Keith Ablow gets it right in his book Living the Truth …
Love everyone, but trust those connected to truth. While everyone is worthy of your concern and empathy…only those who have recognized the source of their suffering, examined it, and grown from it are trustworthy. This is because putting down one’s shields, looking in the mirror, and facing the early complicated chapters of one’s life story is the only way to feel pain and grow beyond it.
People who continue to deny their suffering, insisting all is well with them and always has been, can draw you into highly charged, unresolved dramas recycled from their past. And those unresolved dramas can contaminate any story you try to write with them.
How do you recognize those who are trustworthy? Look at how much they rely on shield strategies to get through life. Do they drink excessively, ceaselessly pursue fame or riches, use drugs to get through life, gamble, take inordinate risks, change the topic constantly to avoid addressing anything emotional? [I would add to this list: Do they rely on excessive religiosity, and spiritualize every situation?] Do they say everything’s ‘great’ for them now, that they have the ‘ideal marriage’ or ‘perfect children’ or ‘wouldn’t change a thing’? Remember, people carrying lots of shields can’t embrace you. They can’t really love you. They’re too busy running from the truth.
[Quotation taken from Mark Brouwer’s blog at markbrouwer.com]
Being open and vulnerable with people involves taking risks. Your honesty may be threatening to them, because it exposes their charade. But having a few authentic relationships is worth the risks!