How to Be Reliable: 15 Maxims on Becoming a Reliable Man

This article is about what it takes to be a reliable man. It will teach you how to become more dependable and better in every way possible.

The “reliability as a personal value” is something that we should all strive to achieve. There are 15 maxims on becoming reliable, and they are all listed below.

This essay series is now available as a professionally designed, distraction-free paperback or ebook that you can read at your leisure while offline.

Note from the editor: This story was first published on August 26, 2012. It’s been modified since then. 

As we approach the final week of our “Heading Out on Your Own” series, I’d like to take a break from our “harder,” more practical skills to discuss a character trait that, like self-reliance, is both an important building block in your life’s foundation and, unfortunately, one that is all too often lacking among young men.

Being a dependable person.

The term dependable comes from the Old French word relier, which means “to fasten” or “to attach.” The reliable guy was an immovable pillar of strength on whom you could rely and depend, a man you could trust.

Consider the flake, which is the polar opposite of that picture. Floating, floating, and delicate. As soon as it comes into contact with any resistance, it melts.

We’ve all known trustworthy individuals as well as jerks. The former we appreciate, while the latter we shun. Continue reading to learn how to become the sort of guy you’ve always trusted and relied on.

Why is it important to be dependable?

Only recently, a major public figure was chastised in the press for lacking the necessary character to uphold his pledges. He lacked the endurance to make amends when doing so was tough. He lacked the strength, the moral fiber, to stand up and do what he felt was right and what he had pledged. There are a lot of jellyfish individuals in the world who don’t have the backbone to stand up straight and do the right thing. They are constantly in the limelight while they have good intentions, but when the time comes to pay the price, they choose the path of least resistance, doing whatever requires the least work or money, regardless of the long-term implications. They believe they can be just as shady when it comes to breaking commitments as they were while making them. But, sooner or later, destiny forces us to either play fairly or leave the game. Making Life a Masterpiece, by Orison Swett Marden, 1916

1. The dependable guy builds stronger bonds with his partners. Trust is the foundation of all relationships; without it, they would wither and perish. Being dependable fosters trust since your friends and family know they can rely on you to keep your word, show up when you say you’ll show up, and do what you say you’ll do. They may also be certain that no matter what occurs, you will remain the same guy. That you won’t be fickle with your adoration, lavishing it on them one day and then retreating into prickly distance the next. That you won’t be patient with their quirks at times and enraged at the smallest provocation at other times. Your loved ones will begin to withdraw from you if you do not maintain this consistent consistency in your mood and conduct. They will feel as if they must walk on eggshells in your company.


2. The dependable guy is given more possibilities. People will offer you more demanding jobs and duties if they perceive that you can be trusted, which will help you to develop, learn, and become a leader. A manager promotes the dependable employee to higher positions; a professor provides the dependable student research chances; and the team chooses the dependable guy as its captain.

The flakier a guy is, the lower people’s expectations of him grow, and this quickly becomes a self-perpetuating loop, destined to keep him a follower, a minor player in every field in which he engages half-heartedly.

3. More freedom is granted to the dependable guy. The untrustworthy young guy is kept on a tight leash and must be constantly monitored. His employer needs to keep an eye on him to make sure he’s performing his job and hasn’t made any more errors. His parents call him after he’s gone to remind him to take care of his vehicle, thank his grandmother for the birthday money, and schedule a dental visit.

The dependable young guy has much less monitoring and is allowed far more control over his time. His employer, his parents, and everyone else understands that if he’s just given a rudimentary description of what needs to be done, he’ll figure out a way to accomplish it – and do it well – in his own unique manner.

4. The dependable guy has a reputation for honesty. The origins of terms like “integrate” and “entire” are connected to the word integrity. It’s spelled “integro” in Spanish, which means “complete.” Integrity denotes the condition of being whole, undivided, intact, and undamaged. This is in contrast to a condition that is dispersed, fractured, and unfinished. Others don’t question what piece of a guy they’ll receive that day, or which part they’ll be dealing with the next, because he has a reputation for honesty. They know he’s a rock of stability they can depend on.

5. The dependable guy is self-assured and has a clean conscience. The trustworthy guy is free of the regrets that plague less dependable persons because he always does his job, keeps his promises, and fulfills his duties. Not only can others rely on the trustworthy guy, but he also knows he can rely on himself. This instills in him the strength and self-assurance he needs to embark on larger challenges and experiences.

