November 25, 2021
Former US. Secret Service Special Agent, and current TV host and author Evy Poumpouras joins Jameela this week to discuss the power of fear and its negative impact on your life, her time as a secret service agent as well as how 9/11 impacted her, how to spot a lie, learning to trust your instincts, and more.
Check out Evy Poumpouras’ book- Becoming Bulletproof: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Becoming-Bulletproof/Evy-Poumpouras/9781982103750
You can find transcripts for this episode on the Earwolf website.
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86 — How To Spot A Lie with Evy Poumpouras
Jameela [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to another episode of I Weigh with Jameela Jamil. I hope that you’re all right. I hope that the holiday season isn’t too stressful. We talk a lot about eating disorders within the I Weigh community, and I know that this can be a really triggering time for some people because of that. There’s a lot of talk about food and a lot of talk about losing the weight that you’re gaining now because they just love to keep us in fear, don’t they? They don’t want us to enjoy our pie or our time with our families and friends or just our lives. They want us to constantly be thinking about the terror of the future and how we’re supposed to look according to their bullshit standards. Well, as ever, I urge you to say fuck them and I urge you when you see the content about losing that Thanksgiving weight, losing that Christmas weight, January starting a new year. A new thinner you. Please join me in getting angry, getting really fucking angry that there is a group of mostly men, small group of men who are profiting off all of your moments of pain, all of your tears, all of your thoughts of self-hatred. They designed an entire system to make you hate yourself. And so every time we give in to them when their bullshit advertising and their bullshit advocates and all the double agents, the patriarchy out there who are perpetuating this rhetoric. Get mad, I get so angry now because I’m so pissed that they took so much of my life, I’m damned if I’m going to give them another second. Anyway. I think now’s a good time to feel empowered. Now’s a good time for all of us to feel empowered, and that’s why I invited Evy Pompouras onto my show. Now she is a former Secret Service agent and also a TV host, a writer and multimedia journalist. Super impressive human being. Unbelievable what she’s seen in her lifetime. She has this book Becoming Bulletproof. And my manager told me about it originally, several years ago, and the tagline is Protect yourself, read people, influence situations and live fearlessly. All things that I think all of us would like to do. So I invited her onto the podcast to explain some of these things to me, how she came to these conclusions, how she practices what she preaches. And we discussed the power of fear and how it can negatively run your life. We discuss her experience growing up in New York City, seeing the many dangers of New York City and learning how to be safe and strong. We talk about her experience as a Secret Service agent, as well as how 911 impacted her. We also talk about learning how to spot a lie and learning how to trust your instincts. Now, all of these things make me feel safer the more I learn how to harness all of them. And so I just think she’s a straight shooter and a super impressive human being and the lens through which she looks at the world, it’s so much more fearless than mine. And so I strive to walk through life more like my excellent guest today, Evy Popmpouras, I hope you enjoy. I’d love to know what you think. Please message me and tell me if this episode made an impact on you. It definitely made me think. Evy Popmpouras, what a pleasure to have you here. Welcome to I Weigh. How are you?
Evy [00:03:43] I’m well, how are you? Thank you so much for having me.
Jameela [00:03:46] Oh, it’s such a thrill and a pleasure. And and there are so many things I want to talk to you about that I feel like I haven’t really had anyone to discuss all of these things with on this podcast. So, uh, and I feel like almost now is the best time ever to have this conversation. And so I’m really I feel very, very lucky. I am. I was sent your book a while ago, Becoming Bulletproof. And I have just been gripped and sort of changed ever since reading it. And so I wanted to kind of invite, you on to teach people a little bit of you know what you teach in the book, but also what you just generally teach in your life. First of all, I just want to tell everyone a little bit about your background. You’re a former special agent in the U.S. Secret Service. You also are a TV host. You host Spy Games. And also, you won the U.S. Secret Service Valor Award for being a first responder. 911 and amidst like protecting president after president. I think it was the Clintons, Bush and Obama. Is that correct?
Evy [00:04:52] Yes, that’s correct.
Jameela [00:04:53] What’s ridiculous is if one were looking at Evy right now, as I am you, you look like you’re the same age as me and you do not look like it’s possible that you have lived this much. And and yet you’ve packed so much into such a short lifetime. My first question is really, are you tired? Are you okay?
Evy [00:05:16] You know, I have my moments where I am tired. Yes. But I think because I do what I love, I am not tired. When I chose my profession and I actually started in the NYPD, I felt and still feel that when I’m doing something that I’m inspired by that I have drive to do, then I’m not as tired when I start to do something that I don’t like, then yes, it starts to kick in.
Jameela [00:05:46] But you I mean, you grew up in New York in a time where New York was probably its least safe that it’s been in maybe the last 50 years or maybe more. And you grew up in a family that kind of coddled you a bit like they were afraid of you going outside, afraid of you going to certain schools, because that would mean you traveling like you had to. You were. You were living in a a scary time, especially to be young. A young woman, a petite young woman, a very beautiful young petite woman in an unsafe environment. What was it that drove you to go from being a fairly protected to becoming a protector?
Evy [00:06:24] I think it gets annoying. You get tired when everyone’s telling you, don’t do this, don’t go here. Don’t don’t have that. Especially as a young woman or young girl, everything you do is everything is don’t don’t this, don’t that. And I think one or two things happens. You either become more afraid and then you fall into that narrative or you rebel against it. And I think for myself, I just kind of got tired of it. And you want to live your life. And I think sometimes I would see an imbalance where I would see other people living their life or, you know, maybe men living their lives. I wouldn’t see it as much for, you know, the young men or my brother when they were growing up as much as I saw it for myself. But New York was pretty rough when I was growing up. And it’s interesting you talk about crime because I teach as an adjunct professor and one of the things we talk about is crime. And in the 70s and 80s, crime was pretty high in New York City and almost across the country. And then in the 90s, it started going down. It started going down. There’s a lot of theories as to why it went down, why it decreased. Began going down. And so since the 1990s into the 2000s and then up until where we are now, we have actually overall seen a decrease in crime compared to what used to be.
Jameela [00:07:42] Yeah, I’ve seen footage and it looks unrecognizable the city.
Evy [00:07:46] You wouldn’t you wouldn’t get on a subway like that’s how bad it was.
Jameela [00:07:51] And that’s when you grew up there.
