How to be less naive

People who are lonely and socially awkward sometimes come across as really naive and innocent. They seem wholesome, and like they don’t have even a minimal level of edge. They unintentionally give off that vibe because they’ve spent too much time on their own and don’t have enough experience with friendships and the wider world. This is particularly likely to happen with high school or university students, where there can be big gaps in life experience between one classmate and another.

There’s not anything inherently wrong with being innocent or a bit naive. Overall, people tend to sort themselves into liked-minded groups based on their interests and values. The edgier folks find each other, as do the less-edgy ones. I’d also argue it can be a whole other problem if someone has too much of an edge. In general though I think it’s good if you can find a nice middle ground. Most people have at least a small amount of edge to them, so if you come across as extremely guileless and wholesome you may be unnecessarily handicapped in your social interactions.

Being overly innocent and naive has the following drawbacks:

  • Overly innocent types can be looked down on as clueless goody goodies.
  • They may not be invited to edgier events, because people assume they wouldn’t enjoy themselves or know how to handle them. Again, for an extremely innocent person an edgy event could be nothing more than a party where there will be alcohol.
  • They may be seen as too “nice”, in the bad sense of the word.
  • People may worry a wholesome person is going to be judgmental toward them (e.g., for getting drunk and making crude jokes).
  • They may simply have the wrong idea about certain things, or be missing useful information about how the world really works (e.g., they may see every last person who smokes as depraved and evil).
  • They may be needlessly afraid of things that are mostly harmless (e.g., seeing dance clubs as dangerous, sketchy places).
  • In more extreme cases their innocence could lead to them being taken advantage of.

One thing I’ve noticed about innocence is that it seems to be a trait we sometimes like in other people, but don’t necessarily want for ourselves. When another person is innocent we can sometimes be condescending and see them almost as a cute little pet – “Aw, look at how adorable and charmingly helpless they are!” There’s a gender stereotype element that can come into play here too. In general guys are expected to be wise to the ways of the world, but some people like the idea of women being sheltered and inexperienced.

A few ways to get a bit more edge

Learn more about the world

If you think you may be too innocent and want to get a bit more of an edge the first thing you can do is try to learn more about the world and the grittier side of life. It sounds dorky but you can even do this to a degree by reading or watching movies or online videos. The idea isn’t to become some broken, jaded husk who knows too much, more to shed your more extreme naivety.

You also want to try to get a more balanced picture of things you may initially have seen as completely bad. For example, an innocent person may have a simplistic view of smoking weed and think everyone who does it is a degenerate slacker. With more experience they may see there’s a lot more nuance to it than that, and that plenty of otherwise decent folk smoke up occasionally, and that they’re good little citizens otherwise.

If you want, try some edgier activities yourself

I’m not going to be dumb here and encourage you to do anything that’s so edgy it’s dangerous, illegal, or could otherwise get you in trouble. If you want to do that it’s your call. Just know what you’re getting into. However, there are some things that you may see as edgy that are actually pretty harmless. Like someone who’s been really sheltered may see going to a bar as this foolhardy, rebellious act. It may broaden their horizons to give something like that a try, and see it’s no big deal. It’s really just another way to learn about the world.

Being a tad edgier doesn’t mean becoming cartoonishly offensive or nihilistic

The idea is to get to a point where you don’t clutch your pearls if someone tells you they sometimes take psychedelics when they’re camping. It’s not to start dressing all in black and spouting off about how life is nothing but a meaningless capitalist charade, or making casual jokes about genocide to show how twisted you are.

Trust is innate, but knowing when to withhold it is a skill that takes some practice

How to be less naive

Feb 20, 2019 · 6 min read

How to be less naive

How to be less naiveW hen Rachel Botsman was five years old, her parents discovered that the family’s nanny, who’d come with stellar references, was actually one of London’s biggest drug dealers. They had no idea about her side hustle — right up to the point when she used the family Volvo as the getaway car in a bank robbery.

Though Botsman was too young to fully underst a nd what was happening, “that experience of betrayal and deception had a massive impact on my view of the world,” she says. “How could my parents have trusted a criminal to look after me? How were they conned? How did they get it so wrong?”

