Anderson: How Do You Know Someone Is Lying?

Superman PoseDeception can be a dangerous thing.  Anderson Cooper from the  Anderson talk show,  spoke to women who told their stories of having boyfriends or husbands that lied to them while hiding very dark and violent sides.  How could these women have known that these men were lying to them? Were there any signs they could have picked up on to avoid these men and harm to themselves?  We all get lied to in different ways in our business dealings and in our personal life.  Are there any ways to protect ourselves and to identify when we are being lied to?  Anderson’s guest, Janine Driver, body language expert, who has helped train law enforcement personnel to detect when people are lying gives us some valuable clues to look for.

Janine says that lying comes into play in our lives daily in one out of five social situations.  She says the lying and having people in our lives that lie, is becoming the new normal.  She said she is on a renegade mission to make our new normal authenticity and honestly so we know who really “has our back.” 

Janine points out that there are all kinds of business situations on both sides of the counter where people are lying.  From students who are applying for scholarships, and women who say they are single mothers and are seeking help from the government, to mechanics who will tell you that your car need repairs when it does not.  Janine says even when you go to hire a live band, beware.  She states one example of a band, quoting a price for one event, for one day, for three hours.  If you tell them it’s for a wedding they will charge you three times more than if you tell them it’s for a corporate event!

What are the non-verbal clues that someone can pick up on that they are being lied to?

Anderson used two scenarios to bring out some deceitful behaviors to be aware of.  A volunteer car mechanic tryed to convince a woman she needed more car repairs than she actually did and three volunteers told personal stories to Janine. One was a fake story and Janine, the studio audience and Anderson tried to guess which story was a lie.

Here is what we learned:

  • Hands and shoulders go up in a shrug – Sign of Uncertainty. Someone makes a definite statement like “You need a new timing belt.” but at the same time is giving you a sign of uncertainty, “The Shrug!”
  • Stalling techniques – For instance, if you say something like “I wasn’t expecting it to be that expensive.” A mechanical might comeback with “What, are you calling me a liar?” or “You think I’m trying to rip you off?” If you drop those first couple of words, they are literally telling you “I am trying to rip you off!” In Janine’s profession this is called the Statement Analysis. In that statement, the liar is actually confessing.
  • Smirks – Sign of moral superiority. But what the liar is saying is that you are the easiest mark. For people looking for a sign of lying, Janine says this is the kiss of death.
  • Hands on hips – This is a broadside display. It’s done to make the liar feel more important and bigger than he is. It’s almost like a bullying display. Janine calls it “The Superman” pose. Liars are trying to get you to believe “I am coming to save the day!”
  • Intimidate you with safety – With car mechanics they will say something like “I wouldn’t put my kids in that car if I were you!”
  • Sign of LiarLips In - Sign of LyingLips completely disappears – Another uncertainty clue. This happened with the story teller. Janine’s motto is “When we don’t like what we see or hear, our lips suddenly disappear!”
  • Saying words like “Obviously” – This very suspicious. Liars will say something like “obviously you need to get this fixed!”
  • Using distancing language – One woman said she was stressed at having  “told you the story about my daughter.” The word story was a red flag for Janine. “Story about my daughter” is not taking ownership as with someone who would have said “when I told you about my daughter’s brain surgery”

Once you realize someone is lying to you, how do you counter act their lies? How do you not become a mark?

  • Hand On Object - How to ward off liars  Instead of standing directly in front of someone, stand beside them as if they are your friends. Salesmen know this technique and use it often. Also when you stand beside them, take up space. Like putting your hands on your hips in “The Superman” pose.  One favorite of Janine’s, especially for women, is to stand with one hand on your hip and the other hand on an object like a chair. And then say “So, what do you think I need to have done with my car?” Immediately the liar will have an increase in stress and you will have an increase in success.
  • Shhh- Ward off liarsPut your forefinger in front of your lips as if you were saying Shhh! – Don’t actually say Shhh, but maybe saying Umm! Who in your life tells you Shhh! Your mother or the librarian. If you think someone is lying to you, whether it’s your kid, the wedding planner or the mechanic, by simply listening with your forefinger to your lips, you are saying to them “Please stop talking and trying to sell me!”
  • Low SteepleSteepling – this is a sign meaning power and authority and confidence. You will see Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey do this. This is a good move especially for shy introverted people who are afraid to speak up. And if someone is overselling you, overpowering you, trying to bully you, don’t say anything just create space by leaning back and do the Steeple - The GodfatherSteepling. This position can be scary. Janine asked have we ever had someone say to you “Come into my office.” and they had their hands in “The Steeple?”  Janine said you will become addicted to the Steeple pose.   Another tip, if someone low Steeples you, you give them a higher Steeple called “The Godfather.” Now if somebody pulls the Crowning Steeple Godfather on you, you lean back and do a “Crowning Steeple.” This lets them know “I am not going to be messed with!”

What body language mistakes do we make that might tell people we are stressed and possibly lying?

  • Holding Wrist - sign of anxiousnessHolding our wrist – this is the number one mistake we make.  The reason why this touch is a giveaway is because we touch ourselves in times of anxiousness as a way to pacify ourselves. It stems from when our mothers used to hold us by our wrists.
  • Holding Elbow- sign of anxiousnessHolding our elbow  – The rule is the higher you hold, the more anxious you appear.
  • Fingers intertwined – You will appear a little anxious but maybe polite.
  • Stroking Your Throat is a sure sign of being anxiousStroking our throat – This is the number one giveaway for women that they are in a stressful situation. You are saying “It’s okay! I’ll get through it!”

The mechanic that appeared on Anderson and volunteered to “rip off” our female customer was Danny Yoon. He and partner Audra Fordin are from the Great Bear auto shop in Queens New York.  They are very reputable mechanics who very often get clientele who come to them for a second opinion because they feel they have been lied to elsewhere. They find usually only half of the original estimate is the truth.

With so many people afraid of being taking advantage of in business situations like getting your car repaired, you can visit Audra Fordin’s website,  It is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing education and resources that empower people of all ages to be safe, confident, and smart consumers, drivers and passengers.

When is it ok to Lie?

Janine Driver admits that she lies a lot in her own life. If her six-year-old son asks her how she likes his picture, no matter how bad it may be, she is going to tell him it’s the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen. The reason why she says she can lie and feel okay about herself is her intentions for lying. In her son’s case her intention is love. When you lie it goes back to what your intention is. If your intention is to get someone to do something that they are uncomfortable doing or to make someone feel pain or lying to someone in retribution, then she doesn’t think it’s okay.

To learn more from Janine Driver about the body language mistakes that might be holding us back, go to


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