Exaggeration is a powerful tool leveraged by the people pleaser. Distorted facts, recollections that stretch the imagination, and embellished stories all cleverly mishandle the truth. Solomon said: “Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart” (Proverbs 26:23). Just like that coating of glaze over earthenware makes the outside look better than it truly is on the inside, so exaggerated words allow the people pleaser to appear more significant on the surface than he feels in his heart.
The Bible warns us not to be gullible to exaggeration: “A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps” (Proverbs 14:15). Simple, or gullible, is the first of five progressive words for fool in the Hebrew language. We must deflect the indirect difficult behavior of the people pleaser and remain connected with his heart by not becoming gullible to exaggeration.
After connecting with the heart of the people pleaser by not gossiping, next deflect his difficult behavior by not becoming gullible to exaggeration. In unthreatening fashion, ask for verification of facts or other eye witnesses when wisdom tells you that the people pleaser is exaggerating. “Were you really there?” “Who else saw that?” “What would they say?” “Where could I download a list of those facts?” These are all examples of wise questions that deflect exaggeration.