In business and in meaningful relationships, listening to what is actually being said and done is essential to avoiding disaster. Before you purchase or promote a product or person, do your due diligence and take time to observe. Listen to warnings, pay attention to details, and heed the signs when someone is not as they appear. Trust must be earned and discernment is key.
Do not allow yourself to be fooled by superficial charm or hidden agendas; listen closely to what is actually being said and done to ensure that you are making informed decisions. Test a product before you buy it. And before you sell it to others, buy it with your own money and then test their customer service. Make a demand of them that is tough but also reasonable. Do they treat you poorly? Do they respond to your questions in a timely manner? What is their tone? If it’s anything less than kind, responsive or accommodating, move on and do not promote their product or service.
Before you pledge with anyone, take them to lunch, introduce them to your neighbors, friends and family. They’ll tell on themselves if they have no good intent. How do they treat workers, the waiter, the Uber driver, the old lady on the street? I believe we are all aligned to the truth, whether we acknowledge it or not. Don’t talk, just listen. People tell on themselves all the time, just resist the urge to talk, and listen instead. How many times have I heard with my own ear a friend say: “I’m an asshole” and believe it or not, no…their behavior was that way. I even had a friend once who had a tattoo in Chinese that translated to the word “Bitch” on her body. Turns out, she actually lied about being gravely ill with a bad disease.
Time and time again, in my naiveté, I gave the benefit of the doubt or ignored warnings others gave because I wanted to be “fair and kind”. I used to have a superficial friend who took great pride is saying he was that way. When I would take off to make lunch for my elderly father, he would say: “Why don’t you just order him Chinese food?” or he would say: “You’re not really black.” I didn’t listen, and I didn’t understand he was saying “superficial” but he really meant racist and classist, and was hiding unkindness. He would come to my neighborhood and act as if he was born and bred generations deep in Bel Air. Finally at some point, I had to say enough, the friendship was costing me too much.
Don’t do it. Heed the warnings and listen….people will always tell you so look and listen for the tells. But don’t be fooled, you can also spot the really clever phonies, those who hide behind virtue and religion by what they don’t say as well. Do they show up for you? Did they ever respond? Do they love you, but hate your sin? Do they keep track of your failures and let it slip?
This is the takeaway: People always tell, and time tells on us all. We had a nurse that also came to our home, acting strangely. I thought it was quirkiness but it signified something deeply wrong, I was even warned about her, it ended badly. Does this mean we trust no one? Does it mean we look upon others with cynicism and distrust? No. It simply means our trust must be earned and we grow in discernment. We don’t have to be downers or act as if we live in ivory towers, but at some point, unless we want to be destroyed, we had better listen to what people are actually saying.