When you meet someone new, whether it’s a new co-worker, a new potential romantic partner, or even a new friend, sometimes it can be hard to tell if you can trust them. People aren’t always what they seem, and it sometimes takes getting burned to figure that out.

That’s why today we’re going over some signs that let you know that person is probably trustworthy. We’re also going over some signs that they might not be. 

You can probably trust them if…

Trustworthy person helping an old woman cross the street.
  • They show compassion to others, even when it doesn’t benefit them.
  • They respect boundaries.
  • They know when and how to apologize. 
  • They own up to their mistakes and try to make amends. 
  • They don’t gossip behind other people’s backs.

Obviously, many signs of whether or not you can trust someone aren’t going to be based on their interactions with you. Most people probably aren’t obvious about being untrustworthy, which is why you have to watch how they interact with other people, especially when they think that you aren’t looking.

People tend to show their true colors when they think no one is watching.

If you observe someone long enough, you’ll get to know what they’re like sooner rather than later. Most people aren’t brazenly going around tricking others into trusting them. For the most part, people are just the way they are, and some aren’t good people.

In general, though, there are a lot of good people out there, and you can trust them. Being a good person means they treat others well and act with empathy even if no one is watching. Good people know right from wrong and what to do when they’ve done a wrong. Trustworthy people will do what is right, even at their own expense. That means they’ll do right by you too.

You probably can’t trust them if…

Untrustworthy person lying.
  • They blame others for their own mistakes.
  • They flake out on you for no reason or break their promises.
  • They manipulate you and others.
  • They ignore boundaries and get upset if you try to enforce them.
  • They project their issues onto others.

A lot of the signs that you can’t trust someone will show that they’re selfish and only care about themselves. They won’t care about what others think or feel and will always put themselves first. 

They may even use and manipulate people, too, which you will want to watch out for. Most of the time, people aren’t that malicious, luckily. Whatever their intentions, that doesn’t mean you have to trust them. Trust is something to be earned, and it isn’t earned through selfishness and dishonesty. 

Any healthy relationship, whether platonic, romantic, or familial, will be based on trust. That’s why knowing who you can and cannot trust is important. Trusting the wrong people will only end up with you being hurt. 

Learning that not everyone is worthy of your trust is a hard lesson to learn. That does not mean they aren’t worthy of your kindness and empathy. It just means you don’t have to open yourself up to them. You don’t have to care about them any more than a stranger on the street. Don’t stoop to their level just because you can’t trust them. That only makes the world a much worse place. 

If they aren’t trustworthy…

Once you’ve seen the signs that they can’t be trusted, it’s time to take action. First off, I’m going to say don’t do something stupid like perform a loyalty test to give them one last chance. We wrote an entire blog about why that’s a bad idea. (Tl;dr, it pretty much always ends badly.) 

Secondly, keep them at arm’s length. You don’t have to cut them out of your life or anything drastic. You probably don’t want to let them in too much either. There’s a slight chance talking things over with them will make them realize the error of their ways, but unless it’s someone who genuinely cares about you, that scenario is highly unlikely.

Untrustworthy people tend to care less about how you feel and more about their reputation. Trying to call them out on their character, even in the nicest way possible, will probably make them get defensive. It’s not your responsibility to change anyone. 

If you can’t avoid them, do your best to keep your distance. You don’t need to cause a scene or try to confront them, but you also don’t have to play along with them either. You deserve more than that. 

Don’t feel bad about not trusting people either. One study in the United Kingdom found that, on average, adults only trust about 7 people, which is honestly sad. The study was small and based in the UK, so maybe it’s not all that accurate to the rest of the world, though.

What signs do you look for in a person to let you know you can trust them?

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