Most people are pretty wonderful.
However, there are a handful of monsters in the world who make it really difficult for the rest of us to get by. Many of them are good at manipulating vulnerable people. So, keep your list of red flags handy.
1) If it feels wrong, if your gut instinct is saying it’s time to get out of here, if for some reason you just can’t trust a person and you don’t know why, LISTEN. That system exists for a reason. Our brains process so much information that we miss subtle cues at times. Your intuition can catch them and send up a red flag. LISTEN.
2) If a friend, teacher, leader, partner or *whatever* violates your consent or sovereignty even ONCE, they are showing you who they are. Believe them the first time and get the heck out of there. People either believe other humans are sovereign beings or they don’t. All the sweet words in the world will not change that.
3) There is no such thing as the perfect leader. One of the great things about being human is that we have already been saved from perfection. It’s not an option for us. This applies to everyone. So when you meet someone with a lot of personal magnetism, know that they are just as much of a hot mess as everyone else is. Their swan impersonation is just really good. (And I’m saying this as someone with a really amazing swan impersonation. I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time. I just know how to pretend.)
4) Anyone who tries to separate you from your other communities, friendships, and support systems is bad news. Exit stage right.
5) Cultivate relationships in multiple communities. Have more than one social circle. I know it can be a pain, but it will keep you safe if a snake gets into a group you frequent.
6) This is similar to the first point, but use common sense. If someone is asking you to do something dangerous, morally questionable, or potentially harmful, DON’T DO IT. If they get mad, or it ends the friendship, congratulations. You have just seen their true colors. Exit stage right.
Always believe in your self worth. And, if someone seems too good to be true, they are. Trust your instincts.