What does a person stand to gain? This will help you know the person’s motives.
Actually writing this statement is uncomfortable. At our core, we want to be able to trust people. We want to be able to let our guard down. In fact, it’s innate to want to have people in our inner-circle of trust, to share the victories and pains of life along the way.
But there are times when others have failed us, bamboozled and sabotaged us, our goodwill taken advantage of and trampled. How we choose to proceed from those situations is in part what shapes us and determines our character.
Dealing With The Hurt
Being hurt by someone once considered a “close friend” can create a lasting gulf, separating others from gaining this same label and closeness to us. We are simply protecting ourselves from future pain and anxiety by creating this disconnect. It is understandable. In the long-run, this gulf leaves us stranded on a very solitary island. Though some may cherish the thought of such an island, the loneliness does not lend to realizing human potential.
Letting someone into your life, to include knowing things not publicly shared, opens up an enormous chasm of vulnerability. Why do we do it? Again, it’s innate want to share your innermost thoughts and feelings with other, to verify their existence, to quell the thoughts of being alone, to gain assurance and support about our ideas. To reassure us. To verify our thoughts, helping us believe these thoughts are not outside the norm of society.
If you’ve been hurt—and who hasn’t at some point—in your life, causing you to withdraw from the uncertainty of openness, how can you begin to “trust” again? Where do you start?
What Are Your Motives
Start by being the person that you are looking to share with. Start by looking at your own motives in establishing friendships and lasting relationships. When meeting someone new, or reestablishing a previous friendship, ask yourself, “What are my motives?”
If your list of motives fall in line with a one-sided “what will I gain,” you need to reevaluate:
The person can help my career.
The person can get me into a certain clique.
The person’s looks will help my status.
The person’s financial situation can benefit me.
The person won’t burden me with their problems and I can just share mine.
While reading this, I’m sure you can come up with other scenarios that fit this list. You may have even considered some of these things while forming your own relationships—sadly, I have.
Reevaluating Your Motives (Change)
To counter these items, being the person that you would want to have as a friend or start a relationship with is magnetic. It has the tendency to attract like-minded people and to sift out those individuals with shallow intentions.
Be the person who…
Lends a listening ear, not interjecting your own issues; just listening.
Reaches out for no reason other than to say, “I was thinking about you.”
Cheers for little successes in others.
Doesn’t compete with the other person’s happiness.
Slow to be offended.
By following this list there is no guarantee you won’t run into someone masquerading as a friend. You’re leaving yourself open to the possibility of disappointment and hurt. Life is unfair that way. Unfortunately, some apples have worms in them.
In time, we learn by continuing to eat apples. Learning which apples are the best. Learning what trees (characteristics) produce the best apples. And of course, biting down carefully with a chance of discovering a worm once and awhile.