Most lies aren't worth the trouble, so don't get caught up in them. Take it from these Redditors, who got caught up in some ridiculous lies in the workplace. For some people, the lies they told seemed easier than explaining the truth to their colleagues. For others, their lies are the only thing that stands in between them and unemployment. Still, it's better to just tell the truth, that you don't get stuck in a nasty web of lies.
Content has been edited for clarity.
It Was Supposed To Be A Prank
“I have numerous people as well as my job convinced that I’m colorblind. I do have some red/green, but people are convinced my life is a never ending 1940s movie.
This has been going on since college when I made a joke about it in college and someone took me seriously, so I thought I’d make it a prank because we had an art assignment together. You know, go to put the wrong color on. Ask for the blue, point to the purple. When we finished, I told him I was joking and he said, ‘You don’t have to feel bad, man,’ and I let it go.
They got on to the same job as me and it spread. Because of this, I’ve complimented workers from their hair color going from ‘slightly grey’ to ‘dark grey.’ I’ve had people volunteer to go through folders where differences are different shades of colors and put symbols so I’d know what was what. There are different colored signs to print information on and I will pretend to be looking at the numbers in the corner so I can ‘tell’ which is which.
I’ve legitimately considered faking a fall to ‘hit my head’ and jump start seeing colors. I mean, that doesn’t work, but they’d buy it after I’m pointing out yellow bananas, right?
Oh well, I did it to myself.”
A Half Truth Is Still A Lie
“At work, we had this stupid ice breaker thing. Two truths and one lie for new employees. I was nervous, so I did two lies one truth. The other lie was kinda a half truth. It was that my family owned three restaurants, but technically these restaurant belong to my uncle who I’m not close with.
My co-workers kept wanting to go eat there with me. One of them was near by. We ended up going there and it was super awkward. I didn’t know the wait staff. I remember there only being one bathroom, but there were two.
I prepaid the day before to look like it was on the house.
It’s so stupid. The person who made us play that stupid game doesn’t even work for the company anymore.”
Haggis All Day, Everyday
“I once worked at a British pub at a Mediterranean island. One day, a very nice couple in their 60s from Scotland came in and we start chatting about how much I like Scotland, etc. (It’s true, I’m in love with Scotland and Ireland).
Eventually the lady asked me if I’ve tried authentic haggis. I said no, and she said she’d make some for me. What I didn’t expect was that she would come two days later with a homemade haggis. She puts it on the bar, looks at me at the eyes, and expects me to eat right there. Young me, I go for it. It was absolutely horrendous. But being polite, I said it was great.
And she said, ‘Godt! From nawo-on I’m gonna be meking ya every dhey!’
Poor me. I ate haggis from May to November every single day that she brought and was looking at me at the eyes until I swallowed.
Unfortunately, it never became something to enjoy, but yes, it indeed became more tolerable at later months.”
“At my first job, I jokingly told my manager I was Jewish and couldn’t eat something she brought to a work thing we had because it had bacon all over it. Really, it just looked gross.
I only worked there for a couple years, but she’s sent me a Hanukkah card every year since I met her. From age 16-28. Every time I see her around at the store or out to dinner in town, she always asks if I got her card and I always tell her yes, thanks so much!”
“I Felt Like Such A Moron”
“When I graduated college in 2013, I landed a decent State office job. I worked with mainly women 45-55. I was 23. I was still living in a bachelor pad and drinking a little too much a few times during the week.
So, one night I got hammered. I woke up in a complete daze, still wasted and already 20 minutes late to work. I grabbed my phone without thinking and called my boss. She answered at the 1st or 2nd ring. I was stunned and started stumbling my words. While BEANS rolled out of my mouth, I told my boss my girlfriend was up all night throwing up blood and I was in the hospital with her and couldn’t make it in today (What the heck, brain?!).
I went into work the next day and had a card from my unit saying get well soon for my girlfriend. Then one-by-one, my co-workers came over and asked me about her. I lied and said her cysts ruptured and she was puking blood (she did have an ovarian cysts that would bug her but wasn’t serious enough for surgery). I then had to repeat this lie for another month, plus while co-workers asked me how she was recovering. I even had to research what meds people take for cysts and throwing up blood.
I felt like such a moron.”
