Do you find it easy to connect with people? I do – on a surface level. I’ve never met a stranger, only friends I haven’t met yet. I can find common ground and something to talk about with pretty much everyone…which makes life really super-fun. However, as friendly as I am, I have a lot of difficulty finding people that I can connect with, that I feel that I can trust, and that I feel safe, comfortable, and happy with. Those people are super-rare, unicorns walking amongst us – they are really hard to find.
How do you know when you meet someone that they are going to be good and trustworthy peeps that you want to have on your Phone-A-Friend list for ‘Who Wants to be a Millionnaire?’ I have done A LOT of thinking about this issue, and have spent considerable time researching this idea – because, obviously, I have made some grave errors in judgment in this area in my lifetime. I’ve trusted people I shouldn’t have, I’ve been wary of people who were probably very worthy of my trust – and I blew it because of my own stupidity. I came across this article on trustworthiness that touts the “CRAC” method : Credibility, Reliability, Attention Ability, and Communication Ability. The author suggests using these 5 core questions to guide your assessment of someone’s trustworthiness when it comes to figuring things out.
Credibility: Does the person speak truthfully? Not in partial truths, but in complete truths. Does the person speak with accuracy? Can the information shared be verified? Is the person consistently and proactively transparent? Do they proactively share ways for you to validate their credibility? Can what you see and hear from them be validated by others? Do they demonstrate competence? Do they provide information in simple, uncomplicated terms – terms that you understand?
Here are some questions to consider about a person’s Reliability: Does the person consistently do what s/he says? Is there consistent follow through? Does the person have a reputation for being reliable? What do others say about the person’s reliability? You can often glean great information on reliability via comments made in various social media channels, especially Facebook. Is the person consistently on time? Look for patterns of meeting/not meeting time commitments and deadlines. Are they surrounded by other reliable people (social network)? If not, watch out. People of a feather tend to flock together.
Here’s a few to think about when determining a person’s Attention Ability: During conversations, does the person consistently focus on him/herself? If someone shows strong signs of inward focus (overuse of “me”, “I”, and “them”), be careful. Trustworthy people demonstrate an “other” focus by using terms of inclusion and collaboration such as “we”, “our”, and “us”. Does the person consistently do brand promotion (lifting other people up) or brand assassination (tearing other people down)? Does the person demonstrate under-appreciation for your thoughts, comments, and ideas while over-promoting the value of their own? If so, you have a clear warning sign of concerning behaviors.
Finally, one of the greatest ways to determine if someone is trustworthy is their Communication Ability: Does the person demonstrate active listening? This is evident by virtue of the person… Restating what has been said to check for understanding Demonstrating appropriate body language such as navel intelligence Asking open-ended questions during conversations Does the person set expectations that are clear and specific? A bonus question that is also a great one to ask involves availability.
This list is by no means exhaustive….there’s a lot of other factors at play. Think about the person you’re wondering about – are they consistently available? Availability requires intentionality, and people who can be trusted always make themselves available to invest in others. Think about how you feel when you’re with them – do you feel comfortable? Safe? Content? Engaged in the conversation? All of these are good indicators of comfort and trust in someone. Some people just feel inherantly more trustworthy, and you pretty much feel it from the first moment you lay eyes on them – others take awhile. (they’re the grow-ers not the show-ers…surely you’re familiar with them 😉 )
I often wonder how I come across to other people. Do they think I’m friendly? Open? Trustworthy? Honest? The kind of person that they want to be around? I hope so. What does it mean to have a sense of presence? I have always wanted to be one of those people who makes a place better simply by being there. I’m just not sure how to make that happen? Maybe I’m just too hard on myself, which made me think of this article that I read awhile back: 29 Signs You’re Doing Fine (Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It)
You have the freedom to live your life the way you want to live it. – If you often worry about what you’re going to do with your life – your career, your family, the next step, etc., be grateful. All details aside, this means you have ambition, passion, drive, and the freedom to make your own decisions.
You are courageously walking your own path. – When people argue with you and challenge your decisions, remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if some people disagree.
You are making difficult decisions and acting upon them. – How well you play the game of life comes down to the sum of your choices. You know this. Whatever you decide, don’t be the chess piece, be the chess player.
You are working hard for people and causes you believe in. – Working hard for something you don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something you love is called passion.
You are choosing to be happy in your own way. – When you stop chasing everyone else’s definition of happiness, you begin to see that the decision to be happy has been available all along.
You see obstacles in front of you because you are not settling. – If you settle for just anything, there wouldn’t be any obstacles in your way, but then you would never know what you are capable of either. Because your obstacles are your opportunities. Obstacles are put in your way to help you determine if what you want is really worth fighting for.