Today, Botsman is a lecturer on trust and skepticism at Oxford University and author of the book Who Can You Trust? Perhaps surprisingly — considering she encountered her first major example of deception before kindergarten — Botsman’s answer to the question in her book title is an optimistic one: Trust, she explains, is innate, and a vital part of our day-to-day existence.

“Trust is an elusive concept, and yet we depend on it for our lives to function,” she noted at the start of her 2016 TED Talk. “I trust my children when they say they’re going to turn the lights out at night. I trusted the pilot who flew me here to keep me safe. It’s a word we use a lot, without always thinking about what it really means and how it works in different contexts of our lives.”

But while trust may be a necessary part of life, we’re not always great at knowing how and when to use it — as anyone who’s ever been swindled, cheated, or let down can attest, it’s easy to mistake confidence for competence. (In fact, that’s the root of the term “con,” which entered the vernacular as shorthand for “confidence.”) Untrustworthy people use pure swagger to lure us into believing they can safely handle our money or personal information; they adopt a tone of certainty that convinces us that whatever they’re putting forth is true.

“We often don’t recognize that things that seem too good to be true are, in fact, too good to be true.”

The shortcut to determining whether or not to trust someone, Botsman says, involves making a quick assessment of four traits:

1. Competence: Do they have the skills, knowledge, time, and resources to do a particular task or job? Are they honest about what they can and can’t do?

2. Reliability: Can you depend on them to keep the promises and commitments they make? Are they consistent in the way they behave from one day to the next?

3. Empathy: Do they care about your interests as well as their own? Do they think about how their decisions and actions affect others?

4. Integrity: Do they say what they mean and mean what they say? Do their words align with their actions? Are they honest about their intentions and motives toward others?

The best con artists are tough to identify, Botsman says, because they know how to manipulate the signals that activate our innate sense of trust. Often, they’ve done enough research to gain an intimate understanding of their mark’s vulnerabilities. They may even give you an immediate feeling of familiarity.

“Con artists like Bernie Madoff, Elizabeth Holmes — and my drug-dealing nanny — feed off the trust of others and our self-delusion or propensity for optimism,” Botsman says. “We often don’t recognize that things that seem too good to be true are, in fact, too good to be true.”

Unlike trust, skepticism is a learned behavior — which means you can improve with practice. It may not be your first instinct to mentally measure someone seemingly well-intentioned against a set of questions like the ones Botsman described. But do it enough and eventually it will become second nature to think critically about what you’re hearing.

That also applies beyond face-to-face interactions. To be a more critical consumer of information, it helps to think like a scientist, says neuroscientist Paul Zak, author of The Moral Molecule: How Trust Works. That means adopting the scientific method — formulating a hypothesis, then testing it — in everyday life. A piece of new information is a theory; it’s only after you feel you’ve vetted it appropriately and ruled out the alternatives that you can absorb it as fact.

“A lot of science has a ‘therefore’ problem,” Zak says. “You read a study, and it says, ‘Therefore, these guys concluded X.’ But why can’t [the conclusion] be Y or Z?” It’s easy to fall into the trap of blindly trusting information backed up by “experts” or people who hold certain degrees or have certain areas of expertise. But there are plenty of times when preliminary findings become lodged in the zeitgeist as fact, even when they’re not. A 2017 paper by researchers at the University of Bordeaux tracked the media coverage of more than 150 studies and found that publications are far more likely to cover initial findings — especially those with positive results — and almost never cover subsequent research, even when it contradicts or nullifies the earlier information.

So, while expertise and education can certainly lend someone more credibility, it helps to remember that neither negates the fact that humans are fallible and have their own motivations. A scientist, for example, may understand things you don’t, but that doesn’t mean you’re required to trust their findings.

Still, fallible though they might be, other humans can be a valuable resource when you’re trying to figure out whether or not to trust someone or something new. Botsman points to the power of review apps and websites specifically: “There’s a lot of discussion about how technology has made us more vulnerable to scams, con artists, and fake information,” she says. “But it also has a huge amount of promise to help us make more informed decisions.”

Platforms like UrbanSitter, for instance, use your existing network to connect you with childcare professionals who’ve been vetted by people you actually know. Angie’s List performs background checks on home service providers, and sites like Consumer Reports and Wirecutter independently test and review products to tell you what works and what doesn’t. Offline, you can apply a similar principle, leaning on people or institutions you already trust to help guide you through the process of deciding who else deserves it.

