Deception can rear in its ugly head in any types of relationships, from work to friendships and romantic partnerships. I once spent countless hours completing a design project for a client only to have her take the work and refuse to pay me a cent. Despite that negative experience, I still do freelance design projects, although I am more careful about whom I’m willing to take on.
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Having your trust broken is sometimes difficult to handle and recover from, but you don’t have to spend your life distrusting others because of your past experiences. Check out these three essential tips for moving past being deceived and onto bigger and better things.
1. Know That Not Everyone Is The Same
It’s easy to paint everyone in a similar group with the same brush once you’ve been lied to or had your trust shattered. I was wary of every single potential client I spoke to after I was ripped off. I couldn’t help but feel they were going to do the same thing to me until I gained some important perspective: every single client was an entirely different person, a “clean” slate.
Remind yourself that the next person you deal with is not the same person who deceived you. While that dishonest person doesn’t deserve any trust from you, other people do. For example, if you broke it off with a cheating partner, don’t automatically assume your next partner is going to cheat too. That’s not fair, as you’re essentially assigning your new partner some responsibility for what your old partner did.
Don’t allow a completely unrelated person to shoulder to blame for someone else’s actions in your own mind. You can’t let your past act as baggage that weighs you down and prevents you from having good experiences. Extend trust to those who deserve it to live your life to the fullest.
2. Evaluate Their Role
Take a look at the reasons why the situation ended up like it did. In my case, I considered why the client didn’t pay me as promised. Was my work not up to par? Did she run out of money and was unable to pay but too embarrassed to tell me? Or did she simply take advantage of me by taking my work without ever intending on paying me for it?
Review the events from the perspective of the person who deceived you to discover possible reasons why he or she acted the way they did. While exploring things from this angle won’t magically fix anything, it can help you at least understand what may have happened on their end and help you avoid similar scenarios in the future.
3. Look At Your Role
When I thought back about the dealings with my dishonest design client, I realized there were some red flags I should have noticed. She was a little hesitant when we discussed payment initially and did not always respond to emails prompt despite the project being labeled by her as urgent.
Trust is something that is easy to view as entirely dependent on the behavior of someone else. I was upset because I felt she had let me down and had taken advantage of me, and while there is some truth to that, I also could have heeded the warning signs and not ended up in that situation to begin with.
Learn from what happened to you by accepting your role in the events in its entirety. Your past experiences can help you be more selective about whom you extend your trust to and whom you don’t.