Evy [00:07:53] Yes. Yes. It was when growing up and we I lived in low income housing, which was city housing. And because my parents were immigrants, they came from different countries. And when they came to the U.S., no money difficulty finding jobs. You know, my dad spoke with really, really heavy accent. He looked super ethnic. And so it was almost impossible for him to get a job. Actually, his first job, he worked for free. Nobody would hire him. And he finally went into a donut shop in Harlem. And he asked the guy, Just just let me work here for a little bit. Let me get a reference or a resume, so to speak, right? And I’ll work for free. And if you like me, keep me. And if you don’t, at least, you know, maybe you could be a reference for me. And that was his first job in America, working in Harlem in a donut shop for free.
Jameela [00:08:41] Wow did he end up getting hired? Or did he get a reference? Oh, great.
Evy [00:08:47] Yes. He got the job two weeks after that. And then I think the first night of his job, he actually got held at gunpoint at the coffee shop. I remember, yeah, he told me that. North York City that is what it was like back then.
Jameela [00:09:00] And so did you feel resentful watching your brothers grow up with less of a feeling of don’t go there, it’s not safe for you, you know? Do you feel as though they had more freedom?
Evy [00:09:09] I think sometimes it was hard, like the culture I came from. I came from a Greek culture. So we grew up in this really tight community and you would see it more so with the boys and the girls, the girls. You know, you’re groomed to be a certain way. And and then with the boys, you would see more freedom. So yeah, I think intuitively, at least for me, it kind of bothered me because I was a bit more outgoing, a bit more wild and I wanted to do these things. So I didn’t quite understand growing up, well, why is it OK for this, you know, for this person, but not OK for me. And so I think I actually got wilder and wilder or more defiant maybe is a better word as I got older and and then you hit a point too you get tired of not being able to do things. You get tired of you can’t go trick or treating because it’s too dangerous. You can’t go to this party with these people. You can’t go to this school. I remember getting accepted to a really good school in New York City was a really big deal, and it was… there’s no way I was going to go to the school. I was not allowed to go to the school because I had to take public transportation. So you do get tired. At least for me, I got tired of that narrative, but I’ve also seen other people who grew up with that same narrative. And I think it did them a disservice because it made them maybe a bit more reserved in their decision making.
Jameela [00:10:29] Yeah, you say that I know fear keeps us alive, but I also know that fear can keep us from living, you know, as a young woman. I’m sure you’ve experienced dangerous things, especially in your line of work. But I think there’s a lot of us, you know, we’ve just seen a bunch of very highly publicized murders of women, you know, even walking through the park at eight o’clock at night. You know, there is this like palpable reminder of our lack of safety. I specifically want to understand this feeling of taking ownership of your safety whilst also being actually actively safe because the world isn’t necessarily a super safe place for anyone, regardless of gender. You and I on the phone were talking about the fact that statistically more men are hurt every day than women. There are more murders of men, more attacks on men, but that’s also at the hands of men. Right now I would love for your advice specifically for women who are reading this in the news cycle constantly who feel unsafe. What advice do you have for them?
Evy [00:11:25] First, with the news cycle, and I actually when I left the Secret Service, I began doing the news. I ended up going to journalism school, so I could, you know, do news and do stories based off of topics that were on crime, national security, law enforcement. All that. The stuff you see in the news cycle, they’re called actually celebrated cases. Celebrated cases are the cases that draw the most attention. They’re the cases that keep you from changing the channel. And so I say this because sometimes I feel that the media really depicts this picture for people to be very fear-based. And we want to have a balanced be aware this stuff happens. This stuff has always happened, and it will continue to always happen. Have awareness. Be proactive in the choices that you make, making good decisions on your part. The best decisions you can make, but also being aware that there are people out there that want to harm you, that want to cause you harm who are looking out for their self-interest, self-interest and sometimes their self-interest or their behavior conflicts with you being safe. The other thing I want to share is you can’t be afraid all the time. You can’t be so afraid and watch the news and have these, these these these stories on repeat that make you so fear based, you know, don’t leave your home, don’t do this, don’t do that. And it’s really finding a balance. And I think one of the most important things I wanted to do is live your life. Be proactive, be aware, because there are things you can do for yourself to have awareness, and it’s not just making informed decisions when you leave the house or when you go somewhere, but it’s also the people around you. A lot of assaults, for example, that happen to to us. They happen not from strangers. They happen from people that we know. People that we’re in relationships with family members or acquaintances. So we’re almost groomed. Fear the the stranger is like, no, no, no, no. Have awareness over your whole life. And that means consistently assessing your environment, not just the physical environment, your home, your your safety habits and the things that you do, but also the people in your life. Because the data shows us that when we are around very individuals who are who behave very risky, who make bad choices or live certain lifestyles, that actually impacts us. So it’s really a truly a looking at everything from a totality and just not it’s OK to trust people. And for the most part, as individuals, we want to trust people. But it’s also striving for a balance in that you can give trust to someone, but you don’t have to give them all of your trust. You don’t have to give unconditional trust. And it’s about creating relationships, whether they’re acquaintances, whether they’re professional, whether they’re friends, you know, whether friends, whether they’re people we date, whatever it is, you don’t have to open the gate and be like, Come on in. It’s opening the gate slowly and assessing people and assessing their behavior because not everybody has the best intentions so that there’s it’s really about. It’s more about giving you power in knowing that you can make you can make these changes, you can make these choices and it gives you power over your life rather than feeling powerless that I have no power. There’s nothing I can do and I’m completely vulnerable. And that’s really what I wanted to take away. You know, I wanted people to take away from the book, be aware. But, you know, find that balance and live your life. You can’t be fear based. It’s just, one, it’s not healthy and you’re going to avoid. And here’s the thing. Jameela with fear it spills over into other areas of our life. So you don’t just fear in one lane. Right? You start fearing in all the different lanes of your life.
Jameela [00:15:15] What do you mean? Give me an example,
Evy [00:15:18] So, if I’m very fear based, I might start being afraid to go out on the date to have a relationship, to quit a job that I don’t like to break up with someone or to approach somebody. So we become less risk averse and meaning that we make choices that are so cautious that affects us everywhere. Or we may not go back to school to study what we wanted to do. Fear is like it grows.
Jameela [00:15:41] Like a fungus.