The Office Vegetarian
“The cafeteria at my work is rather expensive. To save money, I always ordered my meals without meat. So a veggie only salad, grilled cheese instead of a burger, taco salad with no beef etc.
The workers came to the conclusion I was a vegetarian, even though I am not. So when I did feel like getting a burger, one of workers jumped in and said, ‘No, she doesn’t eat meat. Make her a grilled cheese.’
The manager magically seemed to notice, too, and gave me a free prepackaged salad one day without meat because it was the last one left and said, ‘I heard you are a vegetarian and I wanted to give you this.’
So now I am the local vegetarian and can only eat meat away from work.”
“I Just Never Bothered To Correct Them”
“I was working in this factory as I saved up to live abroad for a year or so. I was talking to this guy and trying to explain it, but the machines were very loud so I wasn’t sure how much he understood. It was getting harder and harder to explain more and more annoying to repeat myself. We were talking for a while and I said, ‘Yeah, my dad went to Japan for awhile when he was my age,’ and the guy said, ‘Oh, so that’s why your eyes look like that.’
To be clear, I am white, but I always get comments that I look Asian from people. Mostly because of how my eyes look. I figured, what the heck. I was done explaining things and repeating them, and I was probably never going to talk to this guy again, so I said ‘Yeah,’ and just didn’t bother correcting him.
Well, then it got spread around that I was part Japanese, and I didn’t really actually talk to many people there, so I didn’t really have a chance to correct it, but I noticed the Asian people at my work started giving me approving head nods. And that was it, until I started working with this really nice Haitian guy who was really friendly but sometimes kind of hard to understand. He walked up to me one day and just goes, ‘Ching Chong Shing Wong She Sha,’ or some other nonsense. And I just looked at him, confused, before he said, ‘That’s the language of your people.’ And I was shook. I had just experienced a LASAGNA, for a race I didn’t even belong to, from a guy I had never even expected it from.
I literally had no words. Anyways, I actually never corrected anyone, so until the day I eventually quit, and probably to this day, the people there all still thought that I was part Japanese.”
How Uncle Gus Got His Name
“Years ago, one of my best friends and I worked together at a restaurant known for its surly wait staff. I was going through a phase where I told everyone my name was Gus and that we were brothers, yada yada yada. There was a whole backstory and everything.
We got lots of bachelorette parties. Lots of them. My buddy was a pretty attractive guy, well above the average, and charming as all get out. As you may imagine, he didn’t have too much trouble finding interested partners for an evening or an hour or whatever.
We had a busy night one night. I had a bachelorette party with lots of girls, one of whom takes a shine to my friend. Yes, that’s something I could help with. I introduced a girl to ‘Gus’s brother’ and told them to have a fun night.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and these two are dating. Over drinks one evening, he tells me just how serious it is. He has to come clean about my name. It’s eating him up that he’s been lying this whole time, but he’s terrified of losing her.
The next time I see her, she’s still calling me Gus. Now I’m getting a little nervous, so I ask him about it, off to the side. Oh no, he told her, she thought it was hilarious and she’s just going to keep calling me Gus.
Which she does to this day. Now, their kids call me Uncle Gus.”
He Didn’t Have The Heart To Tell Her
“I spent 5 months in the Peace Corps application process and one of the girls I work with kept asking for updates because she really, really wanted to join. This job would’ve had me teaching biology in rural Ghana for 27 months and I kept telling her I probably wouldn’t get it because it was a high demand job with only five openings.
She was SO ecstatic when I got the job that I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I turned it down because I felt like I had a little more personal development to do before I leave like that. So I told her I didn’t ‘medically clear.’
It somehow comes up in conversation every so often and everyone who works there still thinks I accepted, but failed the medical exams.”
Too Embarrassed To Correct Her
“My wife was talking to her co-worker at work one day. And they started talking about me. She told her my mother is Japanese. Then her co-worker asked my name. My wife replied and said, Robert (not my real name, but it’s a common western first name).
Co-worker: ‘Thats not Japanese, is it?
My wife: ‘No, but his younger brother has a Japanese name. Strange right? He’s called Hiroshi (not real name).’
A few days later the co-worker asks: ‘How is Hiroshi doing?’
Co-worker: ‘Your husband.’
Wife: Oh, he’s doing fine.