And in situations where you don’t have that context available, it’s especially important to remember one more element of Zak’s “think like a scientist” mantra: You have to be willing to be wrong. Once you’ve decided to take a leap and trust someone, it’s easy to fall victim to confirmation bias, twisting facts to fit the narrative that you’ve made the right choice. Instead, constantly reevaluate and question until your hypothesis proves itself — or doesn’t. Some amount of blind trust will always be necessary just to get through the day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind.

“Skepticism is a great tool to help us get the information to make smarter trust decisions,” Botsman says. “It can make us question the integrity of a person, company, or thing. Is this person really who they say they are? Is this product or service really what it claims to be? Do they really have my interests at heart? Sometimes, a lack of trust is not the issue; it’s giving our trust away too easily to the wrong people.”

Being naive in some aspects preserves a kind of idealistic view the world has seemed to have lost. On the other hand some being see being naive as a weak art form that makes you vulnerable. Whatever you think being naive may or may not be a bad thing.

A little naivety does go far but too much gets you nowhere. With the right balance of realism, experience, and naivety you will be a successful and insightful person.

Created by: LOSTinTIME

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How to be less naive

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How to be less naive

While being naive may save you a lot of trouble in certain situations, it sometimes may also leave you feeling like a fool. If you are tired of being the butt of all jokes and no longer wish others to treat you like a rug, here are a few ways to help you stop being naive.

1. Do not let others define you

Are you completely relying on what others think about you? Just because someone says you are naive, does not make you one. Change yourself only when You think it is the right thing to do.

2. Be open-minded

When you hear someone talk about something that you are not aware or sure of, do not reject the idea immediately. Be open to new ideas and things.

3. Trust your instincts

Whenever you are in a situation, you may get that little voice in your head telling you that things are not entirely right or that something somewhere is not good. Take notice of that voice and do not ignore it. Have faith in your gut feeling.

4. Develop a reading habit

Reading the newspaper or good literature can help you a lot in keeping abreast with what is happening around you. You could also browse through some sites online that may help you in building your general knowledge.

5. Do not be afraid to ask questions

There is no shame in asking the right questions. Whenever you are in the company of someone who knows more about something than you, do not shy away from learning new things. Be like a sponge and keep soaking in as much knowledge as you can.

6. Observe keenly

Whenever you are out or even when you are at home, keep your eyes and ears open. Observe how people behave in situations and learn to be street smart. Do not let others take you for a run.

7. Read between the lines

People may not always say what they actually mean and likewise may not always mean what they say. At times they might be making sarcastic remarks at you. Do not take everything at face value and train yourself to read between the lines.

Being naive in some aspects preserves a kind of idealistic view the world has seemed to have lost. On the other hand some being see being naive as a weak art form that makes you vulnerable. Whatever you think being naive may or may not be a bad thing.

A little naivety does go far but too much gets you nowhere. With the right balance of realism, experience, and naivety you will be a successful and insightful person.

Created by: LOSTinTIME

Remember to rate this quiz on the next page!
Rating helps us to know which quizzes are good and which are bad.

Related Quizzes:

  • Are you being catfished? by JC Ndoci
  • What Color Are You? by LunykStormdragon
  • How much of a Conspiracy Quack Are You by Imposter
  • Which Greek deity are you? by Michele
  • What coloured paper are you? by Rochelle

What is GotoQuiz? A better kind of quiz site: no pop-ups, no registration requirements, just high-quality quizzes that you can create and share on your social network. Have a look around and see what we’re about.

Quiz topic: How Naive am I?

Trending Quizzes

  • Which Sally Face Character are you?
  • Which Christian denomination do you belong to?
  • How NW2 are you?
  • Are you a baby quiz

Special Feature

A GoToQuiz original that answers the question, “when will I die?” Uses real statistical data.

Give Feedback

If you notice any glitches or visual bugs while browsing GoToQuiz, please report them! Your feedback is helpful!

How to be less naive

While being naive may save you a lot of trouble in certain situations, it sometimes may also leave you feeling like a fool. If you are tired of being the butt of all jokes and no longer wish others to treat you like a rug, here are a few ways to help you stop being naive.

1. Do not let others define you

Are you completely relying on what others think about you? Just because someone says you are naive, does not make you one. Change yourself only when You think it is the right thing to do.

