Monday, June 22, 2015

Interview-Review - Red Flags: How To Spot Frienemies Underminers, and Toxic People in Your Life by Wendy L. Patrick Ph. D

Today I'm hosting author/District Attorney Wendy L. Patrick Ph.D whose new book Red Flags: How to spot Frienemies, Underminers, and Toxic People in your Life is a MUST Read for anyone and everyone.
Please enjoy her very informative interview and my review of her book then run, don't walk to your nearest bookstore for a copy or two or three to read for yourself and to share with loved ones. 

  • ISBN-13: 9781250052926
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/5/2015
  • Pages: 320


We all need emotional blinders: the etiquette that keeps society smoothly moving depends on it. But when you absolutely must rely on another person, you have to be able to assess them objectively. Red Flags shares simple strategies anyone can use to spot deceptive, or downright dangerous people, who use ingratiation and social convention to draw in and lull victims.

Wendy, Hi, welcome to The Reading Frenzy

I know you’re a dedicated prosecutor, but was there a certain catalyst/case that precipitated writing this book at this particular time?
This book is a response to 20 years of being asked the same types of questions by victims and their families, “Why didn't I see it coming?” “How could someone so bad look so good?” The best explanations of how the psychology of attraction overshadows common sense when dealing with crafty manipulators come not from the therapists couch, but the witness stand.  For the last two decades I have been the one asking the questions.  This book is about the answers. 

Do you have a target audience either gender or age?
Everyone can benefit from this book.  From the boardroom to the bedroom, Red Flags will enhance your ability to separate the dangerous from the desirable.  In the workplace, it will help employers select reliable employees.  In social situations, it will enhance our ability to separate friends from frenamies. 
It has particular value on the dating scene, where the rosy glow of romance causes people to trade in their reading glasses for rose-colored glasses.  When warning signs become visible, the lack of objectivity caused by romantic attachment creates a lighter shade of red, and mutes the sound of what should be alarm bells to the tinkling of wind chimes. 
Online, this book will benefit the perception skills of the Internet crowd, who build relationships in the disembodied sphere of cyberspace rather than in person.  Budding virtual romance amidst a cadre of friends, fans, and followers is safer when armed with the FLAGs, in order to be better able to detect the person behind the persona.

Is there a “most likely” victim, in your opinion?
Yes, but not in terms of demographics.  The more someone is looking for emotional fulfillment, the more they are likely to respond to a crafty manipulator who caters to his or her emotional needs—even when they see red flags.  In the same way that people desperate to partner up on a Friday night find fellow bar patrons more attractive as the evening wears on, some people seeking to become involved in a relationship tend to lower their standards if they perceive they are running out of time.  
Unfortunately, just like grocery shopping when you are hungry results in a cart filled with the wrong types of foods, relationship shopping when you are hungry can result in selecting the wrong types of people.  In both cases, satisfying short-term pleasure outweighs the wisdom of long-term planning.

Your studies in the psychology of attraction are eye opening and disturbing.
Do you think there is ever a thing as being too cautious in picking a mate?
You can never be too cautious, as long as you do not become paranoid.  We want to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. 
One way to do this when embarking on new relationships is to make first impressions matter, because this is when you are most objective.  And expand your perspective.  Use a wide angle lens by interacting with your new love interest in different settings, and solicit multiple exposures by introducing them to your family and friends—who can provide you with additional objectives points of view.  Early examination of your new partner will expose his or her true colors sooner rather than later, making sure you do not waste time on a bad choice, giving you more time to spend with authentic partners who really are as good as they look.

In your book you’re trying to warn people about falling into destructive relationships, yet you also emphasize that most people are good.
Do you think this is in any way counterproductive?
I am a big fan of the suggestion “trust but verify.”  In my book I discuss the research behind the truthfulness bias, which states that it is easier for us to believe than doubt.   Yet there is such a thing as healthy skepticism, especially when we hear ourselves describe someone as “too good to be true.”  The Internet-savvy society in which we live leaves no excuse for not following up on those niggling suspicions that permeate that “perfect” relationship.  

While reading your book I noticed you specialize in the sex crimes division in CA. A favorite author of mine is a retired prosecutor in that division in NY, Linda Fairstein.
Have you ever considered writing fiction?
Early in in my career, I considered writing fiction.  But over the years, I realized that in my line of work, truth is more interesting than fiction.  Every time I share the facts of one of my cases once the trial is over, my audience exclaims that the facts are more captivating than any forensic crime drama episode they have ever seen.

In the book you say that people often equate high status with high morals.
Do you think this is less true today in our 24/7 news world where we see the selfie of the politician and his young victim before it even hits the networks, or are we just as gullible now as we were in the past?
Even though we read the scandals, we are still, at least subconsciously, inclined to attribute high standards to people with high status.  This is a result of the attraction of credibility—a characteristic that exists in the eyes of the perceiver, not the person being perceived.  To ensure that we do not crown someone in a position of high status with morality they do not deserve, learn more about them in order to read behind the resume. 

Wendy you’ve given us a lot to think about and to beware of.
Is there one piece of advice you think is the most important to avoid becoming a victim in any of the situations you shared with us?
The FLAG areas were selected for a reason.  Once you have gleaned as much as you can about a person from looking and listening, consider the following 4 areas:
Focus: What captures their attention? Do they focus on themselves or others?
Lifestyle: How do they spend their time? What are their hobbies and interests?
Associations: What sort of company do they keep? To what organizations do they belong?
Goals: What are their priorities? Are their ambitions selfish or selfless?

Thank you for being our advocate and for sharing your thoughts with us here today!

Connect with Wendy - Website 

WENDY L. PATRICK is a Deputy District Attorney and team leader in the Sex Crimes and Stalking Division of the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. She serves as Co-Chair of both the Statewide California District Attorneys Association Sexually Violent Predator Committee and the Human Trafficking Committee. Patrick is the co-author of the revised edition of Reading People. 

My Review

Have you ever left an interview and felt like you missed something?
Have you ever left a date wondering if this guy/gal is too good to be true?
Are you in a relationship either business or personal that just isn’t right but you don’t know what’s wrong?
If you answered yes to any of these questions this is the book for you!

Wendy Patrick uses her decades of personal expertise as a district attorney in the sex crimes division of San Diego County to guide and hopefully keep readers from becoming a victim by exploring in depth the warning signs or “Red Flags” and what they mean using practical methods anyone can follow and signs anyone can recognize.
In this incredibly informative book she uses formulas and methods that have served her in her own career and shares them with anyone fortunate enough to pick up a copy of this book. She takes readers step by methodical step through each of her danger signs. She gives a name to her most common offenders “Dark Triad”  that consists of, narcissists, Machiavellians and psychopaths, and even goes so far as to tell us a few that she could have “fallen” for. Her simple evaluation guide she calls FLAG (focus, lifestyle, associations, goals) and she takes us step by step through these different examples using her own experiences to show us exactly what to watch out for.
It’s eye opening, it’s awe inspiring, it’s shocking and it’s comforting to know that we have advocates like her that protect us before something happens and in the unfortunate event that we do fall victim that she’s there to stand up for those of us who fall victim to these often times beautiful monsters.

This book is for anyone, any race, any sex, any age because we’re all vulnerable.



  1. I love that this is based on real stuff. Real things and warning signs! It sounds very informative!

  2. I want to by this for my girls. Fantastic interview and review Debbie!