Have you ever trusted someone and later regretted it? It is easier to live through life when you have a set of friends whom you fully trust. This article is to help those who are too trusting to become more aware of the risks that come with being overly trusting.
Let’s start off with a little test to see if you are too trusting. Answer these yes or no questions and tally them in the end for your results. These questions were created by Linda Sapadin, PhD., psychologist, success coach, and author:
- Do you feel guilty if you doubt your partner, wondering what’s wrong with you?
- Do you pride yourself on being easy-going, doing whatever your partner wants?
- Do you let your partner walk all over you, ignoring your feelings or desires?
- Do you turn a blind eye to events that are disturbing to you?
- Do you brush off your doubts, ignoring the uncomfortable feelings you have?
- Do you buy every excuse your partner makes, regardless of how implausible it sounds?
- Do you prefer that your partner take the lead so you don’t have to make the decisions?
- Do you ignore your partner’s misbehavior, telling yourself to be more trusting?
- Do you avoid asking questions about what your partner is doing or thinking?
If you answered yes to many of the questions above, then you may trust others too easily. Sapadin, however, says to not jump to conclusions and think that you may never be able to trust your partner at all (even if they did not give you any reason to not trust them). She suggests to those who believe in others a little too much to “start paying attention to your own intuition.”
Looks, flirtation, and sex being used as tools
There are users out there who know what they bring to the table and may use what they have to manipulate others.
Marty Nemko Ph.D., a career and personal coach, says, “such people could be much more trouble than they’re worth, whether in business or personal relationships, but they wield their looks, smiles, or sexuality to blind the recipient, even at an outsized cost.”
Nemko suggests, in this case, to view the person and their behavior as a whole. Do their words line up with their actions?
Kindness…with strings attached
While the first may have given you a sense of despair when it comes to how others behave, rest assure that there are others out there who are nice for the sake of being nice. Sometimes, they can be confused with those who are “fake nice.”
Nemko states, “other people use kindness as a weapon: to disarm and/or create obligation so that later, they can extract selfish benefits well beyond the kindness they bestowed.”
In this case, Nemko advises to ask yourself the question: are they nice all (or most) of the time, or are they being unexpectedly nice at the moment, which may be out of character?
Receiving praise and compliments from people you pay
Be wary of those who always give you compliments and never critiques to help your performance. Some examples of people you pay who may give you compliments include teachers, therapists, car salesmen, and coaches. Remember, this is not an exhaustive list.
As Nemko asserts, “Whether true or not, saying nice things about you or your work increases their chances of keeping your money coming, getting better user reviews, and getting your praise, at far less risk to them than if they were critical of you.”
Watch out for the overly generous offer
When something sounds too good to be true, that usually means it is.
Nemko states, “Other times, what seems a generous offer hides that a better offer could have been had, that the product or service is worse than you think, or that the person will be generous this time but will want a bigger advantage soon regarding something else.”
Also, watch out for faking emotion
Women are naturally trained to respond to emotions like crying or anger. This is mainly due to the fact that we need these specific cues to activate our motherly instinct.
Some manipulators will use this knowledge to their advantage. While sometimes, the anger and tears are real, watch out for people who fake their emotions to get you to do what they want.
For example, say you want to break up with your significant other because you are not in love with them anymore. If they are a manipulator, they will cry and get angry rather quickly to try to persuade you into staying with them. They may even threaten to kill themselves if you leave them (as explained in this article, it is considered abuse) but then act completely fine after you agree to stay.
Nemko says, although easier said than done, try to make decisions based on the merits — not the melodrama they want to create.
They bring up past mistakes
We all make mistakes. Being intimate with someone requires you to share ideas and thoughts that are closest to you. While this can help to deepen the relationship, some manipulators may use your past mistakes and weaknesses against you.
This may occur in arguments to make your perspective easier to dismiss. By bringing up your insecurities, they intend to wound you and leave you upset and vulnerable, says Timothy J. Legg, Ph.D., CRNP.
Nemko cautions those who are being manipulated by this tactic. He says, “The person reveals a small weakness or past failing, not to deepen the relationship but to encourage you to admit a more serious failing, which can then be used against you.”