2. Be open-minded

When you hear someone talk about something that you are not aware or sure of, do not reject the idea immediately. Be open to new ideas and things.

3. Trust your instincts

Whenever you are in a situation, you may get that little voice in your head telling you that things are not entirely right or that something somewhere is not good. Take notice of that voice and do not ignore it. Have faith in your gut feeling.

4. Develop a reading habit

Reading the newspaper or good literature can help you a lot in keeping abreast with what is happening around you. You could also browse through some sites online that may help you in building your general knowledge.

5. Do not be afraid to ask questions

There is no shame in asking the right questions. Whenever you are in the company of someone who knows more about something than you, do not shy away from learning new things. Be like a sponge and keep soaking in as much knowledge as you can.

6. Observe keenly

Whenever you are out or even when you are at home, keep your eyes and ears open. Observe how people behave in situations and learn to be street smart. Do not let others take you for a run.

7. Read between the lines

People may not always say what they actually mean and likewise may not always mean what they say. At times they might be making sarcastic remarks at you. Do not take everything at face value and train yourself to read between the lines.

If you’re happy and you know it, express it with care.

New research finds people who seem very happy are perceived to be more naïve and gullible than their less-blissful counterparts. Overly cheerful individuals are also more likely to be exploited, receive bad advice and get taken advantage of.

Those may be counter-intuitive findings in an era when bookstores are bulging with guides on how to find and project happiness. But there are downsides to happiness that people haven’t carefully thought about, said Maurice Schweitzer, a co-author of the study and professor of operations, information and decisions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I think we’ve gotten a little carried away with the idea that we’re supposed to express happiness,” Schweitzer told TODAY. “What happens when people are too happy and what signals do we send with that?”

The signals may be that, in order to stay so joyful, very happy individuals are sheltering themselves from all the bad stuff happening in the world and they don’t think about things very deeply, which convinces people around them that they are naïve, according to the research.

Moderate happiness is expected and normal in North American cultures, Schweitzer noted. It’s those very high levels of expressed happiness that can trigger opportunistic behavior in others. That can be particularly dangerous in a work or business setting: Very giddy workers may seem unprepared to handle customer complaints, while managers may be seen “as easily persuaded, unknowledgeable, exploitable, or broadly ineffective,” the study notes.

other words for naive

How to be less naive

antonyms of naive

  • aware
  • experienced
  • intelligent
  • knowledgeable
  • sophisticated
  • leery
  • skeptical
  • wise

USE naive IN A SENTENCE

See how your sentence looks with different synonyms.

QUIZZES

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EXAMPLE SENTENCES FROM THE WEB

WORDS RELATED TO NAIVE

artless

  • direct
  • genuine
  • guileless
  • honest
  • ingenuous
  • innocent
  • naive
  • natural
  • open
  • plain
  • pure
  • sincere
  • straight
  • straightforward
  • talking turkey
  • true
  • unadorned
  • unaffected
  • uncontrived
  • unpretentious
  • unsophisticated
  • up front

callow

  • crude
  • green
  • guileless
  • inexperienced
  • infant
  • jejune
  • jellybean
  • juvenile
  • kid
  • low tech
  • naive
  • not dry behind ears
  • puerile
  • raw
  • sophomore
  • tenderfoot
  • unbaked
  • unfledged
  • unripe
  • unsophisticated
  • untrained
  • untried
  • young

careless

  • casual
  • modest
  • naive
  • natural
  • nonchalant
  • simple
  • unstudied

childish

  • adolescent
  • baby
  • babyish
  • callow
  • childlike
  • foolish
  • frivolous
  • green
  • infantile
  • infantine
  • innocent
  • jejune
  • juvenile
  • kid stuff
  • naive
  • puerile
  • unsophisticated
  • young
  • youthful

dewy-eyed

  • dovelike
  • green
  • inexperienced
  • naive
  • pure
  • sinless
  • uncorrupted
  • undefiled
  • unworldly
  • wide-eyed

dupable

  • exploitable
  • foolish
  • gullible
  • naive
  • simple
  • susceptible
  • unsuspecting

WORD OF THE DAY

bricolage noun | [bree-k uh – lahzh , brik- uh – ] SEE DEFINITION

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