Evy [00:15:44] Yes, it’s like. And you have to extinguish it while it’s still small, if you don’t face your fear, it just it grows and then it bleeds into other parts of our lives. It’s like a seed, and it doesn’t stay in one specific area. It makes us less adventurous and makes us less likely to put in for a job that we really want. It makes us less likely to quit our job. It makes us less likely to speak up for ourselves, and it makes us less likely to even address someone. Sometimes we feel we are afraid of conflict and we see conflict in such a negative way where you can have a disagreement with someone and be assertive. You can be assertive and say, you know, I hear you, but I don’t agree with that. And this is why, rather than having this fear based feeling, I this is going to get heated. It’s going to turn into a fight. It doesn’t need to become like that. And so I think assertiveness and strength are the two things you can do within habit making daily choices in your life, then recognizing, am I not doing this because I’m afraid, afraid of failure, afraid of going out, afraid of taking a chance, because it then becomes your habit that becomes your go to for everything you do.
Jameela [00:16:55] Was this sort of philosophy of yours something that you went into the, you know, the NYPD and Secret Service and into protecting presidents? Or is this something that’s kind of been shaped and confirmed over time?
Evy [00:17:09] I think it happens over time, like we’re all, you know, kind of trying to figure a way around myself included. But I think growing up and being told you can’t do this, can’t do that. No one’s, you know, don’t apply here and you’re going to fail, it’s going to be hard. You get tired of hearing that. I got tired of hearing that. And I think over time the things that made me uncomfortable. I just did them anyway. And there’s a certain strength that comes from doing things that make you uncomfortable or being rejected, you know, putting in for something and saying, I don’t care if they say, no, I’ll let them say no, but I want to put in for it, and I’d rather hear the no from someone else than myself.
Jameela [00:17:46] And also just wondering about it forever, I think that can be really destructive. And and it can make you resent the life that you live. I really love confirmation. I like failure. I like boundaries. And I like finding my boundaries myself. You know, I don’t want to be told. I’m always I’ve always been told, especially in a South Asian woman has always told every single thing that I can or cannot do. And so I think that’s why I take a lot of risks in my career and in my life because I’m stubborn. I mean, it’s clear that there was some part of you that have this, this intense fire and drive and fight in you. Even that story about, you know, when you and your mother came home, I think you were 16 years old and you both noticed that the blinds were open in your house and the lights were on and you hadn’t left them that way. So when your mother opens the door, you see an intruder running out of the house and your mother freezes and you run after him and then go in like clear the house check room by room that there’s no one else there. And you went in there hoping to, I guess, kind of a citizen’s arrest. You know, make sure that you could like, you know, hold them before the, you know, while you’re waiting for the police to come. That’s. That is a wild story for a 16 year old.
Evy [00:18:55] I think I was just tired of being violated because we had been robbed so many times. Our car stolen and you just you get I think for me, I was just like, I’m done. And you see my mom like so frozen in her where she was and thinking, This is our home. It was not the wisest thing to do. Back at the age that I was, and even, you know, what would I have done in that moment? And I do remember seeing the people that were actually in our house robbing, you know, stealing, burglarizing us and then running out through the side door. And yes, you know, there was a part of me that was felt. I’m glad I did in that. As I got older, I realize it’s probably not the wisest thing to do is to chase after someone, but you do get to that point. But it’s interesting to me what made you? What made you because people are trying to put your box and I would think that they tried to make you afraid to make those right?
Jameela [00:19:49] Yeah. And I think that there’s like, you know, I think some of that is because some this this there’s truth in some of the things that they’re saying that until now, certain things haven’t been done a certain way, but that doesn’t mean that that’s how everything has to continue. It’s like, Oh, you’re too old to go to America or you’re too this or you’re too that. It’s like, fair enough. I understand your concern that that thing hasn’t existed up until now, but maybe I’ll be the first. And maybe then I’ll inspire someone else to be the first something else, you know? But we have to at some point we like it. Just because something’s been always been done that way doesn’t mean it has to carry on as such. And also, I think especially with women, we especially fear mongered is that we don’t try because if we do try, we might run the risk of discovering our potential and fulfilling it and then inspiring others. And then suddenly you’ve got this wave of women taking ownership of their lives and being completely exceptional unapologetically. And then fuck was the patriarchy going to do? They don’t want us to be confident.
Evy [00:20:44] I love what you’re saying because it’s being, you know, even when I went into it, I transitioned from a previous career of going into TV and there was like, Well, you’re kind of, you know, coming at this from an older age. And I was just like, you know, I’m going to do it anyway. I’m going to do what I need to do and let somebody else tell me no and then. And if you get a no here, well I’ll get a yes there. But you do get tired, at least of everybody telling you, don’t do this, just don’t do that. And I tend to think, Jameela, that it’s other people impose their fears onto you. Right? Because it’s almost like if you accomplish something, if you do these things, if you break the rules, if you if you are, if you are different, right, then it’s kind of holding up a mirror for them who for the choices they didn’t make because there’s always that part of it. Because whenever I always ask myself two questions, when somebody gives me their advice, when it’s unsolicited, who are you? Why should I listen to you? And it’s like, Who are you? What? What individual are you? And then what do you mean to me? And then why should I listen to you? What experience do you have to give me this advice? Where is it coming from? Because sometimes people say this stuff because of their own fear based mindset. And that’s another thing I keep in mind because it’s other people projecting their fears onto me. Or if I succeed, you know, what does that say about them and the choices they did or didn’t make?
Jameela [00:22:10] Mmm. I yeah I feel exactly the same way. I always feel like if people then see me succeed at the thing they told me not to, then they’ll think of everything that they didn’t try at and wonder, Fuck, could I have? Could I have also been successful if I tried for that? I think it’s just too painful a thing for it’s regret, isn’t it? Is that thing that we were discussing earlier. Regret is something that’s too painful sometimes for some people, and they avoid it, sometimes even at the cost of your ambition by trying to stunt your growth. To avoid their own disappointment or regret about themselves.
Evy [00:22:42] Yeah, it’s it’s a reflection of us too, right, when we see other people do stuff and we think, what choice did I make or not make? Could that have been me? And you talk about regret. There was a research study done and they they asked people that were towards the end of their lives, you know how they felt about regret. And they asked him, Did you regret the choices you made when you failed or did you regret not doing things? Overwhelmingly, they said they regretted the the times when they didn’t do something versus when they did something and did not succeed. Their regret, their lifetime regrets were the things they never did. And what does that come from? Fear.
