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How to Tell If Someone Is Worth Your Trust

How to Tell If Someone Is Worth Your Trust

Louise Delage. Remember her?

She was a 25-year-old social media star, who in 2016 gained over 50,000 likes in a couple of months with photos of herself at boat parties and exotic travel destinations. She seemed like a fun, free soul who was enjoying her life to the full – but the reality was very different. In fact, she was an alcoholic, and was actually being used as part of an anti-alcohol campaign created by French agency BETC.[1]

    The campaign, known as "Like My Addiction," was designed to raise awareness of alcoholism among young people. The daily images of Louise appearing to enjoy her life with a drink in hand was the perfect set up. People loved her social accounts, and no doubt many people began to dream of emulating her lifestyle. When the reveal came, her social media followers were made to realize that they had failed to spot that Louise was actually a sad, struggling alcoholic.

    It's an extreme example, but in the real world (as well as in the virtual world) we can easily be duped by people who are not what they first seem.

    Don't Let Your Bias Blind You to the Truth

    When meeting people for the first time, you're most likely to trust your instincts and judgements. However, this may not be the best way to proceed, as it's likely that you have some inherent biases.

    Neglect of probability bias – many people find probability to be a difficult concept to deal with. This leads them to make black or white decisions. In other words, they choose either 0 percent or 100 percent. The problem with this type of decision-making, is that most things (and people) aren't just day or night. In reality, they are a mixture of things. So, a person who you may regard as 100 percent good, may in fact, have a negative side that you overlook due to bias.[2]

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    Illusory-correlation bias – this can be described as our tendency to erroneously connect an action and an effect. For example, you see a news story about a shark attack at a beach you are due to visit. Although the shark attack is the first in decades at that location, you immediately decide not to swim in the sea during your holiday. The odds of being attacked by a shark are incredibly low, and in reality, millions of people swim safely in the sea every year. Therefore, by staying out of the water, you've allowed the reported shark attack to cause an illusory-correlation bias in your mind.[3]

    Biases can cause us to make faulty assessments of people. And this can be bad news for us.

    Making the Wrong Judgement Can Be Harmful to You

    Imagine that you interview someone to look after your young children for one night a week.

    The 20-something lady appears calm, confident and easygoing. She also has childcare qualifications. As the safety and well-being of your children are paramount, you ask the lady for references from previous childcare work she has done. As if expecting that question to come up, she reaches into her handbag and takes out an envelope which contains two handwritten letters. These appear to be genuine reference letters from two of her previous employers.

    As everything seems in order, and the lady appears qualified and friendly, you find yourself drawn to offering the part-time childcare role to her immediately. However, something inside stops you doing it. Instead, you say to the lady: "Thank you for your time today. I'll let you know tomorrow if we'd like you to start."

    After the lady has left, you decide to do a quick bit of online research using the person's name and address. What you discover horrifies you. Credible news stories state that the lady had both of her children taken from her by social services due to her maltreatment of them. She was also prosecuted for the offence, and had served several months in jail!

    Having discovered the truth about the lady, you rightly decline to offer her a position caring for your children. But just think how close you came to giving her the job. It's enough to give you nightmares.

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    As the above demonstrates, making the wrong judgement about a person can be bad news indeed.

    Use These Seven Tips to Decide Whether a Person Can Be Trusted

    Learning how to correctly determine if someone is trustworthy is easier than you may think. And to prove this to you, I've put together a list of seven simple tips for deciding whether a person should be trusted.

    1. Observe the person from different perspectives and in different situations.

    You don't want to judge a person too easily. By doing this, you won't be giving yourself enough time (or material) to form an accurate assessment of a person. Instead, try to observe the way a person behaves in different scenarios.

    For example, someone at work may seem warm, approachable and super-friendly. However, you may see a different side to them when they go out drinking with friends on a night. Instead of the amiable person you see at work, they may become boisterous, arrogant – or even aggressive.

    2. Analyze their behavior to see if it's consistent across different circumstances.

    As discussed above, people can show different sides to their personality depending upon the situation they are in. A reliable, trustworthy person is more likely to demonstrate consistent behavior than someone with something to hide.

    If you've ever watched those 'border control' TV programs, you'll notice a pattern. People with something to hide are often overly-friendly at first (when they are trying to smuggle something into a country), but when it appears they are about to get caught – they frequently express irritation and anger at the border control staff. An honest person is likely to show far less divergence in their emotions.

    3. Take time to discover the "whole picture" of a person.

    I'm sure you've heard the expression: Don't judge a book by its cover. Well, this is true not just for books – but for people too! You must take an adequate amount of time to reach a fair appraisal of a person.

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    As an example for you, remember a time when you moved into a new house or apartment. You may have introduced yourself to your neighbors, only to find that one of them seemed quite rude and abrupt. You took an instant dislike to them. But as future events would show, you were too hasty in your judgement. This particular neighbor turned out to be the most helpful. They received your mail, cleaned the entrance way to your properties – and even offered to look after your pets when you went on holiday. In hindsight, it appears they were just having a bad day when you first met them.

    4. See if they trust others.

    People who are easily suspicious of others, are the very same people you may not want to give your trust to.

    This was suggested by a recent study of the behavior of online video game players.[4] The study found that those who were happy to cooperate and rely on other players were less likely to double-cross their partners in a game.

    In other words, trust is a two-way street.

    5. Ask yourself how much you know how they think.

    Getting inside someone's head allows you to understand how they think and act. One way to do this is to listen closely to what they say. Our words often betray are true thoughts.

    Criminal investigators frequently use this trick. When interviewing a suspect, they ask lots of questions, including some that are not specific to the particular case. They do this to see whether a suspect will reveal more about themselves than they might wish to do. A guilty person may try very hard to hide the truth. But in their efforts to appear innocent, they can often trip themselves up.

