Who Do You Trust?


No matter the medium you use to follow the news a large proportion of the stories have a trust angle—most with a negative look at who/how/why it was broken.

I tend to trust people with good diction because I can hear what they say; others trust people because of perceived commonality—the same place of worship, similar political stances, the same schools, military service, mutual connections, etc.

When you see it written down like that the idiocy of any commonality as a basis for trust is apparent, but on any day you can find stories about broken trust that was based on these and similar ephemeral reasons (such as diction). Possibly one of the dumbest is the trust based on some form of online friendship at places such as Facebook.

Even trust in introductions made by long time friends can be misplaced as the experience of my friend Kelly shows. Briefly, her friend arranged a blind date for Kelly with a guy she knew. She didn’t mention that she had only chatted for a few minutes with him during a conference; she thought he was cute and that Kelly would like him. Fortunately for Kelly he was arrested two days before their date—charged with attempted rape. Her friend was shocked because he was well dressed and it was a professional conference, so she assumed he was OK.

There are thousands of similar stories out there; many with much worse endings.

So how do you know who to trust?

When I was looking for quotes about trust for yesterday’s post I found an anonymous one that offers some excellent guidance.

“The key is to get to know people and trust them to be who they are. Instead, we trust people to be who we want them to be- and when they’re not, we cry.”

Getting to know someone takes time, but you can pursue a dual track by giving the people the benefit of the doubt if your guts says yes, while maintaining a vigilant watch to make sure that their actions are consistent with their expressed MAP (mindset, attitude, philosophy™) and being ruthless in not rationalizing away the inconsistencies.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/saposaraso/4735101694/


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