How trusting are you of new people when they come into your life? Are you cautious, or do you vet them before getting too close? It may sound a bit cynical, but if you’ve been burned by someone you’ve let in before and now you’re skeptical of trusting new people, I don’t blame you. In fact, I kind of envy you, because learning to take a beat and get to know someone before giving them my full trust is a lesson I had to learn the hard way… repeatedly. Sound familiar? If so, it might be time to familiarize yourself with some of the signs you shouldn’t trust someone, so you’re a whole lot less likely to get caught off guard, or give your trust to someone who is not entirely worthy of it.
Since I am clearly just as much in need of these lessons as you may be, I reached out to the experts for their advice on how to spot someone who is not trustworthy. I asked what behaviors they suggest being on the lookout for that are actually red flags that a person is either actively dishonest, or just too unpredictable for you to feel safe opening yourself (and your life) up to them. Here is what they say to pay attention to.
1THEY BEHAVE STRANGELY WHEN YOU BRING UP CERTAIN TOPICS.
The first thing Traci Brown, body language expert and author of Persuasion Point: Body Language and Speech for Influence, tells Elite Daily you should pay attention to is how consistent their behavior is. Can you talk about anything without them acting strangely? Brown says if their baseline behavior changes around certain topics, that’s actually a red flag that they’re hiding something. “Are they usually still and then when you start talking about cheating they get fidgety? Or are they usually animated and then get very still? This is a telltale [sign] they’re lying,” she warns.
2THEY ARE SECRETIVE ABOUT THEIR PHONE.
Chris Armstrong, founder of the relationship coaching company Maze of Love, tells Elite Daily that if someone you’re dating is being overly protective of their phone privacy, that’s a warning sign they’re probably not trustworthy. “If someone is seemingly doing everything they can to ensure that you’re not seeing or reading these things, they are likely hiding something,” he says. “The more you get to know someone, the more that privacy wall should be going down. This is what emotional intimacy is and it is both healthy and necessary.”
3YOU’VE CAUGHT THEM IN LIES BEFORE.
Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, so if you have caught them in lies before, Armstrong says they are likely not worthy of your trust. “People do not often connect someone telling a lie with trust or distrust. Instead, we often want to make excuses for them, to find reasons why they did it instead of focusing on the issue and question of ‘Can I trust this person?’” explains Armstrong.
What if you suspect they are lying, but you’re not totally sure? In that case, Brown says to pay attention for signs of deception in their body language. She says pauses of three seconds or more after you ask them a question is a sign of deception. “If it takes too long to answer they’re buying time to construct something they think you’ll like!” she explains. Or if they try and deflect your question with a question, it’s because they are stalling, she warns. “If they say ‘What?’ like they didn’t hear the question you asked — but you know they heard it — this is buying them time to make up an acceptable answer. Because the truth isn’t acceptable,” Brown notes. Finally, Brown says to pay attention for signs that their body language and words are out of sync. “If they nod their head as they say ‘I would never do that’ you’ve got to believe the body language first,” she advises. “The body can’t lie but words can.”
4THEY LACK SELF AWARENESS.
Not all of the signs that someone is not trustworthy come down to intentional deception. Sometimes it’s about them just being unreliable. One way you can spot this is in a lack of self awareness, Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist, relationship coach, and creator of Your Happiness Hypothesis Method, tells Elite Daily. “Our behavior is generally consistent with how we want to be perceived by others and how we perceive ourselves,” says Silva. “Someone that is untrustworthy sometimes acts in the opposite of how they perceive themselves. For example, someone who constantly describes themselves as drama-free, but has a cyclone of drama around them and is enabling the drama.” In other words, if someone is their own unreliable narrator, that’s a red flag, so be cautious in trusting them.
5. THEY CAN’T MAKE A DECISION.
A clear sign of someone who you can’t trust because they are unpredictable and not worthy of your trust is someone who can’t make a decision and stick to it, warns Silva. “Untrustworthiness can also be determined by their decision-making. If they are frequently uncertain of why they are making the decisions they are making after you question why they did something, can be a sign of lack of trust,” she explains. “They will also have trouble committing to a decision because they are easily influenced by external factors other than relying on their internal compass,” Silva concludes.
Not all untrustworthy people are intentionally deceitful. Some, as the experts say, are just inconsistent in a way that can negatively affect you if you put your trust in them. Ultimately, it’s your choice whether or not to believe in someone and open yourself up to them. However, should they betray that trust, I think Armstrong put it best when he concluded: “As the age old saying goes, when someone shows you who they are, believe them.”