How To Stop Being Naive: 11 Highly Effective Tips

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Naivety isn’t a fixed concept. What might seem like naivety to some people, might seem like kind-heartedness to others, or optimism, good faith, and innocence, amongst other things.

But maybe you feel like you tend to be naive in life and worry that it causes problems for you.

You don’t want to become mistrustful or pessimistic, but you can’t carry on the way you are, as it’s doing you damage.

Perhaps you are naive in terms of relationships, always blindly believing that things will work out and falling in love at the drop of the hat.

Maybe you’re bad at reading other people and always think the very best of them whatever happens.

Perhaps you tend to think that things in life are all sunshine and rainbows, when the world, unfortunately, doesn’t quite work like that.

Maybe you’ve even been the victim of scams in the past. 

Whatever it is, your naivety has caused you problems and you want to become a bit savvier and wiser to the ways of the world, without losing that wonderful optimism and innocence you have now.

Here are a few tips to help you say goodbye to being gullible and get a bit more clued up, without becoming disillusioned.  

1. Think before you speak or act.

If you think you’re naive, your problem may be down to the fact that you don’t stop and think before you speak or act.

You say the first thing that comes into your head or go with your knee-jerk reaction without taking a moment to properly consider the situation.

So, the first thing you need to do is consciously slow things down and take the time to think before you say or do anything at all.

It’s easier said than done, so maybe just start with one day.

One day on which you make a point of taking a moment to reflect and look at the issue from another point of view before you react in any situation.

Then one week. If you keep forcing yourself to take that time out and think first, then sooner or later it’ll become your default reaction.

2. Don’t be afraid of sitting on the fence.

The fence is underrated.

In our modern world, you’re often expected to pick a side from the word go, and if you sit on the fence you’re seen as weak or indecisive.

But the fence is actually a great place to be.

It’s somewhere from which you can assess both sides and take the time to develop an informed point of view, rather than naively taking a side and regretting it later.

Take your time to make a decision, and if you want to stay on the fence forever, that’s fine too.

3. Be over-cautious.

If you tend to be naive, then to fix that you’ll need to deliberately behave in what feels like an over-cautious manner to you.

What is over-cautious to you is probably the way a lot of people always approach the world in general.

This is something you’re going to have to do consciously for a while, but soon a normal level of caution will come more naturally to you. 

4. Be more present.

Naivety can often be a result of having your head in the clouds and not really paying attention to what’s going on in the here and now.

So, make a point of trying to be more present in your day-to-day life.

Rather than letting yourself be swept away by your thoughts, concentrate on what’s going on around you and what people are saying to you.

You’ll notice a lot of wonderful things you’d otherwise miss, but you’ll also be less likely to be taken in.

5. Listen attentively.

Being a good listener is a wonderful trait to develop in general, but it can also be a great way to learn more about a new person without giving away too much about yourself.

Ask them questions and show genuine interest in them, rather than being keen to share details about your life straight away.

6. Do the research.

Well-informed, aware people can, of course, still be naive. But their knowledge of the world makes it less likely for them to take things at face value.

So, make it a point to educate yourself about things you don’t understand.

If you’re naive about financial issues, read up on things you need to know about, or even consider taking a course.

If you’ve been scammed or have had a close call, then always make a point of confirming things directly with the company or institution (if you’ve had an email from your bank that you’re suspicious of, for example) before acting.

If your problem is being naive in relationships, look into the psychology behind why people act a certain way.

Whenever you’re not sure about something, go away and look it up before you make a decision.

Life is one long lesson, and the more you learn, the more realistic and practical you’ll become.

7. Continue to be trusting of other people.

Whatever you do, don’t start beating yourself up for having a trusting nature. Being trusting is a beautiful thing.

Being less naive isn’t about mistrusting people. It’s about not making snap decisions. It’s about properly thinking things through and reading between the lines of situations.

That doesn’t mean you can’t trust people around you and continue to look for the good in them.

Assuming someone is trustworthy until they prove otherwise should always be your default reaction, and that doesn’t mean you’re naive.

Sure, there are a lot of people in the world with bad in them, but the vast majority of human beings are essentially good.

8. But learn to recognize when someone’s being dishonest.

If you often get taken in by liars, learn to detect the most common signs you’re being lied to.

Someone who’s lying to you might struggle to hold eye contact, fidget, or frequently clear their throat.

That could mean they’re just nervous, and a practiced liar might not do any of these things, but it’s still good to be aware of these signs.

9. Listen to your gut.

Even if you do tend to be naive, gullible, or innocent, there’s probably often a feeling deep down telling you something’s not quite right.

Rather than just pushing that to one side, take a moment to check in with that feeling and think about where it might be coming from.

Don’t be afraid to let yourself be guided by your gut instinct now and again. It might not always be right, but it’s there for a reason.

10. Be open to meeting new people.

Your naivety might be down to the fact you’ve led quite a sheltered life surrounded by lots of people who think in exactly the same way you do.

If that’s the case with you, then you need to be open to making friends with people who come from different backgrounds or cultures.

If you don’t live in a very diverse community this can be harder, but the internet can be a great way to mix with people who are different to you.

And if you do live in a multicultural place with people from all kinds of socioeconomic backgrounds and with different beliefs, then make the most of it and be open to making friends with those who don’t look, speak, or think like you.

11. Get out there and experience life.

Naivety is often a trait of people who’re lacking in life experience. If you don’t experience the world first-hand, then it’s inevitable that you’ll be a little bit gullible or innocent.

People normally become less innocent with age, but you can give yourself a helping hand by just saying yes to life.

Try out new things, volunteer to help those less fortunate than yourself, and learn about new cultures.

Inform yourself about history and the realities and injustices of the society you live in, look at things from other people’s point of view and just embrace everything about life – the good and the bad.

Does your naivety show in your relationships? Not sure how to stop being naive? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.

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About Author

Katie is a writer and translator with a focus on travel, self-care and sustainability. She's based between a cave house in Granada, Spain, and the coast of beautiful Cornwall, England. She spends her free time hiking, exploring, eating vegan tapas and volunteering for a local dog shelter.