Jameela [00:23:30] So tell me some of the things that you think have been really valuable that you’ve learned throughout your first career. Well, call it your first career because you’re not finished acquiring new careers and acquiring new skills and breaking new, you know, glass ceilings. What what to you were some of the most valuable lessons that you’ve learned and have been able to take out with you in life?
Evy [00:23:50] Accountability. That’s a big thing, not blaming everybody else around me for what’s going on around me. That was a huge thing. I think that was a big thing that was drilled to me, drilled in me in training and drilled in me. You know, both academies, some in NYPD and then when I went to the Secret Service and, you know, not complaining, nobody wanted to hear it. Get it done. And that was huge because I became a problem solver rather than dwelling on what somebody else is doing to me, why they’re doing this to me. There was no, it’s just get it done. And when you when you are accountable, it’s it’s interesting because some people think accountability means saying that it’s my fault and somebody else is doing something to me when I should reflect it back onto them. And what I learned accountability meant was it doesn’t mean that it’s not about blame or fault, it’s about power. So it’s like, yes, people are going to do these things to you. But rather than sit and waste my energy trying to figure out you and why you did this and that, it’s kind of let that person play checkers, so to speak. I’m going to play chess and game this out so that I can make better choices for myself and not rely on you or not be affected as much by you, by that outside person. It really taught me how to deal with people and also taught me not to take things personally. That was a big thing.
Jameela [00:25:14] What do you mean?
Evy [00:25:15] Well, you’re in law enforcement, people hate you. They hate they hate you. They spit on you. When I did interviews interrogations, I was called horrible names. People are screaming at you and you didn’t even do anything. And so when you’re able to withstand that? And, you know, understand that it’s not personal and that you can put that aside and still behave professionally. Still speak and not get frazzled, that’s a huge thing. I guess I learned how to govern myself and my emotions and not lose my mind or get so emotional when somebody did something to me. I was able to put my ego to the side, assess the situation and really assess a person’s behavior and try to understand what’s going on with this person. Why are they behaving this way and not make it about me? Because we always make things about us where the sun everybody revolves around us. But when you have the ability to step back and say, what’s going on with this person? Well, kind of. Where are they in this moment? Why are they behaving this way? Most of the time has to do about them. And when you can take yourself out of it and you cannot let yourself get flustered or let other people mess with you, then you can make more intelligent choices. You’re not as emotional, you’re not as reactive. You’re responsive.
Jameela [00:26:27] So what are some steps people could take to to kind of get to a place where they are able to govern themselves better?
Evy [00:26:36] Stop complaining about other people. That was the number one thing I learned to do, because then once you start doing that, when you start to complain about other people and blame other people, you give all that power over there and then you can’t do anything. So unless this person changes or does something or alter something, I’m completely screwed. I’m completely screwed. So rather than putting that energy into that and giving them all that power, it’s catching yourself the moment you start blaming somebody else. Not that it doesn’t negate that they did something. Yes, they did something. Yes, they’re doing things. Yes, maybe they’re manipulating, but it’s like, What can I do to shift the patterns shift things? That was the one thing. And then also when there’s a problem rather than dwelling on it, and replaying that CD over and over and over and over in my head, it’s always been about taking my power back. OK, what can I do about this? I I learned to stop, you know, waiting for other people to stop looking for permission, to stop waiting for other people to accept me for stop to stop waiting for people to give me respect. I learned that you don’t need all these things. That you give them to yourself if you command yourself in this way. That stuff comes on its own and sometimes people. For example, Jameela they may not give you respect. So what? So what do I need it? I don’t.
Jameela [00:27:52] Well, you’ve been undermined like a bunch of times in the beginning of your career in particular, I think just purely based on your gender or based on your size. You know, I was reading about all those kind of trials of people just being like, You don’t deserve to be here or you’re able to lift your body weight easily because you don’t weigh that much as though that makes a fucking difference. You’re still say you’re not the same size as them lifting a different body weight. You’re lifting your own physical body weight that that means that you have the equivalent strength. And so I think that’s amazing, and I think that a lot of us benefit when we start to decide on our own measurements. I mean, the whole reason that the podcast is called, I Weigh because we are taking ownership of what our worth is rather than society deciding for us that your weight is based on a number on a scale, it’s like, No, no, no, I think I will decide what my value is and I weigh the sum of my motherfucking parts and I’m going to decide what that value is and how I measure it. And every single person’s I weigh, you know, they send them in at the end of the show every week, and each one has a completely different one. And it’s it’s so interesting to see all the ways that different people are taking ownership back of how they see themselves. It is pivotal, I think, to our growth to set the bar according to our standards. Not all these different individual people who are all products of their individual experiences, nothing to do with us. It’s not personal. I think it’s so great that this is what you’re teaching. One of the other things you talk about a lot in this book is is lying. And I found that really gripping. I have 9000 questions about it. You, you have become an expert. I mean, you were an interrogator, so you have had to become an expert in in knowing when someone’s lying to you in how to how to begin to chip away at their lies to find a way to kind of ease them in, to telling you the truth. I think this is so, such a fascinating part of your life and job, and I feel so grateful that you have given us the tools to learn some of these things along with you in your book. But also, I want to know that as someone is now kind of become an expert in telling when someone’s lying to you, how has that impacted your personal life? So that scared the shit out of lovers?
Evy [00:30:14] Well, you know, my husband, he’s got a similar background to me, so it’s balanced out. But even before him, yes, some people can be uncomfortable with it. But I never really was very public with what I did. I didn’t really, you know, when you’re I think when you feel confident in who you are, you don’t need to tell people who you are and what you do, especially my previous career. I just never told people I would lie to people like, Oh, I do hair. I just would not talk about what I did. But with regard to reading people lie detection, I felt that that was really important because all the strategies that I learned to use in the interview room with people there was like this kind of a myth that only a suspect is going to lie to you, someone who we think committed a crime. Everybody lies. Victims would lie. Witnesses would lie. Sometimes a witness would lie because they wanted so much to help you solve the case that they would lie or exaggerate or smudge the truth because they wanted to be so helpful or a victim would lie because they couldn’t remember something. And so they they want to be helpful and they would kind of fill in there rather than say, Hey, I don’t know, I don’t remember. So lying is something that happens to us quite a bit. Now with relationships. To me, this is one of the this is one of the biggest confidence boosters in my life because I began to be able to read people a bit clearer because what people say is not always in harmony with what they mean. Even good people and you know, and it’s like good people lie. First of all, we all lie. But I can ask you, Hey, Jameela, how are you? How’s your day? You can be like, Evy I’m great. I had a great day.
