This is about romantic relationships, but I think it applies everywhere.
I read (too often... SUCH a time suck) the forums at www.etiquettehell.com. During a recent discussion about how to handle someone that you see as a friend but know has a crush on you, one of the posters said that her philosophy for relationships is:
Watch what the person says. Watch how s/he acts. Believe the most negative one.
I think this is probably a fabulous way to keep from getting wildly hurt during dating relationships, but I do think it also makes sense for other relationships.
I, of course, think about getting a literary agent. If agent X says she adores me and my writing but never returns my calls... what does the most negative interpretation say?
On the other hand, if agent Y is somewhat less effusive with her praise but is hugely responsive to me and puts tons of time into finding my books the perfect publisher, the interpretation is somewhat different.
I am going to keep this in mind from now on. Compare actions and words, and believe the most negative one. Makes a lot of sense!