How to Tell if Someone is Trustworthy

Humans as a species are expert liars.  Every police agency knows this – that’s why witness accounts have little weight as evidence.  Humans are the most social creatures in the world; it is what helps us communicate so effectively and collaborate together to accomplish great feats.  However, since we are so in-tune with our abilities to communicate with one another, we are also able to manipulate people and lie with the greatest of ease.


Trustworthy people are few and far between, and often it can be difficult to tell when someone is being genuine.  If there is someone in your life that you are trying to figure out, use these tips to tell if they are trustworthy.


5. Who Are Their Friends?


Like attracts like.  This basic principle of Chemistry applies to human culture as well.  It’s rare to find a hardworking honest man hanging out with drug dealers. (And no, politicians don’t count because most are neither hardworking or honest). 


Look at his or her friends or associates.  Are all of her friends church-going students focused on getting their degrees?  Or does he hang out with deadbeats whose sole purpose in life is to play video games at the arcade and smoke marijuana?  Although looking at his or her friends will not tell you everything about a person, it will shed some light on the type of person they are.


4. Observe How He or She Treats Others


Look at the way he or she communicates with other people.  In the age of 27/4 social media, is should be very easy for you to go online and find their Facebook or Twitter page.  Take a look at their posted messages, see how they respond to their friend’s comments, praise or criticisms.  Most people won’t be entirely black or white in their dealings with their friends, but if the general tone of their Facebook ‘wall’ is whiny, angry or aggressive over a long period of time, it is unlikely that their real-life character is much different


Be aware that people often put on different faces when talking to different types of people.  An untrustworthy person could pretend to be a responsible employee at work, but then turn around and mooch off or otherwise abuse their friends.


Spend some time with the person in real life before you jump to conclusions.  Observe how they interact with friends and strangers in a social situation.  If all of their relationships are based on manners and respect, then they are likely trustworthy people.  However, if he or she takes advantage of those around them, is rude or abusive to waiters at the local restaurant, or gossips incessantly, then be wary of their character.


3. Test Him or Her


One of the best ways to see if someone is trustworthy is to test them.  However, this method is a bit manipulative and could end up affecting you if you get caught.  Make up a small but juicy secret and see if he or she can keep their mouth shut.  If anyone else finds out about the pretend information then you know the person did not keep their word.


A more extreme test if you suspect the person of lying or stealing is to set some bait for them.  Invite them to your house, and leave a small quantity of money in plain sight – perhaps a cookie jar of bank-notes, or a fake wallet lying open on the table.  Excuse yourself for twenty minutes, then count the money later.  If they have taken any money from you, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will do it again.


2. Do Their Words Match Their Actions?


A trustworthy person is usually responsible and dependable.  If he is constantly late or she makes excuses for bailing out on you, then they are probably untrustworthy.  Do some digging first though, to make sure that he is not late because nursing his sick mother, or that she is not missing dinner dates because her car broke down and she is being forced to take the bus everywhere. 


The best way to get to the bottom of any underlying problems is to just ask them flat out for the truth.  If they feel they can trust you, they’ll usually offer up the truth.


1. Look to Their Family


Although not 100% accurate, a person’s family is a good indication of their ethical mindset.  A person who grew up in an abusive, racist or bigoted home is much more likely to be affected by those experiences and carry those traits with him or her into adulthood.  If their parents raised them to be courteous, respectful, diligent, and caring, then they are likely to have internalized those virtues.


Most of the time you will be able to tell if a person is trustworthy just by hanging out with them.  You’ll get to know them better and understand how they act in different situations.  Always listen to your gut if you feel uneasy about something – your gut feeling about a person is usually correct.


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