You have made the best of some tough situations. – Smiling doesn’t always mean you’re happy with everything. Sometimes it just means you’re strong enough to accept it and make the best of it.
You have come a long way. – Do not judge your failed attempts and mistakes as an indication of your future potential, but as part of your growth process. Your past has given you the strength and wisdom you have today, so celebrate it and use the knowledge you’ve gained. Don’t let it haunt you and hold you back.
You haven’t quit and you aren’t planning on it. – People rarely quit over the last thing that happened. Instead they quit a tiny bit each day. Trying to fix the last thing misses the point. Keep this in mind.
You do your best to accept what you can’t change. – Moving on is never an easy thing, but if you start accepting things for what they are it’ll be a lot easier. Acceptance is always the key to moving forward and making positive changes that are within your control.
You aren’t scared to fail forward. – The biggest difference between wildly successful people and total failures is that successful people fail more often, instead of just once.
You haven’t let fear get in your way. – You have to wonder how many people are afraid to die, in part, because they often realize too late that they were afraid to live.
You still believe in the possibilities that lie ahead. – Accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what could be. Remember, life does not have to be anywhere near perfect to be wonderful.
You dare to dream every day. – Dr. King gave the famous “I have a dream” speech not the “I have a plan” speech. It’s our dreams that change the course of history, not just our plans. Keep dreaming.
You have a vision for your future. – “Vision” is the ability to talk about your future with such clarity, it’s as if you are talking about your past.
You haven’t let the judgments of others stop you. – Keep listening to your intuition, and make this your lifelong motto: “I respectfully do not care.” Say it to anyone who passes judgment on something you strongly believe in.
You are doing what you can with what you have. – The secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams, right now, to any degree that you already can.
You are doing your best to provide value. – No one is entitled to success. To remain successful, you must constantly find new ways to add value. Keep putting your heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts. This is one of the great secrets of lasting success.
You go out of your way to help people. – Service is not doing what is required of us. Service is doing more than is required of us. Remember, successful people are always looking for ways to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?”
You aren’t scared to express your love, openly. – Love is great when spoken, but greatest when shown. So if you care about someone’s wellbeing, show it. Keep doing little things daily to show the people around you that you care.
You continue to make a difference. – Have you ever thought about how much your actions mean to others? Maybe that smile you gave to a stranger today made their bad day better. Maybe that hello you gave to a colleague today made them realize people actually notice them and care. Maybe that money you gave to a homeless man today gave him hope. Maybe spending time with someone special today made them forget their problems for a while. Keep it up.
You have enough right now to live comfortably. – You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night. You awoke this morning with a roof over your head. You had a choice of what clothes to wear. You have access to clean drinking water and electricity. You are online right now. You have plenty to be comfortable. Being wealthy is a mindset. Want less and appreciate more.
You haven’t let rampant materialism get the best of you. – Our lives are not defined by the things we possess. Our lives are defined by the things we pursue. Make sure what you own, never owns you.
You are reasonably healthy. – In other words, if you got sick today you could recover. Never underestimate the gift of your health. It’s the greatest wealth you will ever own. It’s the foundation for every chance at happiness and success life has to offer. Your body is the only place you will truly ever live.
Your relationships are less dramatic than they used to be. – Keep forgoing the drama and ignoring the negativity. Don’t let ignorance stop you from being the best you can be. Just keep doing what you’re doing – being sincere and kind, and promoting what you love, rather than bashing what you hate.
You have escaped from some very toxic relationships. – Don’t worry too much about people who don’t worry about you. Know your worth! When you give yourself to someone who doesn’t respect you, you surrender pieces of your soul that you’ll never get back.
You know deep down that you are not alone. – Next time you feel all alone, remember, again, that you are not.
You have great people in your life who are standing beside you. – Know that it’s less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones. And remember, it’s during the toughest times of your life that you’ll get to see the true colors of the people who say they care about you. Don’t take these people for granted. Look around and appreciate them, right now.
You have a home. – A house is a home when it shelters the body and comforts the soul. But a home isn’t always a physical structure, or a specific location on a map. Home is wherever the people you love are, whenever you’re with them. It’s not a defined place, but a space in your heart and mind that builds upon itself like little bricks being stacked to create something stable that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.
I’m pretty crazy about this list, because it brings up a lot of great points – especially for someone like me who is so bloody hard on herself all the damn time. When you think about it, I have a roof over my head, a beautiful family, a great job, and a pretty decent life. Maybe I do bring a certain presence when I move through the world around me…and maybe I’m not doing half bad, after all. 😉