Everyone you meet in life plays by a unique set of rules.
Some of the rules you encounter will do you (and others around you) good.
Some will rub you the wrong way. But hey, as long as they’re not hurting anyone, we can always agree to disagree, right?
Other rules can and will hurt you.
And some will tear you to shreds if you let them.
Given how vulnerable you are when you decide to approach your fellow humans with an open heart and mind, how do you know when someone’s playing by a set of rules that work only in their favour and no one else’s?
Put another way, how do you, my kind and trusting friend—knowing and accepting that malevolence does exist in this world— tell when someone is a good person or just faking it to get what they want?
WHEN SOMEONE’S SUNSHINE AND ROSES ALL THE TIME…
Beware, and be aware.
One of my core tenets of Calm Living is to proceed with caution around overly-friendly, positive and complimentary people, particularly if I’ve just met them.
I suppose you could label me as cold, jaded and cynical — which to be fair, I can sometimes be, depending on how the planets are aligned (kidding, partly) and whether I’ve had my lunch (I often fast from the evening before until noon), but I’ve been in my fair share of situations where I’ve had good reason to question someone’s intentions.
Maybe you have too.
Like the new ‘friend’ who pretends to be your ally…until it becomes very clear that she’s not.
And the colleague who often tells you how invaluable she thinks you are to the team…until you find out that she’s been saying the opposite behind your back.
Or the new love interest who keeps showering you with flattery and attention, only to do a personality-180 on you once you’ve put a ring on it.
Of course, I’d love nothing more than to greet everyone I meet with open arms and an equally open heart, and for you to do the same, but past experiences have taught me that it’s not always the wisest option.
Disregard all the sunshine-and-roses statements and promises they make verbally.
Just as importantly, ignore all the positive declarations (usually about themselves) that they post on social media.
Instead, watch out for these red flags:
While you’re out for a meal, are they sweet and thoughtful to you, but rude and inconsiderate to the waiter?
Assess their relationships: Are they nice to everyone, or only to people who have the power to further their influence and income?
When you ask them to tell you the truth, do they really try to be upfront with you, or do they just end up telling you more lies or worse, make you feel stupid for asking in the first place?
When you share happy news with them, do they react in a positive and supportive way, or find every excuse under the sun to rain on your parade?
When you’re with someone who knows your weaknesses and strengths intimately, do they constantly try to help you strengthen your weaknesses and amplify your strengths, or do they try to manipulate you for their own benefit based on this knowledge?
Do they use social media to genuinely connect with and support others, or do they use it as a means to publicly attack and tear others down?
When faced with a mistake they’ve made, do they take full responsibility for it and try to make things right with humility and open communication, or turn the blame around on someone else?
Watch how they talk about their ex-partners. This is how they’ll talk about you someday.
When someone in their circle goes out of their way to warn you about them, it would probably do you some good to pay close attention to what they have to say.
When people in your circle tell you that they’re getting bad vibes from a new person in your life, you better listen.
Keep in mind that none of these things, on their own, are airtight indicators that someone isn’t a good person. After all, all of us are flawed by design.
But looking back on the experiences I’ve had with not-so-great people, these behaviours on repeat tend to be telling signs of what’s time come.
TAKE THE 7-DAY CALM MIND CHALLENGE.
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