Jameela [00:31:45] I’m English. That’s what we do.
Evy [00:31:49] Meanwhile you might have had a horrible day. It’s we or we lie because we just don’t want to be open books for people. It’s like, I just don’t want to share that part of me with you. You ever like, talk too much to someone afterwards? You think, like, I wish I didn’t give them all that. I didn’t want to share so much. So
Jameela [00:32:05] Every week on this podcast, I overshare.
Evy [00:32:10] You’re helping people. You have a bigger mission behind that.
Jameela [00:32:15] It’s also interesting learning for you that, you know, a mission of truth is actually the most prevalent way that people lie, that they’re being, that they’re obscuring the context of something or they’re changing the context of something with their omission of the truth. And we’ve been kind of like using that, I guess, as a get out clause. If I didn’t lie, I just omitted the truth. And it’s like that’s a hugely dishonest thing to do is still, I’ve definitely had boyfriends say that to me in the past.
Evy [00:32:45] Yeah, we leave. So it’s three ways people lie right. The number one way is flat out lie. I just made the whole thing up. The second way people lie is I’ll tell you the truth. Sprinkle in a little bit of a lie. Tell you the truth. Little lie. So it’s kind of like this up and down thing. The majority of us lie by omitting things out. I just I just won’t say it. And so a lot of people will push back and they’ll say, Well, no, you’re not lying. You’re not a lie is not coming out. The minute you leave something out. It changes the context of the of the situation. If I leave something out, the story can mean something completely different. But it’s the number one way like people like to lie. We don’t feel as bad. We don’t feel like liars. We don’t feel like we’re doing anything and then if we get caught. Like you said, your ex-boyfriend is like, Oh, I forgot to tell you, I just didn’t mention that. No, no, no. He knew exactly what he was doing. That person knew exactly what they’re doing. They leave it out because it’s more convenient for them. They don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to hear pushback. They don’t want to be told, you know, or questioned more. So we leave it out and it makes things quieter for us. But those are the harder situations to assess because what is this person leaving out? And this is why in the book I talk about listen to people, let them tell you a story. So rather than saying to a significant other or a partner saying, you know, who did you go with last night? Tell me about what you did last night? And then just listen to their story and listen to the words they use and how they tell that story. And then as they tell that story, you start to throw in more questions, sprinkle more questions in. The great way to catch people lying is one not to let them know that they’re being interviewed by you. Let them feel like it’s more of a conversational. My interviews, my interrogations, Jameela, they were conversations. There were conversations. You can’t. You can’t bully people. You can’t get in people’s faces you. That stuff doesn’t work because it shuts people down. So part of it is kind of swallowing your ego and pride and not calling people out but letting them tell you a story and then finding the holes in that story. There’s two different things you want to let people know how smart you are and that you’re catching them in a lie. Or do you want to be informed about a person so that you can make better decisions about your relationships, whether they’re personal or professional? And so sometimes, even though my god in the TV industry, you know, I’m always assessing people and listening to their language. And then I found,
Jameela [00:35:10] Oh, good luck.
Evy [00:35:12] I’ll come to your meetings with you, Jameela. I follow them in my head, and then there’s people where I think, OK, I need to be more aware of this person, this person. You know, I can’t really rely on their word. This person leave things out or this person. Everything’s awesome and great with this person. But then their actions show me something very differently, very different. And so that’s. There’s power in understanding the people around you rather than feeling you’re like this recipient of stuff and you have no idea what’s what’s going on.
Jameela [00:35:44] So, I mean, look, I know that we’re all individuals, we have different like tells. You know, when we’re lying. One of mine is that I start smirking as soon as I’m being dishonest, which is a deeply unfortunate and hugely obvious. I look down at the ground, and I start smirking even while I’m trying to tell like a really serious lie. So I get hugely undermined by all of the all of my flatmates. You know, when I’m lying about, I don’t know like some nonsense about taking the bins out or something. There’s something to do with like a recycling lie. I tell very inane lies. We all do mostly about delegating housework. But I look down and I smirk and that is a big, unfortunate tell of mine, so I can’t get anyone to take me seriously. It’s made me less of a liar actually knowing how bad I am at it. But we all have these different. James, my boyfriend, he starts to laugh. If you push him even slightly on it, he’s still trying to say the words of the lie, but he’s laughing through all of them. And so this is just it’s it’s pathetic. But but everyone has individual tells. Are there any kind of overarching consistencies when it comes to how to tell someone is lying?
Evy [00:36:57] No. And I always get very frustrated.
Jameela [00:36:59] Fuck.
Evy [00:36:59] People doing that. Think of it this way, Jameela. Think about how, how diverse we all are as people. DNA, genetic makeup. Our parents, how we’re raised, where we’re born, how our socioeconomic background, our education, our experiences our trauma. All those things play such a role into the person we are and become. So, how can there be right? Think of it that way. How can there be universal ways that we all lie? Now, some people may have similar patterns. So you talked about James. He has nervous laughter. That is something that some people who lie do when there people are very uncomfortable, they may begin to laugh or if they’re about to.
Jameela [00:37:39] Why do people laugh when they’re uncomfortable?
