Your new relationship is off to a positive start, and your hopes are getting higher this one may last a long time. But these days, it’s hard to know if you can really trust someone. How can you know for sure?
It’s true that a person’s trustworthiness can only be measured over time, since words and actions are revealed (and assessed) month after month. Still, in the early stages of a relationship, there are helpful signs to watch for:
1. Observe the other people in your partner’s life. Does he/she have longstanding friendships and professional relationships built on trust? Do people comment on your partner’s dependability? You can tell a lot about a person’s character by the caliber of his other relationships.
2. Take your time getting to know the person. The longer you know someone, the harder it is for that person to keep from showing his or her true colors.
3. Believe that “actions speak louder than words.” People who are trustworthy don’t spend a lot of time telling you how trustworthy they are. They just live it.
4. Listen for gossip. Spreading rumors is a form of backstabbing—breaking someone’s trust without their ever knowing it.
5. Notice how everyday commitments are handled. Does he show up on time? Does she follow through on her promises? Being reliable with little things should give you confidence about the big issues.
6. Beware of blame-shifting. Trustworthy people take responsibility for their mistakes rather than blaming others.
7. Be attentive to exaggeration. Does he say things that seem too good to be true? If so, they might be.
8. Don’t be fooled by flattery. Does your new partner promise you the stars and moon? Are his compliments over the top? Behind the flattering words, does he seem driven by his own agenda and needs, rather than a sincere interest in getting to know you and your needs?
9. Be alert to evasiveness. If your partner is defensive or sensitive when you ask simple questions about where he/she has been, the person may be hiding something and is afraid you’ll put two and two together.
10. Sniff out secretiveness. Do you feel closed out to certain aspects of your partner’s life? If so, you have to wonder what lies behind those cordoned-off areas. Secrets arouse suspicion—and often for good reason.
11. Don’t dismiss flirting. If you notice your date flirting with someone other than you, neon lights should illuminate in your brain. Flirting or checking out other people in your presence is disrespectful, and disrespect is a first cousin of untrustworthiness.
12. Watch for inconsistency. Deceptive people must work hard to keep track of what they have said, and to whom. When the details of a story don’t add up or keep changing over time, it may be a sign that you’re not getting the straight scoop.
13. Be wary of “little white lies.” Someone who bends the truth “a little” in the early stages of a romance is likely to shred it to pieces later on. If you’ve caught your new partner in a seemingly innocent lie, watch out!
14. Ask direct questions. If you suspect the other person is not being completely honest and forthcoming, remember that you are entitled to the truth. Don’t let smokescreens deter you from getting a straight answer.
15. Trust until you’re convinced you shouldn’t. If you’ve been burned in the past, you may feel your partner isn’t entitled to your trust until he “earns” it. But an untrusting attitude can sabotage a growing relationship. Believe the best about your partner—and he might be motivated to live up to your high expectations.