How to be less naive

My friends keep thinking that I am childish and innocent and according to my friends, I am also very gullible and cannot lie at all. On the other hand, my mother thinks that I am naive. The only person that thinks I am not is my father but my relatives, siblings and mother tell me not to take him seriously because he is just like me, very childish. Is it due to genes and I inherit it from my father or can I change it? If there is any way to change to become less trusting , please share with me.

4 Answers

How to Be Less Naive

Stop being an idealist and become a realist – but I don’t recommend it.

The only problem with being naive, childish and innocent is that life is full of brutality, ignorance, violence, betrayal, grief, filth, treachery and loss. So when these things come to pass, the naive and innocent are in danger of being psychologically traumatized or permanently injured – sometimes beyond repair. They fill the rooms of insane asylums.

On the other hand, being cynical, worldly, narcissistic, cunning, and street wise is no picnic either. While the naive and innocent may get ripped off once in a while, they remain innocent in God’s eyes; while the ones doing the evil are not innocent and will pay, sooner or later. They fill the jail and prison cells and institutions for the criminally insane.

You should strive to be aware of who your enemies are and what they are capable of.

How to Be Less Naive

First, are you naive, childish and innocent. So far you seem to care about what others think but I cannot see where you are any of these. Next I would ask who is happier you and your dad or the people telling you that you are naive, childish and innocent? If they are then you might have a problem but if you and your dad are then who cares. A bit of cynicism is good but many swing the other way and are too pessimistic then they end up with depression.

Now if you are childish because you do not do your work and it affects other in a negative then I would say to get a job and pay bills

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Individuals who struggle socially are sometimes so inexperienced with other people and the world that they come off as really naive and innocent. This doesn’t apply to everyone who’s socially awkward, but some people who fit that description have spent so much time on their own that they don’t know things that most of us take for granted. This is particularly likely to happen with people who are high school or university aged, where there can be big gaps in life experience between one student and another.

The whole point of this article is a bit subjective. 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 someone can find a nice middle ground. Most people have at least a small amount of edge to them, so if a person comes across as extremely guileless and wholesome they may be unnecessarily handicapped in their 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 towards 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 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.

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. The idea isn’t to become some broken, jaded person 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, say, smoking weed and think everyone who does it is a horrible person. 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 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 crazy, rebellious act. It may broaden their horizons to give something like that a try. It’s really just another way to learn about the world.

People often tell me that I’m naive and that I’m a Pollyanna.

How can I be less naive and gain more “street smarts?” What do you suggest that I read, do, and watch?

What are some things that you think young people today (like me) are greatly naive about? What are some things that they’re often deceived about?

Finally, how did you become more adept and learned about the ways of the world? What are some truths that you wish someone had told you earlier on in your life?

Feel free to send me a PM if you’re more comfortable doing that.

Replies to: How Can I Be Less Naive?

Trust, but verify. Research before doing/buying/donating. Just because someone tells you a sob story, or sends you an email purporting to give you something for free or inform you of some nefarious fact about someone, doesn’t mean it’s true (see for many examples).

There is no such thing as a free lunch (unless your parents are buying .) Always read the fine print. And when in doubt, ask someone wiser than you.

Yes, most people are good at heart. But you need to protect yourself from the bad ones. Much of this comes, as mathmom says, from experience.

I don’t think it’s ALL young people. But being naive and being a Pollyanna are two different things and require two different approaches. Go ahead and expect the best of people. But not to the point of being taken advantage of or getting hurt-physically or emotionally. An example for a college kid-have a great time at that dorm party, but never set your glass down because some idiot just might spike it with a drug. Expect that it WON’T happen, but realize that it CAN.

As for being naive-it’s not about street smarts so much as realizing that everyone doesn’t have the same history or options. Recognize that some kids have never had a parent rooting for them or aimed them at college. That some kids don’t even HAVE parents. That not all kids have the time or finances to get involved in 10 EC’s, that some have had to work to support their family. Someone like that might not be amused when a blithe naive classmate acts shocked that they NEVER took a trip to Europe or went to an academic summer camp.

Read the news-real news, not opinionated blogs, and realize that there IS bad stuff going on all over the place, but that there are some amazingly good people in the world. Look out beyond your little corner of the world and see what’s going on elsewhere. Don’t stay in your own neighborhood. Go to festivals and fairs in other areas with different dominant ethnicities. Eat at ethnic restaurants. Take a class in another art form or language or cooking method. Volunteer somewhere you wouldn’t normally go and help people you’d normally avoid.

All of these things are readily available to kids from larger cities, not so easy in small, whitebread towns, but with some effort you can probably find some way to broaden your worldview. Good luck!

At 24 years old, I was told by my parents that my relatives who has talked to me thinks that I’m too naive and simple-minded. That I behave like a 15 year old school boy rather than an adult.

They also added that I’m unaware of things an adult should be (e.g. how bank loan works) and also not being street-wise (alert). They said that this is a consequence of me not making an effort to be inquisitive.

What can I do to improve and perhaps change this side of me?

Well no-one gets to tell you how to live your life when your an adult. You make your own choices.

You don’t need to ‘become less naive’, you just need to make some decisions for yourself. ask yourself; What do I do for work? What do I do in my spare time? Who are my friends? How do I manage my finances?

Are you happy with those choices you are making? If so fuck what other people say. If not then make some different decisions asap

Being inquisitive is a good thing. If you are living on the streets being street wise can be helpful but then know how a bank loan works wouldn’t be important because people who live on the streets don’t usually get bank loans. Banks like to be repaid, I don’t know why,😉 and it’s my understanding that people who live on the streets don’t have a reputation of being a good credit risk. So I’ve heard. I recommend borrowing $ for your parents when every possible. If you have to borrow from a bank it would be good to know how bank loans work. Curiosity could lead you to university in which case knowledge about loans would become important. You could become curious as to why these people want you to borrow money and live on the streets. University is about learning in one specific area for everything else their is Google.