Trust but Verify. You’ve heard the expression many times, I’m sure. Let me give you my version of its meaning. Here’s the scenario. There’s a new person at work whose name is Fran. Fran works at the next desk from you. Seems like a very nice person. Nice personality. You feel comfortable talking to Fran. That sure is a good start, but is it enough?
Just remember, some people have nice personalities and yet have zero morals. That is not for you. You deserve a person of values to be your friend — assuming you are a person of values.
A ‘new friend observation test’ will answer most of the questions you can have about the worthiness of your new friend.
There is so much you can learn simply by observing/paying attention. The main cornerstones of any meaningful relationship are reliability, respect and honesty. Check for these 3 traits.
1. Reliability: Does Fran show up on time for lunch. Does he show up at all.
2. Respect: First she better treat you with respect, but that’s not enough. How does Fran treat servers, valet parkers and such. Hopefully with respect. No excuses with this. It’s a must.
3. Honesty: When you split the bill is Fran honest. What other conversations have you had that you can verify his honesty. Pay attention to the details. It matters.
Two other things you will want to know. These are not are easy to observe, but you need to check them out.
1. Does Fran keep your secrets? – Start out telling her a “secret” that won’t embarrass you if the world finds out. If in the next week or month, no one has mentioned it, chances are your new friend kept your secret. Let me say, that there are some lovely, honest people who do run off at the mouth. I have a friend like that. I enjoy her friendship and I make sure I don’t tell her anything that I wouldn’t want the rest of the world knowing. She’s not a bad person. But knowing her proclivity to gossiping, I protect myself and they I can enjoy her company safely.
2. Does Fran speak well of you to others. How Fran speaks of you to others will surely come back one way or the other. If you hear he says nasty things, consider their source. Then I’d verify that with comments from other people.
You’re creating a friendship with someone. Remember, a good personality is not the same as a good person. It is important that we learn to trust. And we can only do that effectively when we take the time and effort to allow the new friend to earn that trust through a slow series of situations that verify this new friend is trustworthy.