Safe People

Do you know someone (maybe it’s your own child) who is lousy at picking the right person to date or marry?  I don’t know what it is, but it’s like their picker is broken. Inevitably they are drawn to the reckless, troubled or the deceitfully charming. It’s almost like they need a selection committee to screen possible candidates…which actually isn’t a bad idea.

If your teen or young adult son or daughter is perpetually drawn to the wrong type of person, have them check out the book, Safe People, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. It will help them identify healthy people and steer clear of the ones who aren’t.

For a list of unsafe and safe character traits, check out the handy dandy reference at the end of this post.  For certain individuals, it might be a good idea to make several copies and post it on the fridge, car dashboard, bathroom mirror, and refer to it every time they think to themselves, “That guy (or girl) seems nice.”;)


1. Think they have it all together instead of admitting their weaknesses.

2. Are defensive instead of open to feedback.

3. Are self-righteous instead of humble.

4. Only apologize instead of changing their behavior.

5. Avoid working on their problems instead of dealing with them.

6. Demand trust, instead of earning it.

7. Belive they are perfect instead of admitting their faults.

8. Blame others instead of taking responsibility.

9. Will lie instead of being honest.

10. Are stagnant instead of growing.

11. Avoid closeness instead of connecting.

12. Are only concerned about “I” instead of “we” (not relationship centered)

13. Resist freedom instead of encouraging it.

14. Condemn us instead of forgiving us.

15. Stay in parent/child roles instead of relating as equals.

16. Are unstable over time instead of being consistent.

17. Are a negative influence on us, rather than a positive one.

18. Gossip instead of keeping our confidences.


1. Value love – connection – have the ability to trust.

2. Value responsibility (take responsibility for themselves and value that in others) Neither overly dependent on others nor codependent – feeling responsible for others

3. Value honesty – ability to be known – transparent – who they really are.

4. Working on their own issues

5. Respond to truth

6. Have a good track record (may fail, but learn from failure and move on, are in progress of making a good track record even if this is a new beginning for them)

7. Can be observed and tested – see them in interactions with other people (test them with a small part of yourself, share a part of your heart and see what happens)

8. Bear good fruit in your life by being with them (encourage you to grow individually and in your connection with other people)