Dear Uncle Mat

What is the best way to find out if someone is lying to you? I really can’t give you any details about the situation, but I believe someone I trust and consider a close friend is lying. I am afraid to confront this person and want to know how you would go about uncovering the truth. I hope I am wrong and this is why I don’t want to just ask them. I also don’t want to be deceitful or backstabbing to this person. Sorry for being so vague, but thanks for your help. 

—Looking for the truth


Dear Looking, 

Your thanks may be a bit premature — I’m not certain I have an answer for you. Or not the answer you want. I want to tell you there is an easy solution, but without any details I can’t even guess what this could be about.

Refusing to speak to this other person directly leaves you with no choice but to be deceitful on some level. You can engage friends or an outside party to discover more about the situation, but that is going behind this person’s back. You may feel it is justified, but it breaks your request to avoid backstabbing and deceit. And if you’re wrong, your friend isn’t lying, you will be in a rather uncomfortable place and on the other end of the stick you are waving today.

You admit that there is a lack of trust with this person; that is the break in the relationship that you need to address. I am not saying the truth won’t be horrible or hurtful, but there is another loss here that is greater than the one lie. What is the source of the breakdown in your communication? Why can’t you openly speak about this situation or issue? What if the lie or perceived lie is a symptom of a greater problem?

The lie could be the beginning. This person could be making choices to pull away from you. The answer to this situation is to have an honest and direct conversation. Swallow your fear, treat your friend or whomever with respect and tell them how you feel. It is possible to ask without accusing. It isn’t easy, but every relationship has a shared language, and if you act out of care for this person, you can talk to them about this without hurting their feelings.

Much love and honesty,

Your Uncle Mat 

What is the appropriate age for a young single woman to move out of her parents’ home? My older sister graduated from college a year-and-a-half ago and has a good job. She has a savings built up, owns a car, and is totally independent, but is still living at our parents’ house. I am currently away at college,  and we talk all of the time. She talks about her friends who live on their own and she is clearly ready to move out but doesn’t think it is appropriate. Our family is old-fashioned and my parents think she should live at home till she gets married. They also expect that I’ll move home when I graduate. I don’t want to move home and want my sister to move out, too. Our parents are great, but with the average age people are getting married getting older, we don’t want to live at home till we are 30!

Not that my parents would listen to you, but what is your opinion? Maybe you can help me sway my sister and my parents to see things my way.

—Ready for the world


Dear Ready,

There isn’t anything you can say to your parents to change their mind on this subject. Except maybe, “I’m pregnant and I have no idea who the father is!” or “I sure do love heroin! Where’s your purse?”

Just be nice and respectful and move out or don’t move home. Maybe you and your sister could live together? They can’t stop you. They may be rough and tough about it, but remember it’s out of love and a value system their parents raised them with. If they can be reasonable while not getting exactly what they want, you could involve them in the apartment- or house-hunting. Parents like feeling useful.

Much love, freedom, and independence,

Your Uncle Mat

Uncle Mat answers questions about relationships, sex, pets, and art. Email him at [email protected],, or check out the Dear Uncle Mat Page on Facebook. Your true identity is safe with him.