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We’ve all most likely been in this scenario: you meet someone new and hit it off right away – they’re funny, nice, and you seem to have found a fast friend. However, since you just met, you feel that you can’t fully trust them yet. You’ve listened to some of their stories and shared quite a few of your own, but this is the first time you’ve talked. You might feel a real connection and want to believe that they’re trustworthy, yet you still have that guarded feeling that makes you seem nervous. It’s human nature to be cautious people we don’t know well. Personally, since I’m a glass-is-half-full type of woman, I trust people unless they give me a reason to think otherwise. While it’s always good to be careful with whom you trust, when does this “guarded” approach turn into full-on paranoia? There’s a fine line between being a street-smart human being and having a closed personality. People are complex and it’s smart to not let everyone into to your personal life, but how are you to strengthen your new relationships if you don’t give them something to start with? Here are some tips on how to be trusting, but not TOO trusting:

1. Start off slow when talking to someone new. Don’t reveal too much about yourself too fast. It’s always a golden rule to keep a friendly air, but not to tell the person EVERYTHING about yourself. This might be common sense, but some people are far too honest too fast, which could lead to issues later if the relationship doesn’t go well. Any friendship or relationship in general has to start with a foundation with which you build trust on. Just be smart about how much you tell someone and a new relationship could blossom!

2. Be open to upping the trust level as you get to know them. If you or put up a wall right away or become defensive when they ask you more in-depth questions, they might think that you don’t like them and might back away themselves as a result. If you don’t let the relationship develop naturally, how is there supposed to be trust at all? Trust is a give and take, therefore, if you don’t let yourself become comfortable or open to letting them in, nothing’s ever going to happen.

3. Don’t analyze everything too much. As I said in a past entry (Stop Over-Analyzing And Start Living Your Life), analyzing every little detail of your life isn’t worth it. You have to be open to the fact that nothing is completely certain unless you talk to the person, plus life is better if you’re able to let some things go. Many times, shy people who worry too much are mistaken as cold or insensitive, even if they’re really just scared to trust others. In general, you just have to open yourself up to the possibilities, yet not be one to bare your soul. Keeping a balanced perspective on every situation makes it easier to trust, yet also be in-tune with your gut thoughts and feelings on the person.

4. …However, DO read body language. Body language is invaluable to notice while learning to trust someone, especially since it can be very indicative of whether that person is being sincere or not. Watch their eyes, hand motions, and facial expressions carefully in order to gauge whether or not the person is being truthful. Check out this article I posted a few weeks ago to get a handle on how to read people.

Is It Really In The Eyes? Body Language Decoded.

5. Don’t assume you know everything about them right away. Getting to know them through social networking sites, texts, instant messenger, and e-mail shouldn’t be the sole way you get to know them. Don’t blindly think they are a certain way unless you have spent a significant amount of time in person with them. Ask them lots of questions in order to get to know their intricacies in the flesh. It’s better to get to know someone slowly through getting coffee or hanging out in the park with friends than a false sense of intimacy through text.

6. Listen to your gut feeling in order to spot patterns. Did you get a weird feeling when they asked you personal information right away? Or was it possible that from the moment you met, you weren’t sure if they were trustworthy or not? Trust those initial feelings. Take the friendship slowly. Listen to the above hints and don’t reveal too much about yourself. If these invasive questions continue or you still don’t feel safe around them, a pattern is forming and it might be for the best that you aren’t very close with this person. If your gut is telling you something, it’s probably important, so listen to that instinct – it’s rarely wrong!

In general, it’s good to take things slow and not rush into any intense emotional sharing with people. It can take some friends years to open up to each other, but others mere days or hours to spill their entire life stories. While it’s good to go with the flow and not be too nervous about budding camaraderie, you can’t be too careful with what you share in initial meetings.Once you’ve known someone for years and haven’t had many issues with them, then the trust levels can be raised, but it always depends on your gut feelings no matter what. Don’t let uneasy feelings overtake you – listen to them! Be careful with your interactions with that person and if need be, let go of someone who’s toxic. Life is too short for strong, independent women to be tied down with non-trustworthy confidants! Be yourself and learn to ease into friendships, relationships, and other interpersonal interactions gracefully. You never know who you could meet and how important they could turn out to be in the long run!