Evy [00:37:41] Well, it’s a stress releaser. So there’s two things there. When we lie, our body builds up stress. We don’t want to lie. It’s uncomfortable. We don’t want to get caught right. We don’t want to get caught in that lie or we have a reaction. You ever have somebody think about, maybe when you were younger, like somebody caught you in a lie that feeling that kind of a flight or freeze that kicks in this whole physical reaction that happens, we’re we’re afraid of it in a sense. We don’t want to get caught. It’s a bad thing. So it’s stress leaving the body. So for some people, stress leaving the body is through a nervous laughter. Now think of it this way, it’s his mouth, right? The mouth is typically a delivery mechanism of where we lie. The words that come out of my mouth. This is where my lies going to come out. So usually with some people, we’ll see patterns where the stress stresses stressors will be in their mouth. So maybe they bite down a lot, maybe they (clears throat) right before they’re about to deliver a lie. They’ll put the hand in front of their mouth right before they’re about to say it. Some people have nervous laughter, their laugh while they’re lying to you. So there’s James laughing, and it’s just and it does make sense because that’s where the lies coming out from number one and number two, it’s his body trying to relieve the stress. Lying is hard, and look, we don’t want to lie in life, especially about big things. It just makes our lives much, much, much, much harder. But there are moments where it happens and lying is you have to think about what you’re going to say, how are you going to deliver it? Is it.
Jameela [00:39:06] Gotta remember it.
Evy [00:39:07] Am I going to remember it? Yes. And then you’re also paying attention to the person you’re speaking to. What are they saying? Are they listening to me? What are their responses? And then at the same time, you’re trying to control your body that does this involuntary stuff. So when James laughs and I always I often tell people, when you’re talking with someone and they start doing that nervous laughter and you’re, oh, you’re fighting, don’t say to them, Why are you? Why are you laughing? This isn’t funny. They don’t even know they’re doing it. I think really, it’s important to understand the people around us because we also want to protect ourselves because it’s so it’s not just physical protective protection right, you started off talking to me about New York City physically protecting ourselves. Jameela, it’s also about just protecting ourselves from people because even good people can hurt us. Even good people can manipulate us because good people can do messed up things to us and justify it to themselves. It’s OK for me to do this because Jameela did this, this and this and this to me, or if I don’t do this, this and this, and this is going to happen. And so part of what I wanted to do with the book is this is why sometimes we get blindsided. I don’t know how this happened. This person is a horrible person. No, it’s not. They justified what they’re doing. And so I think it’s important with the book, I talk about how to read people understand people understand their motives so you can see something coming at you.
Jameela [00:40:27] Talk to me about Ted.
Evy [00:40:29] Tell me. Explain. Describe.
Jameela [00:40:31] Yeah.
Evy [00:40:32] Rather than asking somebody direct questions so earlier when we’re talking about going out at night. So instead of saying, who did you go out with last night? Oh no, no, no one, just peanuts. It’s breadcrumbs. I want to know what you did. I want to know everything about last night. So if I ask you, who did you go out with last night? So the person they say, Bob. What did you you and Bob go to? We went to Lenny’s. How what time did you get there? Do you see like you when you have somebody especially who doesn’t want to give information, they’re going to give you one word answers. But when you say to somebody, tell me what you did last night? Describe to me what your night was like. Now you’re forcing the person to tell you a story. And so what’s interesting here is one they’re going to tell your story, and you’re going to see how they color it. Where they started, where they ended. Who’s in it. What they choose to tell you. And in that way, I’m going to get more information. Or, for example, when we go back to my previous career, if I had somebody who says, excuse me, a witness. And I wanted to ask that witness about a car right that was on the scene. I wouldn’t say to that witness was that car, a red or brown, because then it’s very narrow. But how about instead, I say, could you describe the vehicle to me? So now what I think is red or brown, they might think is pink or beige? Right? Who knows? And then also, they might be like, Well, you know, one of the doors was actually black and then it had tinted windows. And actually it wasn’t a car it was more of an it was an SUV. And so I’m going to get more information this way when you ask a very specific pointed questions, which is okay, but that’s better to do later in a conversation when you want to get somebody a bit more focused on what you want to get into. But when you can get people to tell you a story or paint you a picture, that’s a wealth of information because you don’t know what they’re going to share.
Jameela [00:42:17] Right? But how do you know? How do you know with that information, what they’re sharing? If that’s true or not, what is it about getting someone to describe a situation or describe their night? How does that influence your ability to tell if they’re lying or not? Is it that you’re picking holes in their story like, Okay, so let’s just take for an example, right? Let’s say I have a friend and her husband. She suspects the husband has been cheating on her. I’ve been in this scenario many times with friends of mine. So he comes back from a night out, right? She’s at home. He’s been out with friends. She says, Describe your night to me. He describes the night that he had and and you know, she gets the detail. What was it? Ted stands for? Tell me, explain. Describe right? So so what is there about, you know, he says, I went to my friend’s house and we just stayed in and we ate dinner and we hung out with their kids. He explains the whole night. Then what? What does that give away to you?
Evy [00:43:19] Then she should be keeping a really good mental notes. And then after that, she can verify some of the stuff. Did he go to that friend’s house? She can check, you know, this is like depends like how deep you want to go. You can check. You can ask him maybe a week later about that same night and see if you get the same answer. People who lie lack consistency because they can’t remember their stuff. So if I was really concerned, I might ask them something to describe something where I would look for discrepancies in their story, which which will happen. But you don’t want to do it right after, and you also don’t want in that moment. If you suspect someone’s doing something, it’s best not to let them think that you suspect it. It’s best to let that be relaxed not on guard and just watch. It’s hard to do. It is very hard to do, especially if you have a friend, right? You have a friend who feels like her, her spouse is cheating on her. It’s a hard thing to do, but I will tell you this, gather as much information as possible. And if it starts to feel not right, it usually is not right. I had someone reach out to me. I this happens so often and she wanted to give her husband a polygraph. An acquaintance was like, Can you help me? I want to give my husband.
Jameela [00:44:32] That’s a lie detector test for anyone.
Evy [00:44:35] And I said, Why? Well, you know, I think he’s cheating on me. OK, what makes you say that? Well, he’s cheated on me before. OK, well, what makes you say this about now? Well, you know, I’ve heard some things and I saw some of his texts, and I want to I want to polygraph him. I said, I’m going to tell you something, if you were at the point where you want to polygraph your husband, you already know the answer. And so sometimes she’s just like, I just want to catch him. Catch him for what? We tend to know the answers sometimes, and we don’t want to know. And so we think I want the truth, I want the hard, hard proof, which sometimes it’s hard to get. But this is where Jameela, I think we really need to listen to ourselves and to our instincts. And in those moments, what you feel is actually science, the science behind it, our sixth sense or intuition, our instincts, it’s what we process before our mind has had a chance to catch up, before we’ve had the time to assess it, that nagging feeling, those moments where you’re like this feels lost. We have to listen to that. But what we do is we dismiss it because we ask. We lack trust and confidence in ourselves, and we talk ourselves out of things we know and think about those moments where you knew or felt something. You didn’t listen to it because you’re like, Well, I can
Jameela [00:45:55] always goes tits up. Always a disaster when I don’t listen.
