10 Signs A Person Is Not Trustworthy
How to Determine if Someone Is Trustworthy
When you are in the process of hiring someone or when you meet someone new, it can be difficult to determine if they are trustworthy. Though you may have a good first impression of the person, first impressions can often be wrong or ill informed.To best determine if the person is worth trusting in a professional or personal role, you should observe their behavior and obtain proof of their character in the form of references, referrals, and testimonials.
Observing the Person’s Behavior
Watch their eyes.Many people believe that you can tell if someone is lying by the direction of where their eyes go: up to the right for the truth, up to the left for a lie. Unfortunately, studies have found no evidence to support this.Maintaining eye contact also does not mean the person is telling the truth; liars don't necessarily avert their gazes.However, you can keep an eye on the person's pupils: people who aren't telling the truth tend to have increased pupil size, which indicates tension and concentration.
- Both liars and trustworthy people will likely look away when you ask them a difficult question, because thinking of a response requires concentration. However, people who are lying may only briefly look away, whereas people who are telling the truth may take more time to compose their answer.
- Although eye contact isn't the sole determiner of trustworthiness, a person who makes good eye contact is more likely to be a good communicator, and may be more comfortable feeling vulnerable.
Note their body language.A big part of telling if people are trustworthy is to study their body language and how they present themselves to others. However, body language must be taken with a grain of salt; most of these language cues indicate tension and nervousness, which might indicate lying or might just indicate that the person feels uncomfortable.
- Most trustworthy individuals will display open body language, with their hands at their sides and their body turned towards you. Note if the person crosses their arms, slouches or turns their body away from you when you are speaking to them. These could be signs that they are not sure of themselves and may not be as engaged and committed to you or potentially hiding something.
- If their body language appears tense, be wary. They might simply be nervous, but research shows that people are more physically tense when they're lying.
- People who are lying may press their lips together when you ask a sensitive question. They may play with their hair, groom their nails, or gesture toward themselves.
Observe whether they uphold commitments.Often, trustworthy individuals will show up to work or to a date on time to show that they value everyone else’s time. If the person often shows up late without calling to let you know they are running late, or fails to show up at all, these may be signs that they are not someone you can trust to uphold their commitments.
- As well, if they often cancel plans or change meeting times without letting others know, they may not value other people’s time as much as they should and may have an issue with time management. In a work setting, such behavior is not only untrustworthy, it is also unprofessional. In a casual setting, between friends, flaking out on plans can show that the person does not place value on your time and may not be someone you can count on.
Interpreting Your Interactions
Pay attention to how they respond to difficult or challenging questions.If you are talking to the person during a job interview, you may want to pose a difficult or challenging question and take note of how they respond. The questions do not have to be aggressive or misleading. Instead, focus on questions that are open-ended but also require critical thinking and analysis. You should always give the person an opportunity to answer your questions openly and honestly.
- For example, you may ask what they believe their greatest challenge was in their previous job or you may ask if they struggled with any skills or expectations in their previous role. The person may take some time to answer, but note if they change the subject or avoid answering the question. This may be an indication that they are hiding something about their previous job or they are not willing to engage in critical thinking about their previous role.
Ask open-ended personal questions.Open-ended questions require the person to provide more detail.Questions like “Can you tell me more about….?” and “Tell me about….” are good prompts. If you’re suspicious that the person may be lying, ask general questions and then get more specific. Watch for inconsistencies in the details. It’s hard for liars to keep their stories straight, especially once they get more complex.
- People who are lying are more likely to redirect the conversation back to you.If you feel like you don’t really know much about the person after several conversations, or that you are disclosing more about yourself than you’re learning about the other person, this could be a warning sign.
Listen to them speak.Research suggests that people who are lying have several verbal tics. Keep an eye on not only what they say, but how they says it. Here are some things to watch for:
- Fewer first-person pronouns. People who are lying don't usually use "I" pronouns as often. They may avoid taking responsibility for their behavior, try to keep a distance between themselves and their stories, or avoid sounding too invested.
- Negative emotion words. Research suggests that people who have truth issues are often anxious and feel guilty. This shows up in their vocabulary, which tends to involve more negative emotion words such as "hate, worthless and sad."
- Fewer exclusionary words. These words, such as except, but, or nor, indicate that the person is making a distinction between what did and didn't happen. People who are lying have more trouble with this complexity, and they don't use these words as often.
- Unusual detail. People who lie may use less detail than usual when talking about something.They also may give justification for their answers even if they haven't been asked.
Look for mutuality.People who are trustworthy generally respect mutuality and collaboration in communication. If you feel like you always have to ask for important information, chase down personal revelation in conversations, or can’t get help when you ask for it, you may not be dealing with a trustworthy person.
Consider how fast they move.Moving into a relationship too quickly is a warning sign of a person who may be abusive.If they press you for quick commitment, constantly flatters you, or tries to distance you from friends and family to have you “all to themselves,” they are most likely not trustworthy.
