Ten characteristics of the untrustworthy

For each of the following characteristics an individual exhibits, I lose a bit of trust in him/her:

  1. Never admits error
  2. Never acknowledges a good point even if (s)he disagrees
  3. Can’t acknowledge that even good ideas have limitations
  4. Doesn’t take criticism as an opportunity for improvement (overly defensive)
  5. Doesn’t adjust thinking in response to new (credible) information
  6. Thinks those with different views are stupid, evil, irrational, or corrupt
  7. Thinks politics drives all opinions
  8. Has no respect or need for the scientific process or results therefrom
  9. Doesn’t tweet
  10. Has no sense of humor (see 9)

Most of these are matters of degree, even if I’ve written them as absolutes. Someone who admits error or acknowledges a good point once and never again doesn’t earn as much trust as someone who does so more routinely.

Most of these are characteristics of children, or many children. I forgive the children.

These (or their opposite, really) are hard to live by. Even those of us who value them don’t achieve perfection. That’s clear to others. If we’re honest, we’ll admit it to ourselves. Trying is important. It takes more than lip service. I guess the meta-point is that anyone who doesn’t believe that is the most untrustworthy of all.


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