In the book Red Flags by Wendy Patrick, she created an easy -to-remember mnemonic called FLAG. It is useful for enhancing our tools of perception so we can pay attention to the people around us, and hopefully, weed out the nasties.

Focus: What captures the person’s attention? Do they focus on themselves or others?

Lifestyle: How does the person spend their time? What are their hobbies and interests?

Associations: What sort of company do they keep? Do they have a close friend that they have known for years? To what organizations do they belong?

Goals: What are their priorities? Are their ambitions selfish or selfless?

These four areas can provide a glimpse below the surface, in order to shed light on the motivation behind the moves.

And, as always, pay attention to what people do, not what they say. Words are cheap.