An Embellisher is an individual who, in a social setting, will recount a personal story concerning an event that occurred in their life which contains a percentage of fiction. The Embellisher, however, should not be confused with the Compulsive Liar, whose stories are one hundred per cent pure fiction.
The Embellisher can be categorized under three approximate levels:
The Social Embellisher: 75% true, 25% fiction.
The Chronic Embellisher: 50% true, 50% fiction.
The Sociopath Embellisher: 25% true, 75% fiction.
The degree to which an individual is an Embellisher must be assessed on a story-by-story basis. Any Embellisher can range from the mild to the extreme.
Most Embellishers learn their craft from either a parent (or both) or from a close association with a long-term friend.
Recognizing an Embellisher is relatively simple. Embellishers will use words or phrases that are highly exaggerative. For example: “Everybody cracked up laughing at something I said.” The Embellisher is always within the confines of their story the center or focal point of positive attention. The more exaggerated the story becomes, the greater the level of fiction.
An Embellisher will rarely, if ever, recount a story in which they are viewed negatively. An Embellisher’s goal is self-promotion.
The Embellisher will also increase the amount of fiction within a given story each time they retell that story. They will also recount stories that are not socially appropriate. Stories that are sexual in nature, although not explicit, are a favorite of the Embellisher in mixed company, since these stories tend to elicit a strong attention response.
Within the realm of a social gathering, where someone will tell a story about something that happened to them, the Embellisher will immediately interject with an even wilder, more fantastic tale in order to gain the group’s attention.
Embellishers for the most part are harmless to others. But just like The Boy Who Cried Wolf, once an Embellisher has been identified by their social peers trust issues arise. It’s the same as knowing how a magician performs his greatest trick. The illusion is gone. Now it becomes a daunting task of sorting out the facts from the fiction.
It takes a very strong-willed individual to be in a committed, loving relationship with an Embellisher.
Under no circumstances should you confront an Embellisher. You have two options: Ignore their embellishments completely or just smile and go along with their charade.