Is it naive to be too kind?

Naivety: Recognizing + 3 Tips on How to Shed Gullibility

In common parlance, many equate naivety with naivety. This is a property that is often detrimental to the individual. Anyone who naively enters a situation may be ripped off. Of course, nobody wants that for themselves. What exactly does it mean to be naive and what are the advantages and disadvantages of being naive?

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Definition: what does naivety mean?

Naivety is derived from the adjective "native", which means something like "native, original" or "childlike". In a broader sense it means that someone is gullible and ignorant, but also unadulterated. This person is easily influenced and questions little because they believe what others say to them.

Best example: You can tell children up to a certain age that the Christ Child will bring presents for Christmas. At some point this belief is lost and the child realizes that this is just a beautiful story. Since children naturally do not yet have much life experience, they cannot immediately assess whether something is true or made up.

Naivety in adults

As people get older, they learn to analyze what has been said and the behavior of others. They discover contradictions and inconsistent behavior. Then there are bad experiences and disappointments. From this they develop a healthy skepticism. What is still understandable in children causes irritation in adults. That is why many people rate naivety differently in adults, namely significantly more negatively. We expect an adult to be able to assess certain situations and to behave appropriately. It's all about self-protection.

Some people have extremely selfish motives. And often there are conflicting interests. A healthy egoism includes shedding one's naivete and advocating for one's own needs. This is true in relationships as well as in working life. For example, it would be naive to think that companies pay decent wages out of sheer philanthropy. Because that didn't work, a minimum wage was eventually introduced. As an employee, this also means that you have to stand up for your interests wherever things are negotiable. Otherwise you may suffer disadvantages.

Causes: where does naivety come from?

There are different explanations for why some people are still extremely naive even in adulthood.

Lack of experience

A common explanation for naivety is that a person has not yet had negative experiences. It is believed that this is particularly true of people who grew up very sheltered. The idea: Parents convey certain values ​​to their child and live them. The child internalizes these values ​​and later believes that other people think the same way. As long as this ideal world is not shaken, the person remains naive.

This theory is partially plausible, because even the most harmonious parents argue, even between siblings there is competition. We are in contact with a wide variety of people up to adulthood: relatives, neighbors, classmates, teachers, trainers. They all shape us and our image of fellow human beings and contribute to gaining experience. Recognize the character and personality of other people. Even children lie - there is a discrepancy between what one person says on the one hand and what another person sees or discovers.

Nevertheless, someone can retain a certain degree of naivety if, for example, he always moves in the same circles. Getting to know people with different experiences, different cultural or socio-economic backgrounds definitely helps to review old naive ideas and to throw them overboard.

Conscious decision

Another explanation sees naivety as a conscious choice. Basically accepting the worst from others is a negative attitude. The pessimists would argue that they can only be positively surprised this way. The optimists, on the other hand, that they make things much more difficult. It is possible that naivety is based on the desire for harmony: Those who meet other people in an open and friendly manner, do not suspect anything bad, will encounter little resistance.

Naivety as a basic attitude can also be the result of lazy thinking. A person may refuse to deal with certain topics. In the worst case, this could mean having to change your own actions. For example, anyone who values ​​fairly traded products should consequently find out in advance whether the goods purchased meet their own criteria. To assume that other people - in this case producers and traders - see things the same way is naive in view of capitalist interests.

Difficult childhood

Psychology, on the other hand, provides a completely different explanation. A study by the British psychologists Kim Drake, Ray Bull and Julian Boon of the University of Leicester found that, on the contrary, it is life's tough lessons that make people gullible. In a six-month study, the researchers evaluated the results of 60 participants. Hard lessons included experiences of violence such as robbery as well as serious illness, death, miscarriage, divorce, layoffs or bullying. The evaluations showed that such people are more open to suggestive questions during police interrogations, for example. Or be more easily influenced by the media or advertising campaigns.

True, some people get through adversity actually “more hardened”. Most people, however, develop less confidence in their own judgment through repeated exposure to negative experiences. Or so the observations. The researchers explain this by saying that someone with such experiences learned to perceive their own actions and decisions as negative consequences. The researchers also found that because of frequent negative experiences, many people develop a negative mindset that is associated with low self-esteem.

3 tips on how to shed your naivete

Naivety is a double-edged sword. One likes to associate being naive with terms such as “innocent”, “carefree” and “honest” - what should be wrong with that? Or: why should someone want to shed their naivete? As bitter as it sounds: Naivety does guarantee an ideal world to a certain extent, because it can lead to the fact that we only trust a person to be good. However, if this trust is not justified, it can be harmful. That is why strangers usually have to “earn” the trust of others first, that is, to prove themselves for a certain period of time.

Hardly any employer would entrust the safe key to his newly employed trainee (unless as a test). If he does, and if the new employee does not prove to be trustworthy, many would rate the employer's behavior as naive. So, in general, everyone has an interest in shedding excessive naivete. How do you do that? In addition these tips:

Listen to

Listen to what others are telling you. That doesn't mean you should have a bear tied to you. However, some people are not particularly good at listening, preferring to talk about themselves. However, those who mainly talk about themselves do not learn anything from the other person. What are your values ​​and goals? Do they agree with yours? Listening also allows you to check what has been said at a later date.

Watch you

“Those who believe in what is good in people are not naive. But whoever ignores the bad in people "is one of the numerous sayings about naivety. So it's not about condemning all people per se. But also realistically assess risks. Therefore, it is not enough just to listen to what a person says, but also to observe their actions: does the person redeem what he has previously claimed? Does he keep his promises? Or is it just a lot of hot air and nothing else? You should also observe your counterpart in direct conversation: Those who do not take the truth so seriously, often betray themselves through their body language.

Experience it

The ultimate tip on how to get rid of naivety is to gain experience. This does not necessarily mean negative experiences. It's about getting to know other people and other places and broadening your own horizons. Learning that not everyone has the same ideas and perceptions helps to recognize where there may be potential for conflict, for example if you are dependent on each other. In some cases the knowledge may even lead to a modification of one's own value system.

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