Somehow the co-worker remembered my brother’s name as my name and my wife didn’t correct her right there at that moment and now I’m forever ‘Hiroshi’ to the co-worker. We were invited to her house for dinner and I had to be ‘Hiroshi’ the whole evening, introducing myself as ‘Hiroshi’ to her husband. We receive Christmas cards for ‘Hiroshi’ and I have to sign cards to her with ‘Hiroshi.’
My wife still is too embarrassed to correct this, so I just avoid meeting her co-worker now.”
The Most Tragic Lie
“My coworkers still think I have a year old baby.
I was in an extremely emotionally abusive and manipulating relationship. Looking back at the pictures of me are unsettling. My face was jaundiced and I just looked depressed.
So let’s get to the meat and potatoes. Unbeknownst to me, my ex-girlfriend faked being pregnant or had a fairly early miscarriage that she hid from me. Fast forward to the due date, she texted me saying that she went into labor and that she had the baby. For context: this was just one text message and I was at work. I start jumping up and down telling my coworkers that I’m a dad and I run outta work. I kept calling her to see where she was so I could visit her and the baby. She didn’t respond.
Not responding was nothing new to her. There was always some excuse. She didn’t show up to my family reunion because ‘she was in jail for an old warrant’ or my mom’s wedding because ‘she missed her flight’ or when my mom came into town to visit because she accidentally slammed her hand in the car door (She actually did do this but not on accident. She legit broke her hand to not see my mom). Even though this was her M.O., her not responding still had a devastating affect on me. I was a wreck thinking the baby or she died. My family friends and coworkers kept asking me if the baby was okay. Trying to cover up the abuse, I lied and said yes.
Finally after several days, she comes home in the middle of the night and says the baby was stillborn. I was devastated. I wanted to see my baby. I called every hospital so I could see my RJ before she was cremated. But there was no record of ‘ex’s name’ being admitted or a stillborn being delivered in any of the hospitals in a large radius around me.
I ended up having a breakdown in a hospital lobby. A receptionist took pity on me and called a hospital patient counselor (or something to that effect). She hears my story with great patience. Tells me she’ll be back in a few minutes and explains to me without violating HIPPA, that my ex was never pregnant, there is no baby, and that I have been given fake ultrasounds for the duration (and that my ex had lied about being a doctor. She failed out of med school).
I came clean to my family and friends about my ex’s deceit, but I couldn’t to my work because I had taken all the family leave to recover mentally. I assumed I could’ve been fired for telling them that there is no baby. Now I have someone every day or so asking me how my dead, imaginary kid is doing and I have to respond. It’s killing me on the inside.”
“I Had No Idea You Could Speak Russian!”
“When I was 17, I worked at a supermarket. We had just gotten a new supervisor who didn’t know my sense of humor yet (I’m a RAVIOLI, but people think it’s funny). I was talking with my coworkers about an old coworker that quit a few weeks before my new boss started. The old coworker was Russian and I could mimic his accent and his mumbling really well.
The new boss says to me, ‘I didn’t know you speak Russian.’
To which I replied, ‘Yeah, my grandparents speak it. I absorbed most of it.’
He thought it was cool and we went on our merry way. Until two years later, when a customer was causing a ruckus at the front desk. The customer was Russian. My boss remembered his employee who was fluent. I was sent to placate the man. I spoke gibberish Russian phrases I remembered from my old coworker with his accent. The customer was getting angrier and angrier. I finally told the store manager that the man wanted a refund and wasn’t leaving until he got it. They gave him the refund. The store manager took me aside and asked me what he was saying. I had to make something up.
To this day that manager, who I don’t see very often, still thinks I’m fluent in Russian.”
The Lie Turned His Life Into A Sitcom
“I was speaking to a guy in work and I mentioned that my dad was Celiac (meaning he can’t eat gluten or wheat). He replied, ‘Oh have you met __, he’s the same.’
‘Oh,’ I replied, unsure what to do with this information.
We got round to another topic and he asked me after a few minutes, ‘So do you get out there much?’
I was really confused. ‘Why would I go to Syria?’
He looked at me strange and replied, ‘Because your dad is Syrian..?’
I realized what had happened, but instead of replying, ‘Oh no, you just have misheard me…’ I said. ‘Oh right sorry, yeah we go there now and again. I got a few uncles there.’
I have now met the Syrian lad who works here and my life for the last year has been like a sitcom, having to Google place names in Syria that my fake uncles live in so I can discuss it with him. I am British, but luckily have a slight tan so it looks like it maybe could be real, but I really wish I could just drop this whole thing.”
