1. When a friend seems to have something negative to say about everyone they know, believe that they are treating you the same way behind your back – chances are, you’re probably not the outlier.
2. When someone tells you that they “aren’t looking for a relationship” right now, believe them, because that’s pretty much always how people rationalize not wanting to commit to someone who seems like they should be right.
3. If someone cares more about what could be on their résumé more than they do their eulogy, believe they care more about how others see them than how they make others feel.
4. If someone immediately denies criticism without even considering that the claim could be true, believe that at some level, they are sure it is.
5. When someone makes a passive aggressive comment that strikes you as though it would be offensive if it wasn’t laughed off, believe that it is their true opinion.
6. If someone is only a good person when it’s convenient for them, believe that they care more about their own immediate wants than the greater good of the whole.
7. If someone goes out of their way to apologize for something that they did in the past, believe that they really are sorry, because at that point, there’s nothing to gain other than their own sanctity of mind.
8. If someone threatens to leave you when they are angry – but promises to stay when they are calm – believe that they are just trying to hurt you more than they actually want to go.
9. If someone talks about wanting to leave when they are calm, believe that they are actually trying to prepare you and prevent you from getting your feelings hurt.
10. If someone can be happy for others who are doing better than them in life, believe that they are confident in their own decisions.
11. If someone is irrationally judgmental or angry toward other people, believe that those people have something they want very, very badly (and are completely convinced they cannot get).
12. Notice the way someone treats themselves when things aren’t going their way, because that’s who they really are.
13. Notice the way someone treats other people when things are going their way, because that’s who they really are, too.
14. Notice the way someone treats strangers, especially those who can’t do anything for them, because that’s how much they really respect others.
15. Notice the way someone treats the people who can do a lot for them, because that’s how much they respect themselves.
16. If someone has to repeatedly affirm that they “don’t care” about something, chances are, they very much care about that thing.
17. If someone tells you that they miss you and want to see you but they don’t make plans or follow through, assume they are trying to be more socially gracious than they are trying to actually reconnect.
18. If someone aims to seek revenge on those who have hurt them, believe that they are not so much trying to get even as they are trying to invalidate what that person did or said.
19. If someone tries to understand the perspective of someone who has hurt them, believe that they are more awake and self-aware than most.
20. If someone is willing to make fun of someone in a way that’s hurtful and tone-deaf, believe that their own insecurities run far deeper than you may realize.
21. When people don’t show up for you – especially for significant times and events – believe that they are more invested in the idea of your relationship than you as a person. Everyone says they care – the people who show up are the ones who actually do.
22. If you tell someone that they’ve hurt you and they immediately deny the way that you feel, believe that they are selfish at best, and narcissistic at worst.
23. If you tell someone that they’ve hurt you and they are visibly distressed and apologetic, believe that they actually do care about you.
24. If someone promises you they will change so that you won’t be mad at them anymore but doesn’t actually do it, believe that they are not going to until they are ready – on their own terms.
25. If someone seems like a nice person to your face but aggressive and different behind a screen, believe that the latter is more of who they really are, they’re just in a position where they’re not afraid to show it.
26. If someone defends their harsh or hurtful opinions by saying they are “just being honest,” believe that they either lack a decent amount of empathy, or tact in communicating.
27. If someone always seem to have new friends, and can’t keep one job or apartment or group for more than a year at max, believe that there’s a reason.
28. If someone always feels the need to correct you, and never agrees with you instinctively, believe that they are actually very threatened by you, and need to assert dominance.
29. If someone makes you feel weird for no explicable reason after you’re together for a period of time, believe your instinct, and trust that they are grating on you in ways you may not be aware of.
30. If someone tells you that there’s a certain relationship or friendship pattern that “always” happens to them (i.e. they are “always” friend-zoned, or they “always” lose their BFFs) believe that it’s a warning.
31. If someone is willing to let go of past grievances and start new in your relationship, believe them, because it is far easier to walk away than it is to change for the sake of someone else’s happiness.