I need a bit of advice on how best to handle a 3 peer, and his tendency to tell white lies-- among other things. This chap, while generally a pleasant and charismatic person, can be very self centered, and tends to project a false image of transparency to win people over (ultimately to avoid being vulnerable for real). In truth, I can only handle being around him for so long before I want to scream. I realized recently though, after 4 years of knowing him, that we don't really know each other at all. I actually felt bad about it and wondered if I jumped the gun in judgement, so I set up a coffee meeting with him. I did this out of a sincere desire to reconcile our differences, hear him out, and hopefully see the best in him. I do not do this often for people in general, much less for someone who rubs me the wrong way consistently.
It was horrible.
When I expressed my intent for the meeting, he got all puffed up about it and tried to turn the time into a Q&A about himself. Literally prompting me for the "next question" every two minutes. UGH, talk about false and conceited. Anyway, I tried to salvage the situation and get back to normal conversation, but it didn't work. When I left, my face unabashedly looked like this:
Over the 4 years I have known and worked with him, I've often thought back to things he said and found inconsistencies. Usually about things that make him look cool, nothing serious-- but still. What grown man lies about stupid crap to make themselves look good? Even last week, I mentioned the dance studio I attended growing up, and he claimed to have attended there too. "How old are you again?", I said, thinking perhaps if he was a few years younger, that I could have not noticed him. Nope, he's a year older than me. I expressed surprise since I knew all of the older students, and he abruptly changed the subject. This is the normal pattern when I've confronted him gently about things that don't add up.
This year I am supposed to be working on a project with him, and I'm trying to figure out how to do that gracefully (i.e. without punching him).
I've tried giving him the benefit of the doubt many times, and questioning casually like the above. I've even full on confronted him about his lack of depth, but he tries to BS his way out of it every time. I would have left this alone long ago if not for the fact that that we volunteer with high school kids (that's how I know him), and I don't feel comfortable knowing a deftly persuasive liar is working with impressionable teens, right under my nose. It's so difficult, because the kids love him and he's great with them-- but I'm still obviously concerned. I should also say, I am not the only one who has noticed his behavior.