    Once you discover a person's thought patterns, you'll be able to make a fair assessment of their trustworthiness.

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    6. Try to learn about their past.

    The person standing in front of you may look like an angel – but what do you really know about them?

    Before giving your trust to a person, it makes sense to learn about their past. Employers understand this well. Whenever they're hiring new staff, they're likely to have a rigorous recruitment process. This usually starts with a detailed look at a resume. If the resume fits the bill, then the candidate will be asked to come in for an interview (or series of interviews). The employer will probe the candidate about their qualifications and their work experience. If the candidate is lucky enough to be selected for the job, references will be required before any contract is signed.

    While you don't need to be this thorough when assessing a person, it definitely makes sense to be aware of their past.

    7. But don't strive to know 100 percent about a person.

    If you do this, then you'll likely to never reach the stage of deciding on their trustworthiness.

    Instead, aim to know a decent amount about a person. This may be 15 percent, 30 percent or even 50 percent. The exact percentage is unimportant. The key thing is to understand enough about a person to be confident in deciding whether they can be trusted. A good example of this, is when choosing an automotive technician. Their ad in the local newspaper may sound appealing, but do some research to see if their customers have been satisfied with their work.

    We all have trust issues from time-to-time. It's just human nature. However, if you follow the seven tips above, you can super-charge your people assessment skills. This can help you to match up with trustworthy people, and to avoid the dishonest and undependable.

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

    More by this author

    Craig J Todd

    UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

    Boost Your Morning Motivation with These 30 Refreshing Routines Characteristics of Critical Thinking (And How to Think Critically) How to Connect With Someone Deeper Within a Short Time One Item That Is Often Absent in Resumes but Extremely Important: Soft Skills What to Do When You Hate Your Job (for Both Who Choose to Stay and Quit)

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    Last Updated on March 17, 2020

    4 Simple Ways to Make Boring Work Become Interesting

    4 Simple Ways to Make Boring Work Become Interesting

    Are you bored at work right now?

    Sitting at your desk, wishing you could be anywhere other than here, doing anything else…?

    You’re not alone.

    Even when you have a job you love, it’s easy to get bored. And if your job isn’t something you’re passionate about, it’s even easier for boredom to creep in.

    Did you know it’s actually possible to make any job more interesting?

    That’s right.

    Whether it’s data entry or shelf stacking, even the most mind-numbing of jobs can be made more fun.

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    Understanding the science behind boredom is the first step to beating it.

    Read on to learn the truth about boredom, and what you can do to stop feeling bored at work for good.

    VIDEO SUMMARY

    I’m bored – as you’re watching the same film over and over again, even though it’s your favorite one

    When you experience something new, your brain releases opioids – chemicals which make you feel good. [1]

    It’s the feeling you might get when you taste a new food for the first time, watch a cool new film, or meet a new person.

    However, the next time you have the same experience, the brain processes it in a different way, without releasing so many feel-good chemicals.

    That’s why you won’t get the same thrill when you eat that delicious meal for the tenth time, rewatch that film again, or spend time with the same friend.

    So, in a nutshell, we get bored when we aren’t having any new experiences.

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    Now, new experiences don’t have to be huge life changes – they could be as simple as taking a different route to work, or picking a different sandwich shop for lunch.

    We’re going to apply this theory to your boring job.

    Keep reading find out how to make subtle changes to the way you work to defeat boredom and have more fun.

    Your work can be much more interesting if you learn these little tricks.

    Ready to learn how to stop feeling so bored at work?

    We’ve listed some simple suggestions below – you can start implementing these right now.

    Let’s do this.

    Make routine tasks more interesting by adding something new

    Sometimes one new element is all it takes to turn routine tasks from dull to interesting.

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    Maybe there’s a long drive you have to make every single week. You get so bored, going the same old route to make the same old deliveries.

    Why not make it a routine to create a playlist of new music each Sunday, to listen to on your boring drive during the week?

    Just like that, something you dread can be turned into the highlight of your day.

    For other routine tasks, you could try setting a timer and trying to beat your record, moving to a new location to complete the task, or trying out a new technique for getting the work done – you might even improve your productivity, too.

    Combine repetitive tasks to get them out of the way

    Certain tasks are difficult to make interesting, no matter how hard you try.

    Get these yawn-inducing chores out of the way ASAP by combining them into one quick, focused batch.

    For example, if you hate listening to meeting recordings, and dislike tidying your desk, do them both at the same time. You’ll halve the time you spend bored out of your mind, and can move onto more interesting tasks as soon as you’re done.

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    Break large tasks into small pieces and plan breaks between them

    Feeling overwhelmed can lead you to procrastinate and get bored. Try breaking up large tasks into lots of small pieces to keep things manageable and fun.

    Try breaking up a 10,000 word report into 1000-word sections. Reward yourself at the end of each section, and you’ll get 10 mini mood boosts, instead of just one at the end.

    You can also plan short breaks between each section, which will help to prevent boredom and keep you focused.

    Give yourself regular rewards, it can be anything that makes you feel good

    Make sure you reward yourself for achievements, even if they feel small.

    Rewards could include:

    • Eating your favourite snack.
    • Taking a walk in a natural area.
    • Spending a few minutes on a fun online game.
    • Buying yourself a small treat.
    • Visiting a new place.
    • Spending time on a favourite hobby.

    Your brain will come to associate work with fun rewards, and you’ll soon feel less bored and more motivated.

    Boredom doesn’t have to be a fact of life.

    Make your working life feel a thousand times more fun by following the simple tips above.

    Reference

    [1] Psychology Today: Why People Get Bored

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