To Trust or Not To Trust

Protect yourself from the pernicious, the slippery, and the untrustworthy. 6 rules for screening out the bad guys, knowing when and who to trust or not to trust


Photo by Scott Osborn on Unsplash

“Thanks so much for that book. I wish I had read it before now. I wouldn’t have been a victim of so many past betrayals.” Those were the words echoed by a friend with whom I shared Professor Linda Stroh’s–Trust Rules.

Have you ever suffered betrayals from loved ones, double-crossed by friends or business partners, or left high and cold by a supposed mentor? This book is for you. No, you can’t recover all lost grounds, but you will be better equipped to hone your skills at screening out untrustworthy associates from your inner cycle. Also, you too can become a more trustworthy person of character.

How do you protect yourself from pernicious, slippery, and untrustworthy people? Don’t just snigger, “Who even wants to be a good guy in a world of alternative truths where good is pronounced evil and evil good?”

Trust matters so much because the world runs on trust. For obvious reasons, even criminals and robber-barons are looking for people they can trust.

People and organizations and the systems they build, run, and thrive on trust. Human relationships and society, in general, will collapse where there is no trust. Yes, being trustworthy or having trustworthy people around us will not eliminate all the world’s ills. However, relationships bereft of trust are like planted crops in the bakery of the Sahara desert. Such plantings will no sooner sprout than they will whither away. As explained by the author, with trustworthy people around us, even though our problems are not necessarily eliminated, problem-solving certainly becomes much more manageable.

Going further, she explained how trusting too much may be just as detrimental to our welfare as not trusting enough. How then do we identify untrustworthy people from trustworthy ones and what can we do as individuals to eliminate the former from our inner cycles even if we cannot entirely avoid relating with them on a day-to-day basis?

Trust is a willingness to be vulnerable — a willingness to take a risk that someone will not harm us. When we place our trust in another person, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, because we have positive expectations of another’s behavior.

At some time in our lives, most of us will be duped by someone we thought we could trust.

Here are some invaluable guidelines provided by the author:

  1. Trustworthy people demonstrate good values throughout their history and they demonstrate their being good even when the times are tough. Click To Tweet
  2. Daily demonstrations that behavior, not just words, match values.
  3. Trustworthy people admit and learn from their mistakes. They have self-awareness of the ways their behaviors affect others.
  4. Trustworthy people treat all people the same, regardless of level in the hierarchy and they demonstrate consistent good behaviors.
  5. Those who are untrustworthy will only interact with you when there is something in it for them.
  6. Trustworthy people have positive qualities other than just good looks, a good education, and wealth.

Trustworthy people are those people you can have confidence in that “they will always try to do the right thing.”

Trustworthy people will put their personal interests aside for the general benefit of the group, team, or organization as the need arises.

With experience and training, some people are more adept at recognizing untrustworthy people and also knowing how to put them at bay. But, for the rest of us, mere mortals, the insights distilled in this book will serve as a compass as we navigate the landscape of close human relationships and the inevitable pitfalls of trusting too much and too soon.

Other invaluable reminders from the author include the following:

Now, the ball is now in your court. Over to you.

©Linda K. Stroh, Trust Rules – How to Tell the Good Guys from the Bad in Work and Life, Praeger, 2007

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