How to Deal with Dishonest People
Dishonesty is a quality which sits at conflicting ends with truth. Many of us have probably experienced dishonest behavior by others at some point in our lives, be it people keeping secrets, lying, keeping up a facade, being hypocritical, or trying to cheat us. On the map of consciousness, dishonesty tends to be dominant among lower consciousness people.
While we can try to stay away from such people, such people still slip 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 (as opposed to lying for the better well-being of another). Meaning, white lies won’t be applicable here. Here, I’ll be talking about people with a tendency to manipulate, lies for his/her personal goals, has no care for the other person’s well-being, and so on.
My Experiences with Dishonesty
Given that truth is one of my five core values, dishonesty is at conflicting odds with me. In fact, one of the things I pride myself in doing is being authentic and being open and truthful in everything I think, feel, say and do. If you have been a long-time reader of PE, you’ll know that this is exactly how I write my blog articles and how I’ve been running my blog all these years.
Having said that, this doesn’t mean I’ve been always honest when I was much younger. 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 behaviors afterward that I understood the implications.
Growing up, there were times where I trusted people, some whom I thought were friends, and had that trust broken afterward. There had also been cases where I collaborated with people and they disappeared mid-way, with no explanation or accountability. When I was 18, I joined a MLM company for a short period where I saw how the leaders would manipulate people against their wishes through both subliminal and persuasive techniques. It was definitely an insightful experience, a perfect example of how I never want to run my business or conduct myself in life. And then after I started my business, I experienced a few cases of online fraud; fortunately most of the times the tricksters failed or not much was lost.
It was from these negative, dishonest experiences 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 their dishonest acts, you will typically find that they are because of a desire for acceptance, love, or to address a personal need, 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 will be more receptive to the circumstances which led him/her to act in that manner.
That being said, that doesn’t mean you should allow yourself to bear the brunt of dishonest dealings. You should never allow dishonest actions to perpetuate or let yourself suffer from others’ dishonest behaviors. Below is a series of steps to deal with dishonest people.
How to Deal with Dishonest People
Step 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. I’ve found that meditation helps me to raise my consciousness by several notches in just five to ten minutes.
Next, after you’ve raised your consciousness, ensure that you remain in this high consciousness state. One great way to do this is to imagine this safety energy shield around you that only allows in good energy but blocks out bad energy. I typically do this visualization during my meditation, and then go about my merry ways in the day, impervious to negative energy.
Because dishonest people may resort to manipulation, it’s easy to get tangled into that state of lower consciousness if you do not raise and ground your consciousness. Having a higher consciousness gives you leverage and perspective when communicating with the dishonest folks. While they may try to perform acts of deceit, your higher consciousness allows you to see through those actions and be impervious to that. It puts you in the right frame of mind to perform the next step.
Step 2: Forget “An Eye for An Eye”
Now, some people will recommend that you give the treatment of “an eye for an eye.” That the punishment must match the injury, and these dishonest folks should get retribution / bad karma for their negative actions, and that this bad karma should come in the form of your reaction.
I can understand why they would say that. After all, the bad agents of the society should not go scot free without due punishment (for example, swindlers who cheat old people of their life savings).
However, I’ve found that such reactions do not bring you anywhere at the end of the day. Firstly, when you try to retaliate against a dishonest person, the person will likely follow up with more dishonest acts (since that is his/her current consciousness state — he/she is unable to act with a higher consciousness level than what he/she is used to), turning this into a downward spiral. You have to constantly watch your back for the next retaliatory action from this person; not only that, you never know if he/she is truly genuine in his/her communications with you. Next, when you try to punish others based on your own moral assessments, it means you have pulled yourself down to a lower consciousness state, which doesn’t aid you in becoming the best person you can be. Last but not least, it is not in our place to act as the karma police and determine what the other person should get. I recommend to leave this to the police and the karmic laws of nature as opposed to taking matters in our own hands.
The same applies for other low-consciousness reactions such as anger and violence. 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 their low consciousness, as opposed to elevating them.
Step 3: Rather, Respond With Genuineness and Honesty
So 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/her consciousness than reacting with dishonesty.
If you need to seek resolution about a particular action he/she did, then do it while (1) maintaining a high 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! 😀
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 Motion, 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 surrounding people. If so, then you’d want to consider Step 4.
Step 4: Consider an Ultimatum
This step is applicable if:
- 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.
- You are genuinely concerned about the well-being of this person, to the extent you are willing to end your friendship to stop such behavior from perpetuating.
- His/her dishonest behavior is affecting both you and him in a negative manner.
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.
Sometimes, the dishonest action may be by someone whom you don’t know and don’t have an existing connection/relationship with. If that’s the case, then an ultimatum will not be necessary — skip to step 4.
Step 5: Cut the Person Away From Your Life
If steps 3 and 4 don’t 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. 🙂
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. 🙂
[New!] Want to Book a 1-1 Call with Me?
After ongoing requests about my coaching, I have set up a 1-1 consultation page for you to book an almost-immediate call with me for quick advice. You can use the call to
- Get advice on a relationship/career/life issue
- Pick yourself out of a rough spot
- Address personal stress or anxiety
- Pick my brain on a new business/web project you're working on
- Clarify/Dig into a concept in my articles
For more information, click: Book a 1-1 Consultation Call with Me