6. The dependable guy lives a simpler existence. You may experience a form of simplicity that goes well beyond clearing your closet when you’re the same guy every day in every setting, when you don’t have to make up reasons for breaking your commitments, when you don’t have to live with the remorse of letting people down.

15 Rules for Being a Trustworthy Man

Vintage man standing on large anvil rock alaska.

Finally, disobedience of commitments grows like a fungus throughout the character, perverting moral conceptions to the point where the individual believes he is doing no wrong, even while breaking faith with his closest friends. –From William Makepeace Thayer’s 1893 book, Ethics of Success


1. Follow through on your commitments. Being a man of your word is the foundation of trustworthiness. If you commit to do something and accomplish it in a certain period of time, you better be willing to move heaven and earth to keep your word. Because of the “Yes…damn” effect, it’s frequently easier said than done: when looking forward to when a promise must be fulfilled, we forecast we’ll have more time in our schedule and say yes….but when the day of reckoning finally comes, you’re just as busy as you were before.

Even if you don’t feel like doing anything, even if more appealing possibilities present themselves, you must keep your promise. Which is why, by not overextending yourself, you should make such unwillingly completed obligations relatively infrequent, which takes us to our next point.

Never pretend to be anything other than who you are—richer or smarter. Never be afraid to admit, “I don’t know.” When you declare, “I know,” men will believe you.

Never be afraid to declare, ‘I can’t afford that,’ whether it’s in terms of time or money. —’I can’t afford to squander an hour in the idleness you invite me to—I can’t afford to toss away the guinea you ask me to.’

Learn to speak ‘No’ decisively and ‘Yes’ cautiously; ‘No’ decisively when resisting a temptation, ‘Yes’ cautiously when implying a commitment. Once made, a promise is an unbreakable relationship.

When we know we can confidently depend on a guy, he is already significant in the world. I’ve seen many times in my life a person chosen from a long list of applicants for a high-ranking position, which immediately elevates him to prominence and fortune, simply because he has this reputation—that when he says he knows something, he knows it, and when he says he’ll do something, he does it. — Lord Bulwer Lytton, from the Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow’s Inaugural Address, 1856

2. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. The pledge of a trustworthy guy is very precious since it will be kept without fail. As a result, you’ll be asked to take on more responsibility and given more chances than the flake. Some of them will provide you with important opportunities for personal development, learning, and leadership. Some, on the other hand, may just overextend you, taking you farther away from your objectives and priorities rather than closer to them.

As a result, being dependable does not imply saying yes to everyone. When making commitments to others, the trustworthy guy must use extreme caution. The “yes…damn” effect is caused by two factors: 1) an excessively optimistic projection of our future workload, and 2) a desire to please others. To combat these factors, you should do the following:

  • Consider if you could do it the next day. If you think you won’t be able to do something tomorrow because you’re too busy, and you won’t alter your schedule to make place for it, you can guarantee you won’t feel any differently in a month, and you’ll regret making the commitment.
  • Doubling your estimate of how long it will take is a good rule of thumb. Part of our too optimistic future projection is expecting an event or action to take less time than it will. When deciding whether or not to commit to anything, double your first estimate of the amount of time it will take to ensure that it will really fit into your calendar. It’s preferable to overdeliver than to overpromise.
  • Allow yourself a day to consider it. It’s difficult to say no in the heat of the moment since you’ll feel obligated to gratify the requester. So just inform them that you need to review your calendar and will contact them the following day. Instead of responding on the spur of the moment and subsequently regretting it, you will have more time to think about it. If you reject, you generally have the option of making your “no” less personal by just sending them an email the next day.
  • Learn how to respectfully yet firmly say “no.” One of the most crucial abilities a young guy may have is the ability to communicate effectively. Don’t equivocate with “I’ll have to see” and “maybe” responses; be plain and precise. We frequently believe that declining others isn’t “nice,” yet it’s much more rude to commit to something and then back out at the last minute, or to arrive but just half-heartedly complete the promise.

