Do you have any tips on how to figure out who is trustworthy and who is not? As in whether or not someone intends to cause harm to you, etc. I find that I never realize I’m being mistreated until it’s too late, and it makes it really hard for me to find good friend, especially IRL. Advice/tips?
realsocialskills said:
Here are some things I consider to be red flags:
Having a strong self-image as not being the kind of person who does bad things:
  • We all do bad things, even awful things, from time to time
  • People who think that they’re “not that kind of person” actively avoid noticing when they’ve done bad things
  • People who deal with one another regularly hurt one another from time to time, and it’s important to be able to acknowledge this and fix things
  • If you’re dealing with someone who can’t bear the thought of having done something wrong, you’re not going to be able to tell them when they’ve hurt you
  • Because they will blow up at you and hurt you worse when you try, or else they’ll cry and convince you that you’re a terrible person for making mean baseless accusations.
  • Either way, it will make it impossible to deal with problems, and you’ll end up tolerating things that hurt you badly
  • I wrote about that some here
Expecting immediate trust
  • Trust is developed over time
  • If someone wants you to talk about deeply personal things right away, and gets upset when you don’t, they’re not respecting your boundaries and that’s dangerous
Asserting that a deeply intimate relationship exists without considering your opinion on the matter relevant
  • Close friendship only exists if you *both* think it does
  • You are only dating if *both* of you think that you are dating
  • Someone can’t just decide that they’re close to you and that you have a deep close committed relationship; you both have to want it
  • If someone considers your opinion of the matter irrelevant, run.
  • I wrote a post about that here 

Wanting you to depend on them

  • If someone tells you that you couldn’t function without them, do not trust them
  • If they want you to fix your life, do not trust them
  • If they think your sanity depends on their loving understanding care, *seriously* do not trust them
  • If they get angry, or hurt, or cry when you don’t do what they want you to do in your personal life, don’t trust them

Being under the impression that they’re doing you a favor:

  • If they think that they’re doing you a favor by being friends with someone like you, they’re not likely to treat you well
  • Friendship is not a charitable act. It is a mutual relationship between people who regard one another as equals.
  • Similarly, when someone thinks they’re doing you a favor by employing you, it will probably end badly

If people you trust dislike them:

  • If you have people you know to be trustworthy, and they don’t like a new person in your life, it’s important to find out why
  • Sometimes they will be wrong, but often they will be right
  • It’s important to figure out what’s going on, and why they think that — then if you disagree that’s fine, but it’s not a good idea to dismiss it without thinking about it

I’ve also written a lot of posts relevant to this issue. It might help you to read through my abuse tag and my boundaries tag and my red flags tag.

myindustrialvagina said:

and also

1) people who suddenly take a shine to you out of nowhere then always need stuff (physical things like money or car rides) 

2) people who cannot deal with confrontation under any circumstances and either refuse to talk to you about your concerns or constantly change the subject or make it your fault

3) people who discuss others esp talking bad about them, because i guarantee they’ll do the same thing to you as well

realsocialskills said:

Yes, although talking bad is a somewhat misleading way to put it. Because people who’ve been mistreated a lot might have really legitimate reasons to say bad things about others.

I’d say it this way:

  • If someone violates confidences without any apparent reason, they will probably violate yours
  • If someone doesn’t seem to respect anyone they talk about, they probably don’t respect you either
  • If they go out of their way to humiliate other people, or talk about others in degrading terms, that’s a serious red flag

Also, if they tell hate jokes (eg: racist/sexist/antisemitic/disability hate/mocking children or old people) or use racial slurs, that’s a red flag for being untrustworthy. (And for being someone who is likely to make *you* less trustworthy for members of the groups they’re mocking).

barkrubbings said:

I’d also add:

  • People who talk in a matter-of-fact/jokey way about what a horrible person they are/how they ‘have no filter’ etc. This is often useful for them so that after they’ve treated someone badly, they can say ‘Well, I told you I was an asshole!’ like it’s a get-out-of-jail-free card. (Of course, there are people who will talk about how crappy they are who just have low self-esteem and aren’t necessarily abusive, but it’s a thing to be aware of that *can* signal bad stuff.)
  • People who seem to have made enemies of many people/everyone in their life. Again this one can be hard to judge. It’s the guy talking about how all his ex girlfriends were [insert slur]. Basically it can be good to be cautious around anyone who constantly seems to be talking about how crappy all these people were and how they’re totally not friends any more. (With the proviso that there can be good reasons why people fall out etc - it’s just a thing to keep an eye on.)

realsocialskills said:

I agree with both of these.

I think having enemies is not in itself a red flag, but *only* having enemies is. It’s really, really common for people to be mistreated by multiple people, especially if they are members of a marginalized group.

But if it’s *everyone*, that’s a red flag.

sissacraft said:

I would add (and this is coming from a girl’s perspective)

Watch how they treat the other people in their lives (their friends and family, and especially the women). If they are frequently accused of abuse by others or you see abuse in their other relationships, it is very likely that they will eventually abuse you too.

Abuse of others is a HUGE red flag

realsocialskills said:

Yes. The best predictor of how someone will treat you is how they treat other people in their life. (And particularly, how they treat people they have power over).