Vetting Character Is Challenging But Necessary

Finding a Good Partner

Vetting character is, and has always been, a challenging enterprise. But it’s essential for forging wholesome intimate relationships. Unfortunately, our narcissistic, character-impaired age has made the process more daunting than ever. Among other reasons, it’s simply too easy to be deceived about a person’s true character.

When significant disturbances of character weren’t commonplace it was somewhat easier to spot a “bad apple” in the crowd. But times have changed. And behavior and attitudes was once thought unthinkable have become the new norm. So, sometimes, even though we might notice something that troubles us about someone, we’re more prone give it a pass. If we witness a behavior that’s clearly outrageous, we might become deeply unnerved. But then again we might accept excuses. Over time, we can even become desensitized. That’s how even new levels of outrageousness eventually become normalized.

Friends and family members have often helped vetting character not only of potential lifetime partners but also of potential business partners, friends, and other associates. And there was a time when you were pretty safe trusting their advice, too. Important values were once more universally recognized, valued, and expected.

Impression Managers Confound the Issue

Vetting character is hardest when someone is good at hiding who they really are. Let’s face it, some folks are adept at what some call positive impression management. They know just what to say and do to be seen and regarded favorably. But just having the skills to read others well and to come across in an appealing way well doesn’t make someone a good person. Being a person of character – the kind of person most of us have it within us to be – takes work. And not just any kind of work! It takes relentless dedication – embracing and remaining true to crucial values that allows for developing and maintaining wholesome, loving relationships. And to have such committment is a matter of the heart.

Sadly, however, in our times, discerning whether a person has that kind of heart is harder than ever. And the whole point of managing impressions is to conceal the dark aspects of one’s heart. Accordingly, properly vetting character requires special knowledge and skills.

Now, don’t get me wrong. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. But folks with the right heart – folks committed to character – admit their mistakes, willingly pay for their missteps, make amends, and re-commit themselves to doing and being better. That’s just how their conscience works. And a sound conscience always accompanies sound character. (For more on the importance of these matters, please also read the several articles on regret, remorse, and contrition. Access the YouTube video podcast on the topic, too. And if you have a mind to, please spread the word about Essentials for the Journey.)



One thought on “Vetting Character Is Challenging But Necessary

  1. This is an important part of family and community is the vetting process of a new family member.
    I had the pleasure of finding out exactly who was lying to me and who hated me in the family for real!
    I use to think it was the brother in law or sister in law or daughter in law to be. The real truth is though that if they’re hating on you or lying to you it just might be, maybe not always, but just might be that it’s really sibling animosity or your own child with the lies and slander behind your back.
    In 2014 I discovered what I knew all along but tried to dismiss, that my own sister of 50 yrs was filled with envy and hatred towards me. I use to think she was jealous of my lifestyle or lot in life as ours was reversed once we left home.
    She was coddled by my mother and provided for, I was left to babysit and provide my own clothes, shoes, books, etc.
    Now life was reversed, I worked 2 jobs raised my kids and we have a decent life. Hers was a guy who never worked, kept having kids they couldn’t afford and lived in motels.
    I actually came to figure out it’s not just the things, that’s a truth, but it’s the character of hard work and earning it she really despises.
    One of their (her and her husbands) complaints was: others are privledged, or don’t have to work very hard and get, get, get what they themselves deserve just as much!
    I have gone no contact with her since 2015.
    She remarried a criminal after her husband died. I tried to tell her his lying was very problematic in the beginning so I looked him up with a simple google search. He was lying about work, his rap sheet went back over 20 yrs, which included squatting in a mansion, stealing utilities (he was on all the major news channels) and for prostituting 2 minors!!!
    She didn’t want to hear that from me and so I could not maintain a relationship with her. I hate to say this but he just died this past Saturday and I know her past 10 years with him had to be rough, but I tried to tell her and when her last husband died we were the only family who showed up as usual for her.
    This time we will not.
    Life is sad when people don’t want to have good character especially when it comes to family.

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