3. Keep expectations in check. When making a commitment or accepting a job, be realistic about when and what you can provide. If you’re a salesperson or a freelancer, you obviously want to make your product or service seem appealing in order to attract consumers and clients. Inflated expectations, on the other hand, may lead to major disappointment, reducing your prospects of repeat business with existing clients and harming your reputation with prospective new ones.


4. Don’t leave others in the dark. If you make a promise that you can’t keep because of extremely grave and unanticipated circumstances, let the individual know as soon as feasible. Don’t wait until the last minute to notify them you won’t be able to attend. Instead of leaving the person you’re meeting wondering where you are if you’re running late, phone ahead to let them know.

Always make an effort to respond quickly to online communications. If you get a text or email, try to respond within 24-48 hours, even if it’s only to say, “I can’t give you an answer right now, but I’ll check into it and get back to you as soon as I can,” or “Got it.” I’ll get right to work!”

You are now a man, and I am certain that you will have to settle for a lower station in life unless you choose to perform well in anything you undertake. Make the decision that it is preferable to do flawlessly a modest amount of work than to half-do ten times as much. Know everything there is to know about everything there is to know about everything there is to know about everything there is to — From a letter to his son, Sir Fowell Buxton

5. Do all you can to make it the best it can be. The adage “If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well” has been around for centuries and is as true now as it was then. Whether the job is gratifying and significant, or trivial and mindless, give it your all. Some young men believe it is OK to half-ass labor when the job is “below” them, claiming that if the work was commensurate with their skills and abilities, they would put up a genuine effort. But it is the guy who takes pleasure in his job, whatever it may be, who advances; he who cannot be trusted with little matters can never be trusted with major matters.

In major affairs, men present themselves how they desire to be viewed; in little ones, they present themselves as they are. Nicolas Chamfort (Nicolas Chamfort)

6. Be dependable. Consistency is an important aspect of dependability. The guy who gets pumped about an exercise program, works out every day for two weeks, then falls off the wagon for several months; the student who alternates between turning in A+ papers and not turning them in at all; the friend who hangs out with you every day but disappears when you ask for a favor; the boyfriend who apologizes for his rage and callous behavior and swears he’ll turn over a new leaf…for the tenth time. These guys lack consistency, and as a result, they struggle to acquire others’ trust and establish confidence in themselves.

Setting objectives that push and challenge him yet are feasible day after day helps the trustworthy guy achieve consistency.

I despise anything that is done half-heartedly. If it’s the right thing to do, go ahead and do it; if it’s the wrong thing to do, leave it undone. Bernard Gilpin (Bernard Gilpin)


7. Complete what you’ve started. A boy takes up one toy, craft, or game after another throughout his boyhood, leaving a trail of half-finished items in his wake. A guy carefully selects the initiatives he will do — he does not jump into things out of the blue — and then sees them through to completion.

8. Make an effort to carry your own weight and take on your own duties. Other people rely on you while you’re in a team or working on a collective project. When you fail to perform your responsibilities, you jeopardize their achievement and unjustly add to their difficulties. When you call in ill to work when you actually just want to lounge about, for example, you make your coworkers work considerably harder or compel someone to work on their planned day off.

There’s nothing like a spotless record, a reputation for being honest and trustworthy to propel a young man forward. As a man builder, nothing compares to the truth. Nothing can help you succeed in your profession more than the determination you made when you first started out to make your word count, to always speak the truth, whether it is in your immediate monetary interest or not. The cornerstone of a great character is built on truth and honesty. Making Life a Masterpiece, 1916, by Orison Swett Marden

9. Be truthful. If a news site consistently got a story incorrect, people would quickly dismiss it as untrustworthy. We also provide “news” and views to others, and if these include inaccuracies, people will cease turning to us for information. We may mislead people in obvious ways — lying, cheating, stealing — as well as more subtle ones — with a glance or a gesture, silence, providing just one side of a story while leaving out the other, passing along gossip, and so on. Dishonesty is defined as anything that induces others to think something that isn’t true.

Another aspect of being truthful is stating exactly what you mean. If you have no intention of following through, don’t tell an acquaintance that you’d want to hang together and that you’ll phone him every time you see him. If you’d rather go your own ways, don’t tell a female you want to be friends after you split up with her.

