only take someone so far

Hello everyone,
the context (J.D.Vance, 'Hillbily Elegy', chapter 6) as follows:

One of the questions I loathed, and that adults always asked, was whether I had any brothers or sisters. When you're a kid, you can't wave your hand, say, "It's complicated," and move on. And unless you're a particularly capable sociopath, dishonesty can only take you so far. So, for a time, I dutifully answered, walking people through the tangled web of familial relationships that I'd grown accustomed to.

Please, could you tell me what's meant by only take you so far and what (word) only take you so far refers to?
I'd very much appreciate your help. Thanks in advance:)
 
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  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Most people aren't "particularly capable sociopaths" (i.e. able to skillfully lie and take advantage of people and not get caught). So lying in the long run is not a successful strategy for most. Lies are eventually and inevitably uncovered. He had to come up with a different plan.
     
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