This Lie Saved His Job
“I’m deaf in my right ear, but the company I work for would remove me from my position if they found out.
I work in a factory. My position is the highest hourly in the plant, and we run a series of machines. These machine have safety sensors that make sound.
The series of machines is about 200 feet long and each has it’s own alarm. The problem is that there is no indicator light for the alarm because the company decided to cut those parts for redundancy.
A few years ago, we had someone like me, deaf in one ear, who reached into the machine despite the alarm going off. Because debris builds up over the speaker, it becomes difficult to hear unless you are right up on it.
To prevent that, the job requires you to be able to hear a certain frequency range, which some people can’t.
Every year, we do a hearing test and every year if I don’t hear a beep after 3 seconds, I just click the button.
For the last four years, my right side report has shown an increase in hearing in my right ear, so they sent me to a specialist to get a more randomized testing. I told the doctor when safety wasn’t in the room and he understood my plight, helping me by raising his hand while I was in the booth when he returned.
My wife knows. Everyone else thinks I’m a terrible listener.”
Worse Than A Migraine
“Starting today, I’ll have to maintain a lie about a friend / colleague’s death.
He took the last two days off with a ‘migraine.’ He was secretly depressed and in emotional pain having lost his girlfriend to cancer earlier this year and his house mate found him a few hours ago, having committed suicide.
The two days he took off, combined with some time he took a few weeks ago, was straining the relationship with our client where he was outsourced to the point that if he didn’t show up tomorrow they were cancelling his PO.
Tomorrow, we have to go and tell the client that wanted to fire him off site that he died. We’re not going to tell them he committed suicide, we’re going to spare his dignity and tell a white lie that he passed suddenly, likely an aneurysm (believable due to the migraine story).”
He Can’t Escape His Lies
“Years ago when self publishing on Amazon was a new thing, I wrote a book and published it using a pen name and telling no one. I expected nothing to happen, maybe I’d sell a few copies and make like $5.
Except my book sold. A lot. I still didn’t tell anyone, but I kept writing books. I now have over 30 books and haven’t had a real job in years.
I managed to conceal these books and the money coming in (I handle the finances) from my spouse for several years until the pile of money (never spent any) got big enough that I had to confess, because eventually my spouse, who has all the passwords to all accounts, was gonna log on for some reason and see this frigging pile in the bank. Luckily, my spouse was cool with it. I was literally shaking when I told.
To this day, no one but my spouse knows this, and my spouse only knows about one series of books. People, including my entire family, think I import goods and resell them on Amazon and eBay. I actually do sell on those platforms, but only to maintain the fiction that that is where my income comes from.
I can’t explain why I won’t tell anyone about the books. This is like, the worst series of decisions I could have made. I can’t escape it. One small thing led to another small thing that became my life of a big fat lie.”
Joining The French Foreign Legion
“A few years ago: It was my last day at my job as a Information Security guy at a university. I was leaving to do a Masters degree elsewhere. Most people knew the details, but a dear sweet woman in an adjacent team asked me where I was going. One of my colleagues chimed in and said, ‘He’s joining the French Foreign Legion. To do… security things.’
She lit up with excitement; a cousin of hers was in the FFL, based in the UAE. She spoke for a few minutes, gushing about how exciting it was and that I would be missed! I couldn’t get a word in. She was so engaged and happy that I didn’t have the heart to tell her in front of a room full of people.
It still comes up at get togethers and my buddies still salute every time I go back to visit. BEANS.”
Nameless Family Friend
“I’ve worked at a seasonal (summer) restaurant job for several years, and my first year there a bald headed man with a goatee who I did not recognize at all called me out by name and said hello, but I was too afraid to ask who he was so I pretended I clearly knew him.
It’s been four years now and the conversations have only gotten more specific and detail oriented, but I’m in way too deep now to figure out who I’m actually talking to.
Through our conversations, I’ve learned he knows my father, but it’s always generic things like that we look alike or speak alike, so I can’t pinpoint how they know each other. Plus at this point, asking if they work together or something like that is a dead giveaway that I’m clueless about who this guy is.
I have tried asking my father about him, but it’s never helped me figure it out, I’m waiting for the day something clicks in his head and he figures out who it is.”