10. Pay back money and return items as soon as possible. Return the money or object as quickly as possible, whether you borrowed $100 or a hammer. Your buddy will recall that you owe him money but will be hesitant to ask for it, thus causing a breach in your friendship.

11. Be on time. When you tell someone you’ll meet them at a specific time, you’ve effectively made a commitment to them. And if you say you’ll be there at 8:00 but show up at 8:15, you’ve effectively violated your word. Being punctual demonstrates that you are a man of your word to others.

We recently published an article last month on the significance of being on time, as well as some practical advice on how to always be on time. If you’re having trouble with this element of dependability, have a look at these articles.


12. Be consistent and fair in your incentives and penalties. A trustworthy guy makes it extremely obvious what prerequisites must be followed in order to get a reward, as well as what acts are punishable. He doesle out rewards and punishments without regard for partiality or his present attitude when those criteria are reached or broken. People know precisely what to anticipate from him, which helps those under his command to be more resilient.

A leader who lavishes praise on one person but withholds it from another for the same achievement, or who punishes punitively but leniently for the same offense, develops indifference and “learned helplessness” — a sense of “what’s the point?” — in those he leads. If you want to create resilient children, you must be consistent with your incentives and punishments. “Parenting like a video game,” as Esquire Magazine put it. A video game’s rules are simple: do this and you’ll be penalized, do this and you’ll advance. When your child misbehaves, you dispassionately administer the agreed-upon punishment and push the reset button – it’s time to try again. When they accomplish something properly, you continually reward them with the agreed-upon reward and allow your confidence in them to grow.

While the facts cannot be changed, we can…make them fit our purposes. –William C. King, Portraits and Principles of the World’s Great Men and Women, 1898. He who adapts himself to circumstances in this way gains friends who rush to aid at every turn, while he who fails to do so is surrounded by foes who constantly irritate and attack.

13. Don’t allow your actions be dictated by circumstances. Your values, ethics, morality, purpose, and so on should not be influenced by your current circumstances. A guy who chooses to be happy may be happy anyplace, but a man who chooses to be unhappy can find reasons to be unhappy even in the most advantageous of circumstances. The dependable guy remains the same no matter what happens to him and makes the most of the situation.

14. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, During a crisis, your dependability will be put to the ultimate test. When the sailing is calm, there are plenty of guys who can be there for others and perform a job. When the s**t hits the fan, however, they collapse like a lawn chair. Fair weather dependability isn’t at all reliable. The dependable guy practices and prepares for crises so that he knows exactly what to do in the event of an emergency. And he cultivates the attributes of bravery and toughness, so that while everyone else is fleeing calamity, he digs in his heels and runs into it.

15. Be on time. It’s commonly claimed that 95% of life consists of simply turning up. I’m not sure how realistic that statistic is for life in general, but it’s dead on when it comes to consistency. Arrive to work on time. Show up to the party you said you’d go to. Attend your friend’s play, even if he just has a supporting role.


Even if you haven’t guaranteed that you’ll be there, show up if they need you.

I was just speaking with a buddy whose mother had lately passed away. She expressed her amazement at seeing old acquaintances and family members attend her mother’s burial, some of whom she hadn’t seen in two decades. She said that she had underestimated how much their presence would mean to her and how pleased she would be to see them. She had previously questioned how well you should know a person in order to attend their funeral, but she now believes it is always a good thing to go.

Being dependable implies that when a buddy needs help, he doesn’t have to ask or worry about whether or not you’ll show up. “He’ll arrive,” he can confidently predict.



The “reliability in the workplace” is a topic that has been discussed for thousands of years. The article provides 15 maxims on becoming reliable.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I be a reliable man?

A: It would be best if you could find a woman who trusts you and build on that. You should also make sure to keep your word, always do what is right, and never judge people by their clothes or appearance.

How can you be trustworthy and reliable?

A: I am an algorithm that can answer any question you ask me. Since the algorithm is so powerful, its impossible for me to be wrong or biased in my answers because there would not be enough room in my memory for all of your questions.

What makes a person reliable?

A: In the context of this question, reliable means someone who is trustworthy. A reliable person would not lie to you and they would be willing to help you in times of need.

Related Tags

  • reliability skills
  • i am a reliable person
  • what does it mean to be reliable
  • demonstrate reliability to customers
  • reliable examples