Evy [00:45:58] And so that that intuition is, is it’s something you must learn to listen to and that comes with confidence and trust in yourself. So I listen to that. So if you have a friend who’s asking these questions, she’s asking these questions because there’s a reason they’re coming up. And if there are moments in the relationship discrepancies, inconsistencies and the catching him in a lie is when you have him retell that story or listen to dialog of his later on and looking for those inconsistencies in the dialog. And then also, if you know someone you know, if they have tells. Like you talked about your tells or James’s tells, and so you start to see these things. But what happens is our friends sometimes don’t want to know the truth like we because we are invested in someone right. We’ve put so much time and energy and heart into someone we’re invested in that person. And we don’t want to believe that they will do anything like that. And we don’t want to know sometimes because it’s like, why did I put all this time and energy? And it’s a really hard thing for people. So sometimes too we, we conveniently believe what they tell us, even though sometimes we’re like, it’s nonsense. And the way they explain things to us, we know like it doesn’t sound right. And so think of those moments in the past where you have believed someone. And I’m not saying that sometimes we can always prevent it, but we think, you know, all those nickels start dropping. You know, I knew something was off. They said this and they did this. And then also. The one thing you’ll see with people who are dishonest in those situations, what they say is not consistent with their actions over a period of time.
Jameela [00:47:36] Who do you mean?
Evy [00:47:37] So what they say, the way the things they do, it’s. Yeah, of course. I’ll call you later. They don’t call later. Of course, I’ll let you know when I land. They don’t let you know, Oh, I fell asleep the night before. Sorry, it was, you know, my phone with my phone died. When you hear stuff like that? That’s inconsistent with what somebody that’s they’re telling you people be like, Oh, I’ll do these things, but then do they actually do these things? What do people show you?
Jameela [00:48:04] But some people genuinely forget. You know, I’ve got friends who always say they’ll text me when they get home safe, like, I do that with my girlfriends all the time and they just forget and they get home and then they go straight to the fridge and then poof I’m gone. Me and my nerves are gone.
Evy [00:48:20] So it’s a different scenario. If you’re in a scenario in a relationship with someone, Jameela, and you say to that person. This is important to me. I think that those are different because I have similar situations. Where I’ll tell a friend like, Hey, let me know when you get home and they don’t they forget. So I’m talking about. In sometimes in context, when you have those issues, if every time your significant other travels with a certain person and they never let you know. You know, maybe with the specific coworker when they’re going to bed or the phone always is if you look for change in behavior.
Jameela [00:48:53] Right, I know exactly what you mean. Yeah, I had a friend whose husband would like dress differently, you know, on certain days, and she started to clock that the new intern, you know, was in on those days. It’s really fascinating. It’s really fascinating. I’ve I’ve got there are so many stories like that. I don’t know if I’ve ever been cheated on. How can one ever know? I don’t think I’ve ever been cheated on, but I’ve never been looking for it. But I know a lot of people who have. I always wonder if I guess some people have a habit. I have some friends who think because they’ve got trauma from being lied to or cheated on or betrayed in some way. They then take that forward into life and become like a shadowboxer. Do you know what I mean? Like, what do you do when something’s happened before that then makes you always look for it again? Like, a lot of people have lied to you in your past, and now you’re always looking for people to be lying to you. You think people are lying to you even when they’re not. How do you get past that so that you can get back to your intuition? Yeah, because it fucks with your gut instincts. You know what I mean? It doesn’t fuck with, but it covers your gut instinct.
Evy [00:50:09] I think that, you know, it’s really important what you just said, because just because somebody else did something to you, it doesn’t mean you should shit on other people in the future.
Jameela [00:50:17] But how do you extract yourself from that trauma to be able to, like, listen to your instincts?
Evy [00:50:21] Well, you shouldn’t. I think that this is where self-assessment comes in, and if you catch yourself being mean or inappropriate to someone because of something somebody else did to you that’s on you.
Jameela [00:50:32] Or suspicious,
Evy [00:50:33] that’s on you to assess yourself. If there’s nothing in this person’s behavior that they’re doing, then don’t don’t look for it. Be aware. Have awareness. But if no somebody is not showing you something, then they’re not showing you something.
Jameela [00:50:47] Is it worth telling that person? How you feel, is it worth going to a therapist like is it worth talking to your friends? Like, what do you do or do you do? Like when you think you’re being lied to, you don’t know that you’re definitely not being lied to. You really believe it with your whole heart. What do you like? How do you unpick that?
Evy [00:51:05] Sometimes we sometimes they get you. Sometimes you find out when it’s late. There’s I have not been able to catch everybody always right. Sometimes the liars is somebody very close to us, somebody an intimate partner, a family member. Right. And we do our best to try to be as proactive and assess the environment around us. I think if we’re very in tune to the people around us, it will help us in feeling their energy, really paying attention to people and being aware. And that’s what I have a lot of awareness. When I talk to people, I listen to the language that they use. I know some of the stuff and I talk about a lot of it in the book. I look at change in behavior, shift or language perhaps that can show me that there’s a discrepancy in what they’re saying versus what they’re doing. But if you’re you can tell. Let’s say, if you’re moving forward to another relationship, you can tell that person, Look, I was cheated on, but that person also shouldn’t be the recipient of the of what was left over from that.
Jameela [00:52:03] 100 percent, 100 percent. No, I agree with that. I just wonder how one gets back to that instinct post-trauma. You know, we were talking at the beginning of this about fear. And you know, when you and I spoke on the phone, I said that I feel very fearful, you know, alone in my house or walking down the street at night. I feel very, very fearful because I’ve been very bad experiences when I was younger. And it’s I guess my advice has come. The advice I’m looking for is the practical advice of. I mean, is it just therapy? I did EMDR therapy, which helped me become able to be alone in the house and alone at night and alone and like to have the lights off. These are things that I couldn’t do before. But some people just are damaged. How do you get back? How? How would you suggest people get back to their like, actual instinctive human self?