Watch how they treat others.Sometimes, untrustworthy people may make a special effort to prove themselves to you, and the interactions between you seem fine. However, keeping up the facade is a lot of work, and it will often slip. Watch how the person interacts with other people. Do they gossip about coworkers behind their backs? Treat the waitstaff at a restaurant poorly? Lose control of their emotions with other people? These are signs that the person is not trustworthy.
Obtaining Proof of The Person’s Character
Check out social media.It can be difficult to keep up a dishonest facade, especially when we’re all plugged into social media so often. Research suggests that Facebook profiles, for example, are more likely to reflect a person’s true personality than the persona they might present in person.If you have reservations about whether a person is trustworthy, check their social media accounts. See whether they’re consistent with the picture of the person you have met.
- Research suggests that most people tell “white lies,” especially on dating sites. These are usually minor attempts to present themselves in the best possible light, like underestimating your weight or age or overstating your height or income. People are more likely to lie when looking for a mate than in most other social situations. However, major lies aren’t that common.
Ask for at least three references.If you are interviewing the person for a job or are considering hiring the person for a position, you should request at least three references, two professional references and one personal reference.
- You should note if the person refuses to provide references once you request them or if they avoid giving you their references. Often, a trustworthy candidate will be more than willing to provide references as they are not worried about what their references are going to say about them.
- Be wary of candidates that give you personal references like a family member, a spouse, or a close friend. The best personal references will be a person the candidate knowns on a personal and a professional level who can speak to their character with unbiased examples.
Get character testimonials from their references.Once you have their references, take the time to contact each person and ask them some basic questions to get a better sense of the candidate’s character. These can include basic information such as how they know the candidate, in a professional and/or personal manner, and how long they have known the candidate. You can also ask the reference why they would recommend the candidate for the position and any examples they can provide that illustrate why the candidate is the right fit.
- Note if the reference says anything disparaging about the candidate or gives any information that may put the candidate’s trustworthiness in question.You should reach out to the candidate and ask them about the reference’s comment so you can give the candidate a chance to explain themselves, especially if you are seriously considering hiring the candidate.
Request other personal information, such as a background check or a list of previous employers.If you still are not sure about the character of the person, you can ask for more personal information in the form of a background check or a list of the person’s previous employers. Most people should not be afraid of a background check if they have a clean record and have nothing to hide.
- The list of the person’s previous employers, as well as their contact information, can be used to show the person has nothing to be ashamed of in terms of their employment history and are willing to have their previous employers speak with you.
- If you have deep reservations about a person you’ve encountered in a social setting, you can usually run private background checks online.
QuestionMy new boyfriend has admitted to cheating on all his ex partners. He says he will be faithful to me. Should I believe him?
M.A, Clinical Mental Health CounselingM.A, Clinical Mental Health CounselingExpert AnswerOnly you can determine if you are comfortable believing him or not. You know yourself, your relationship and your personal capacity for trust. It seems that you can choose to believe him and put your trust in him, or you could choose not to believe him and end the relationship. It would be very difficult to not trust him and continue in the relationship being suspicious the whole time.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if my friends think I am untrustworthy?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAre you? Ask them why they would think that. If they have legitimate reasons for not trusting you, apologize and tell them you will do better in the future. If they have no reasons, you should find new friends.Thanks!
QuestionI have people staying with me rent free, but despite the fact that I have made it clear they better not cost me, they eat my food, never turn lights off, and are wasteful. They claim I'm being petty. Are they right?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. Tell them if they want to eat your food and not turn off lights, then they will have to pay rent.Thanks!
QuestionIf a guy is making statement about himself that he is not trustworthy, what does this indicate?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThis may indicate that he is either is trying to impress someone, by acting 'untrustworthy' or he genuinely is not trustworthy.Thanks!
QuestionWhy would a girlfriend/boyfriend not post anything on social media about their relationship?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThey might just be a private person who doesn't like disclosing the details of their personal life, or they might be planning to pursue other people. It could go either way.Thanks!
QuestionIs it right to be in a relationship with someone you love but don't trust?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt will never work out. You'll constantly be worrying and questioning everything. Often we love people that are simply not good for us. The best thing to do is move on and find someone you can trust AND love.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I make a person admit himself that he is lying?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou need to make him feel comfortable enough to be honest, let him know you are okay with whatever the truth is, and that you will not be upset, you just want to know.Thanks!
QuestionI broke up with my ex because he kissed his (female) best friend. Now he wants me back, but he keeps making out with other girls! Should I trust him?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI think you should try to ignore him, if he's being a player put him to the side and find someone who's really for you. If he can't truly be honest with you, then he's not worth it. Also remember, he's your EX meaning you broke up for a reason, so you guys are probably not meant to get back together.Thanks!
QuestionI want a girlfriend. I don't know her properly and I don't know her background, but I want to start communicating with her. How can I do this?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerStart by making the first step, approach her and talk to her. Start by saying "Hi" and day after day increase the talking.Thanks!
QuestionAre people in recovery like AA trustworthy?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPeople in recovery, like all people, are different from one another. Some are trustworthy, some are not. It's a good sign that the person is seeking out help for their issues, though.Thanks!
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Video: How to Determine If Someone Is Trustworthy – 19 Points
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