Dear Abby: Should I correct my boyfriend when he lies to people?

He has a habit of stretching the truth to everyone he meets — including his girlfriend.

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DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend has this bad habit when we meet new people. It can range from a neighbor to someone like our landlord. During the course of a conversation, he’ll lie and exaggerate certain facts about his life, our life or something more sensitive, such as our financial situation (which, might I add, is not good).

It bothers me, because I’m an honest person who finds no reason to lie to people I meet. If it’s a subject I don’t want to discuss, I keep my mouth shut. An example: He told our neighbors we would consider buying the house we currently rent, but that our mortgage company would need to approve us for $40,000 more. The truth is, we CAN’T get approved for any mortgage because our debt is too high.

In the moment, it’s hard for me to determine if I should “play along,” casually (or firmly) redirect the conversation or correct him. I don’t like leading people to believe something that isn’t true. He has lied to me about some serious matters in the past. I’m sure his purpose isn’t malicious, but it makes me uncomfortable. If I try to address it with him, he blows me off like it’s not a problem.

How should I handle these situations in the future? It makes it hard to make new friends when we’re not being honest from the start. — TRUTHFUL IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR TRUTHFUL: Your boyfriend’s difficulty with the truth is a huge red flag. He dismisses your concerns because they are not important to him — just as the truth is not important to him. I am relieved you described him as your boyfriend and not your husband. What he is doing will have an impact on your future — financially and socially — when folks start to recognize he is a phony. My advice to you is to end this romance before your own credibility suffers.

DEAR ABBY: A few years ago, I bought my mother-in-law a 9-by-13-inch pan with a lid (a popular name brand). While I was visiting her, she mentioned that she needed a new lid for her pan. When I asked her what happened to the original lid, she told me it had gotten warped. My sister-in-law then piped up and said it was her fault because she had it close to the hot oven and it had melted.

I think my sister-in-law should replace the lid, but she is refusing. My mother-in-law expects me to do it. Please help me figure this out. My husband thinks we should just replace it, but I honestly think his sister should. — HER FAULT IN THE EAST

DEAR HER FAULT: You may honestly think that your sister-in-law should replace the lid she ruined (an opinion with which I concur, by the way), but it ain’t gonna happen. So keep peace in the family by ordering a new one for your MIL, and try to smile when you do it, even if it’s more like a grimace.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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