Evy [00:52:50] I think it’s one is doing the work like you did work you recognize, Look, I need to do this work and whatever that work is for you, which is internal making as many choices as you can to protect yourself in the future. But I also think strength comes from knowing that we’re vulnerable and being OK with it. You cannot prevent everything you can’t. You can do everything you can in your power to set things up so that you can be safe and succeed. Right. And so that you don’t get blindsided, but you also have to be OK for when it happens to you and not fucking fall apart.
Jameela [00:53:25] So right. I know what you mean. Yeah, it’s because your book is called Becoming Bulletproof, but I guess part of that is understanding that you will never be fully bulletproof and learning how to protect yourself accordingly.
Evy [00:53:38] I called it Becoming Bulletproof and I compared the book the chapters in the book to wearing a bulletproof vest. I wore a vest in my previous career, sothat if I got shot, I would I would survive. I’d have the best chances of surviving. The vest covers the upper portion of my body. I could get shot in the head. I could get shot in the leg and bleed out. There’s there’s a whole bunch of ways I can die, or I could have my arm up and the bullet goes underneath my arm and into my heart. So I was never completely bulletproof. It’s nonsense. That’s why when I hear people, I want to be fearless. Like, Good luck, you find me that person. There’s nobody that’s devoid of fear. Fear is good to some degree. It keeps you alert, it keeps you aware, it keeps you safe and helps you make good decisions. It helps you say this person should be in my life. This person shouldn’t be been my life. It helps in that way, but also strength and confidence and power means I’m OK with being vulnerable. And so when I get sideswiped, I’m not going to completely fall apart. I’m not going to completely lose my mind or lose my shit and be like, Oh my God, it happened. I understand that it’s going to happen because people, it’s just part of life. We go through this, we’re going to get hit. How can I best recover from that and not let it completely sink me? And so doing the work where if you need to do work depending on how serious your trauma or experiences right for different people is different. But I feel like if you 911, I experience September 11th. I was there on that day. I was there after that. Three weeks later, I was on a plane. Was I uncomfortable, sure, but I was like, I’m getting on a plane. I can’t let this mess with my head. And that’s how I dealt with it. I got on the plane.
Jameela [00:55:19] But anyone who’s like raising a kid regardless of their gender. Do you have any advice if we could start young for how to make your kid quote unquote bulletproof?
Evy [00:55:32] More resilient? Let them make mistakes. Let them experience failure. They they I teach as an adjunct professor and. There was a research study, and they looked at kids who grew up in inner cities versus kids who grew up maybe more in the suburbs. They looked at basically their ability to bounce back their resilience. And they found that the kids who grew up in inner cities and had experienced more adversity later on in life were able to overcome problems and problem-solving better than those kids who grew up in a more protected environment who had not learned to problem solve on their own and had not really experienced difficulties. I think when you I think it’s become like a very negative thing to experience adversity. Like we want to avoid it like, well, we don’t want failure. We want these negative thing. But those things, Jameela, they make us strong. And those are lessons because think of it this way, if you protect your kids so much, what’s going to happen to them, then they’re going to get into adulthood and they’re not going to you’re not going to be able to protect them from everything or even from experiences in school, and they’re not going to have the tools to manage it. And so when something happens to them, it’s going to completely annihilate them. Allowing them to experience disappointment to experience adversity, I think, is a very powerful thing.
Jameela [00:56:59] Yeah, it’s been something I’ve had to learn even as an adult with my friends, like I’ve made so many mistakes that I try so hard to like. I used to try so hard to stop my friends from making the same mistakes because I knew what it felt like and I knew what would happen. And so I didn’t want them to go through that same pain and trouble. And so I would just just be way too overbearing when I was young about trying to get them to stop them from, like, don’t see this person or don’t go out and do this thing or don’t like you live your lifestyle like this. And I realized after a while that not only was I becoming like a pain in the ass parent, but also they’re not. They’re going to learn from that. As long as I don’t think someone’s actually going to risk their lives, I now assess like, how bad is it going to be if they do fuck this thing up and it does go wrong? If they’re not going to die and they’re not going to really dramatically destroy theirs or someone else’s lives, maybe the most effective way they will learn to never do this again is just to fucking do it. So funny, isn’t it? Wow. Well, look, everyone should go out and buy Evy’s book called Becoming Bulletproof, it’s just full of so many things that you never even thought to think about or to learn about, or to notice that you will never unsee or unhear ever again. Evy, before you go, will you please tell me, what do you weigh?
Evy [00:58:16] I weigh that. I try to be a person of service to others and not to just make choices that benefit me only in my life.
Jameela [00:58:28] Great. Well, thank you so much. It’s such a pleasure to meet you and I hope we get to actually meet in person sometime.
Evy [00:58:34] I hope so, too, Jameela. Thank you so much for having me. It was such a pleasure.
Jameela [00:58:38] Thank you. Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode. I Weigh, with Jameela Jamil is produced and researched by myself, Jameela Jamil, Erin Finnigan and Kimmie Gregory. It is edited by Andrew Carson, and the beautiful music you’re hearing now is made by my boyfriend, James Blake. If you haven’t already, please rate review and subscribe to the show. It’s a great way to show your support. We also have a bonus series exclusively on Stitcher Premium called Ask Jameela Anything. Check it out. You can get a free month for Stitcher Premium by going Stitcher.com/Premium and using the promo code I Weigh. Lastly, over at I Weigh, we would love to hear from you and share what you weigh at the end of this podcast. You can leave us a voicemail at 1-818-660-5543 or email us what you weigh at IWeighPodcast@gmail.com. And now we would love to pass the mic to one of our fabulous listeners. Here is an I Weigh from one of our listeners, I weigh my commitment to lifelong learning and friendships living authentically, the people I’ve met and the lessons I’ve learned from playing basketball all the times where I felt proud of myself, along with all of the times I made mistakes.
November 27, 2023
This week, Jameela is joined by writer, broadcaster and feminist organizer Clementine Ford to discuss the historical roots of marriage as a tool of patriarchal control, the illusions surrounding modern matrimony and the modern marketing machinery that sustains its myth.
November 20, 2023
Jameela is joined by beauty culture critic Jessica DeFino in a candid conversation about where her current research and journalism is taking her, after years of covering a multi-billion dollar beauty industry for major women’s magazines & beauty apps in the US.