to-face or via more passive manners, such as an email or a letter, whichever is preferred by you. Because it may have been oblivious to the other person on what’s been happening, you should be thorough in your ultimatum. Give him/her full background on where you are coming from, details as and where necessary, the impact of his/her dishonesty to you and your expectations of him/her for this friendship/relationship to continue. Let the person know your sincerity in continuing the friendship too, so he/she understands the relationship means something to you.

If you friendship with this person is strong enough, he/she might start to get a sense of the severity of the situation at this point. If the party is receptive to your actions, he/she might respond to work things out.

4. Cut the Person Away From Your Life

If steps 2 and 3 does not work, it comes down to the point where you need to cut him/her away from your life.

While you may have the best intentions toward helping the person, sometimes the best thing to do is to cut him/her away. Not only are you doing yourself a disfavor by preventing yourself from being advanced to a higher consciousness state and letting yourself be taken advantage of, you are letting the person think it’s okay to continue their dishonest behavior. Remember, it takes two to tango. As much as he/she needs to take full onus for his/her behaviors, you have a role to play as well if you intentionally let yourself be a party in this equation.

Some ways to do it will be a) reducing contact with the person or b) officially ending the relationship. Method (a) will be more applicable if the person is an acquaintance or a low-contact friend whom you are not particularly close with to begin with. If it someone who is a good friend of yours, I’ll recommend method (b) officially communicating with the individual on ending the relationship and explaining why, since it’s most aligned with being truthful and honest and that’s what you would want to advocate to the person as well. Let him/her know the reasons behind your actions and why you have to do what you are doing. Beyond that, start moving on to the other relationships which elevate you to become a better person.

Sometimes, cutting dishonest people away from your life doesn’t have to be permanent. Spending time away from them usually gives them a chance for proper introspection. They may also face situations in their life afterward which propel them to become better people. A few years down the road and they may have changed into completely different individuals – I often experience this with other people in my life, and I see this happening to myself as a person too. Life can be a really pleasant surprise in that sense. :)

Moving Onward

If there are dishonest people in your life now, try the steps above to deal with them and see how it works out. Remember that you are the leader of your life and you have full responsibility over what happens to you. Never try to victimize yourself and push blame to people around you. No matter what happens, you always have the power to choose your path ahead. :)

This is part of the Dealing With People series.

  1. How To Deal With Energy Vampires
  2. 8 Tips to Tackle Naysayers
  3. 8 Helpful Ways To Deal With Critical People
  4. How To Deal With Dishonest People
  5. How to Deal with Rude People (3-part series)
  6. 10 Tips To Make New Friends
  7. How To Handle Bullying: An Important Guide

Image © 

  • Cristina Ocampo

    Thank you. I need to read your article when I have enough time to absorb everything. This is what I need right now.

  • mastedon2

    I didnt have full responsibility when my wife cheated, and destroyed our family. I didnt have full responsibility as my employer decided to minimize and devalue my job functions over eighteen years of service. These are direct consequences of the chosen actions of OTHER PEOPLE. The only responsibility I have is to change my relationship with them, or cut them out completely.. otherwise, remain meat for the wolves on a daily basis…