A lawyer once said to me, "A contract is only as good as the people who sign it." In other words, if a person doesn’t have integrity, their signature—their word—means nothing because they aren’t trustworthy. And if someone is dishonest in one area of their life, it's likely they will be dishonest in other areas of their life—including relationships.
Years ago, I went on a first date with a man at a lovely romantic restaurant. He ordered red wine for us, and no more than five minutes afterward, he started yelling at the waiter, demanding that we be served our wine.
I wouldn't call that date a failure or a waste of time because I learned something valuable about that person. I learned that we were not compatible within those first few minutes of the date. Someone’s character is quickly disclosed by how they treat others—which is how they will treat you, too. If someone is kind to others, they'll likely be kind to you. If they have integrity in their interactions with others, they will have it with others.
Here are six ways to attune yourself to integrity and attract trustworthy people:
1. Align yourself with givers, not takers.
A person with integrity is someone who gives to others. The characteristics that influence generosity of spirit are also the components of integrity: morality, honesty, honor, trustworthiness, authenticity, genuineness, and nobility.
2. Trust your intuition.
A "red flag" is a sign that something is off—if you sense that something is off, don’t wait to take action until you see evidence of it in your outer world. If your intuition whispers that something is wrong—even if you don’t have hard evidence that it is—slow things down. That doesn't mean you have to cut off a relationship immediately altogether. It means you take a step back to reassess before deciding whether to move forward or cut and run.
3. Don't let the truth be clouded by what you want to hear.
If a woman or man explains that they don’t want a relationship, believe them. They are being upfront. If you do want a relationship but continue to date someone who doesn’t, you are not acting with integrity. Attempting to reconcile these two fundamentally incompatible needs is not being truthful to yourself or to the other person.
4. Compare what they say with what they do.
Do this person's actions align with who they say they are—or is it possible that they're saying what they think you want to hear—even though it isn't the truth? When you communicate with them and spend time with them, notice discrepancies. If, for example, this person states that they are reliable and then are consistently late or often cancel when you have plans, you can begin to consider that they may be less than honest—with you and/or themselves—about what kind of person they are.
5. Determine whether or not this person respects you.
If an individual doesn’t have integrity, they will not respect you. If you notice a lack of respect for others (like I did with the man who yelled at our waiter on our first date), you can infer that they lack sufficient self-respect. People who lack self-respect often lack integrity. Think about it: If they think very little of themselves, they are not likely to hold themselves to a particularly high standard of conduct.
It can be tempting to bolster these wounded personalities, to try to "fix" them. But self-acceptance starts within, and you will likely end up hurting yourself and slowing their progress toward personal growth if you go down that road.
6. Be your own best example of what integrity looks like.
Often, maintaining integrity in times of stress requires creative solutions. How can you care for yourself adequately while fully engaging in your relationships? Well, caring for yourself is an expression of self-respect. Self-respect encourages integrity. And, when you're living with integrity, taking care of yourself and being honest about your needs will just feel natural. While you are always being honest with yourself and maintaining self-care, at the same time you are honest with others and "doing the right thing" for the others involved as well.
We teach people how to treat us by accepting or rejecting certain modes of behavior and by demonstrating the way we treat ourselves. If you agree to enter into—or stay in—a business or personal relationship where at least one involved party lacks integrity, what does that say about you? It suggests that you don't respect yourself enough to demand that other people treat you with integrity. It reveals you have a lack of healthy self-love.
Integrity is vital to all relationships, and it starts with the relationship you have with yourself.
If a difficult person or circumstance has appeared in your life, don't look at it as a burden. Look at it as an opportunity to identify growth areas in your own life. Use it as a jumping-off point for healing. Appreciate it for the gift it is.
Want more insight into your sex life? Learn about the six kinds of orgasms (and how to have them) and the two types of passion (and which one is good for your sex life).