Don’t Trust the Smile: How to Deal with and Protect Yourself from Charismatic Liars


Image: Pinterest

Have you ever been face-to-face with someone you know is lying but you failed to say, “Hey! You’re lying!”

Many of you might claim you’ve always stood your ground and that you’ve never been fooled by anyone’s lies and deceptions, and you can recognize a lie the second you see it or hear it. Good for you! I would say you are really, really discerning and insightful.

I’d also venture to guess that you’ve missed some lies along the way. Probably some of the biggest and most damaging lies. I am almost 100% certain that all of us have been lied to by a charismatic liar, and we either still believe the lies or it took us many hours, days, months or even years before we recognized them as lies.

Charismatic liars are the ones who lie straight to our faces and do it with an ear-to-ear smiling, happy grin on their faces.

Many of us never recognize the charismatic liar for what he really is. Many of us continue to get duped with each lie and promise. Fortunately, over time, most of us end up catching on to the lies and manipulations of the charismatic liar, because his lies and the promises connected to those lies just keep getting deeper and deeper and less and less believable.

Those of us who recognize these charismatic liars would all probably describe our experiences with these types something like this:

“I heard the lie with my own ears coming out of his mouth but was so distracted and shocked to see the liar smiling as he spoke, that I stopped thinking he could possibly be lying and nodded right along with the liar in agreement. Later, after revisiting the conversation in my mind, I realized I was being lied to!”

Am I right? I thought so.

Don’t be upset with yourself. You probably want to kick yourself for being duped and for not addressing the liar even after you realized what had happened. You’ll probably vow to speak up the next time you’re faced with such a situation.

The reality is, you won’t speak up the next time either. You’ll just sit there and nod and smile back at the lying and nodding liar.

Why am I so certain of that?

Because it’s what we do as humans. We mimic and mirror behaviors and expressions before us, regardless of the contradiction of the words we hear.

If we hear a lie but see a charming and smiling person, the reality of that lie is suspended and we are, in that instant, brainwashed into believing the lie was never spoken.

“How could someone lie with a smile on his face. I must be wrong. He must be telling the truth.”

Nope. You’re wrong for second-guessing your gut. That’s what you’re wrong about.

The problem with speaking out against a smiling and charismatic liar is that you end up looking like the bad guy, not the liar.

How ironic, huh?

It’s true. If a liar is smiling and spewing more lies on top of other lies you once nodded in agreement with, people are going to think you’re being cruel and unfair for ever questioning the liar.

After all, how can you justify being so mean to such a smiling and happy person?

Well, for starters, telling someone you think they’re lying to you isn’t a mean or cruel act. It’s actually an act filled with self-respect and integrity that comes from a place of truth and honesty inside yourself, a place no charismatic liar possesses or understands.

So ignore the criticisms spewed at you for speaking your truth by the liar and by those he’s aligned with who think you’re being mean. Those people have clearly bought the lies of the smiling and charming liar who no longer fools you.

Stand your ground, but be prepared to lose your job, lose your friends, get written up, get passed over for that promotion, get shamed for being so emotional (yes, people will deem you as too unstable to know what you’re saying when you tell truths that counter their delusions) and find yourself in a club of one.

Sure, there will always be those who say to you, “It’s okay. I agree. So many of us agree with you, but…”

But nothing! If you agree, then tell the liar what you think is the truth. The more we cater to these lying, manipulative and leeching fools, the more we become the fool ourselves.

Don’t smile back in agreement. Don’t nod when you recognize BS, especially when it’s coming from a smiling, charismatic liar.

His agenda is himself. He has no interest in your success or your happiness. The sooner you realize you’re dealing with a snake, the sooner you can prepare your exit from the group, job or relationship.

But don’t walk away without saying what you really believe, because the karma associated with not protecting those you left behind with the snake will follow you, and you’ll end up face-to-face with another smiling and charismatic liar ready to suck you dry of all your time, resources, skills and passion in you next job or relationship.

Speak out now. Today. Your integrity and the integrity of other good people want you to take that leap.



Is Wes really Kevin? Or am I being too paranoid?


The top image was taken from Company X’s website. The middle image is Wes Vonn’s Facebook profile image. The bottom image is one of Kevin’s Facebook profile images. Same guy?

Last week, I was contacted by an individual claiming to be a “Wes Vonn.” He asked me if he could be a guest blogger on my site. He wanted to share a post on yoga and traveling with you, my audience. He said he had some sample writings to share.

I agreed and asked him to send me a writing sample.

When the writing sample arrived, I checked the properties of the Word document. The field for Author was “Kevin XXX” and the field for Company was also populated with the name of a business out of Syracuse, NY specializing in providing search engine optimization services and web-marketing solutions.

This caused red flags to start waving. I was immediately suspicious. Who wouldn’t be? I understand that many bloggers use pen names or aliases. I thought, perhaps, this person didn’t want others to know he practiced yoga. Yoga isn’t exactly a “cool guy” activity in most circles.

I contacted Wes and asked him who should be credited for his piece if posted: Kevin or Wes?

I became even more suspicious after reading Wes’s response:

Hi Paula,

Sorry for the confusion! I recently purchased this computer from someone and I must not have changed all the user information. If you could attribute Wesley Vonn (me) as the source that would be great!


By this point, I had already tracked the IP address (captured when “Wes” messaged me through my online contact form) to the SEO company and Kevin X. and googled Wes Vonn.

  • The SEO company seems prosperous and has a great site. 
  • Kevin appears to be well-liked guy and very productive.
  • Wes Vonn just started his blog and created a Facebook profile this month, March 2013. His profile image was low-quality and looked a little like Kevin. Odd.

Regardless of my suspicions, I agreed to post Wes’s story. However, I purposely left out a hyperlink directing readers to GoGoBot Travel.

The next morning after posting, I received this message from Wes:

Hi Paula,

Do you think you could re-add all the links that went into that? I added in the other link because I use that site for do-diligence before travel in order to check reviews on if certain hotels have good yoga classes.


Immediately, I realized my original suspicions were correct, but I offered him a response:


I have VERY discerning readers. A link like the one I removed is a red flag to many of them. They won’t click on it. I think sending them to your blog and the yoga for travel page is sufficient.

I also think you should contact Company X to let them know that your new computer’s software and IP address are still pointing to them. I find it rather strange that a company like Company X would not have wiped their machines clean prior to selling them. 😉

Have a great day!


I have not heard back from Wes. It’s been four (4) days.

I’d hate to think anyone thinks this type of deception is acceptable in order to maximize their’s or a client’s portfolio and results. And I hope Company X, knowing what it SHOULD know about used machines and the resale market, would have taken the proper precautions, if in fact, Wes really is Wes and not Kevin.

Wes’s Yoga While Traveling blog post also appeared WITH all hyperlinks on Blogger blog Yoga with Intention the same day.

Regardless of what the truth really is, we were all deceived and used.  No one deserves to be lied to and used as pawns and tools.

Lesson: Don’t allow anyone to be a guest blogger if they are more concerned that you get the hyperlinks correct rather than the message shared. And listen to your gut!!


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