Trusting Authenticity: Are Negative People Easier to Trust? #PeopleSkills

Trusting Authenticity: Does Negativity Seem More Real?

Trusting Authenticity: Image is the words Truth and Lies

Trusting Authenticity: Why Does Negativity Seem More Real?

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When you meet people who have a consistently positive attitude, have you ever thought, “Are they for real?”

If people gush with praise, do you question their authenticity? Would you question it if they were very negative? When it comes to trusting authenticity …

Are negative people easier to trust? Do they seem more real?

Trusting Authenticity: The Ease of Negativity

As I work with leaders and teams on positive attitudes, I almost always hear “Too many smiles and compliments just aren’t believable.” Each time I hear it, I ask myself why people find negativity more authentic and easier to trust.

Here are some possibilities.

  • Negativity most likely doesn’t have a hidden agenda.

    Although this isn’t always true, many believe that few people would fake negativity. Trusting authenticity in this case is easier.

  • Negative emotions are either very natural or very fake.

    Many people believe that anger and sadness come from deep within. When they are fake, they are very easy to spot and trusting authenticity is not a big hurdle.

  • You have more to lose if you buy into positive fakers.

    If people fake a positive attitude and give praise to manipulate others, there is greater fear of being taken in. This increased risk makes trusting authenticity much tougher.

  • Negativity feeds your own inner doubts.

    Many people are uncomfortable receiving praise. Although they don’t like hearing the negative, it is easier to believe than effusive compliments.

  • Life is not perfect. There are many imperfections and much pain.

    People who focus on this belief see highly positive people as nonsensical dreamers. They do not trust them and often don’t want to be around them.

  • Highly positive doesn’t connect.

    The old saying, misery loves company, may be in play here. Surely highly positive people like and trust other highly positive people. And there are many people who enjoy being around positive people who lift them up. Yet there are also many who want people to empathize with their pain not remind them that life is beautiful.

So where does this leave the state of positive attitudes, engaging compliments, and inspiration for performance? As strong as ever.

Positive attitudes are authentic when you …

  1. Empathize with others and then light the way with positive possibilities.
  2. Respect others before you compliment them; it builds trust.
  3. Make compliments specific and individual.
  4. Be vulnerable enough to admit your own struggles.
  5. Display your optimism with realism.
  6. Be transparent and forthright. (One passive aggressive action and you will spend a lifetime rebuilding trust.)
  7. Let your actions make your words worthy of trust.

Negativity doesn’t have to seem more real. Through respect, empathy, and transparent actions, a highly positive attitude can be just as authentic.

Would you rather be around someone who is highly positive or negative? Why?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
People Skills Integrity & Authenticity
People Skills Success: Be Authentic Not Absolute

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.



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12 Responses to “Trusting Authenticity: Are Negative People Easier to Trust? #PeopleSkills”

  1. Khalid says:

    I like to be around highly positive people who lift me up during my life journey… Just like you Kate with your sweet words that direct me and open up possibility for me to be a better person 🙂

    Thanks Kate for your creativity

    • Kate Nasser says:

      I’m with you Khalid. I like positive. I don’t see it as a threat to authenticity. I can spot people who are genuine or disingenuous whether they are positive or negative.

      Love your positive learning spirit and thanks for contributing here!

  2. Randy Conley says:

    You make some interesting points Kate. Authenticity does seem to be the key, whether the person has a negative or positive attitude. I’m sure we’ve all met people on both ends of the spectrum who haven’t appeared genuine, and because of their lack of authenticity, we don’t trust them. Regardless if someone is positive or negative, just be real with me…at least then I know what to expect.

    Take care,


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Randy,
      I agree that genuineness can be either positive or negative attitude depending on the person, the moment, etc… It’s a hope I share that more people will find the positive to be as believable as the negative!

      Many thanks for your comment and addition to this discussion,

  3. We were born to encourage one another to move into the light. It’s not about appearances. It is about what is there at the heart of our reality.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Wow Wayne. That’s a very positive philosophy on life. I share it and live it. It makes me wonder if those who are uncomfortable around very positive people live a different reality. What do you think?

      Many thanks for your contribution here.

  4. Lalita Raman says:

    Kate you bring out key points in your lovely post. The key to me is authenticity. You can be direct and assertive but definitely not rude. Positivity is welcomed when you give feedback based on evidence. For E.g. I like the way you have brought the relevance of negativity and positivity on being genuine. This shows you have thought through the topic well and have a good hands on knowledge.

    I think in life many times people pass frivolous comments and they seem more like flattery or cheap humor. This is not authentic.

    The way the positive and negative comments are delivered is key.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Nicely said Lalita. And quite true. It’s in the delivery, the timing, the circumstances where we find balance and genuineness.

      Many thanks for adding your voice to this discussion.

      Warmest regards,

  5. The answer from my experience Kate is that negativity is not easier to trust. Devil’s advocate is one thing and often needed to broaden understanding before action. Someone who operates out of negativity though is a drag on brainstorming, emotional intelligence, faith, hope and action. All which hinders collaboration, innovation and productivity.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Great points Jon. When you think of all the results that come from positive interaction, rampant negativity can stifle success. Something important to consider when you ponder who to trust!

      Many thanks for adding your voice to this discussion.

  6. Karen says:

    Hi, Kate. This is a very interesting subject. I have thought a lot about how people who gossip or cast aspersions are almost always believed. It is as if nice people can’t imagine why someone would say a bad thing if it is not true. Of course, nice people should pause and think, “there is rarely a good reason to pass judgement on others or to share news that isn’t theirs to tell.” When people talk about others in a negative manner, they are trying to wield power over you by swaying your opinion in their own favor. Unfortunately we all have to acknowledge that there are negative people and bullies and we are wise to prepare our minds to remain detached and calm when we are faced with them. I enjoy rattling bullies by looking them square in the eye and not engaging in or reacting to their drama.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Karen,
      You arise an interesting issue when you say: “It is as if nice people can’t imagine why someone would say a bad thing if it is not true.” Our mindset positions what is possible. Yet it isn’t always true. People do gossip and even lie. So we must look beyond what is said to see intentions and also what evidence there is of truth.

      Many thanks for expanding this discussion,

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