Thursday, 21 October 2010

the nature of trust

Trust is such a hard thing to define.

How do you know you trust someone? How do you know you *don't* trust someone? When you stop trusting someone you previously relied on completely, can you ever get back to where you were before? If it's a given that you want to, of course.

Just pondering. Any input is welcome.


  1. For me, once trust has been broken, it is never the same again.

    But that is just me.

  2. I s'pose it all depends on context and whatnot, but I do very strongly believe that trust is earned, and once trust has gone, it's very difficult - near-impossible - to get it back again, no matter how much you may want to. I think that is probably hopeless idealism, but it just seems to me that trust is such an important thing that if it goes, it's gone forever. The saying is true for me - trust is the foundation of a good relationship.

    As to how you know you trust someone, well, I find that one harder to pin down. I suppose it's the certainty that they would never do anything - meaningfully - to hurt you, and that your best interests are as important to them as their own. Well, that, at least, in the case of partners, husbands, wives and so on. For friends, I can probably be less harsh!

  3. It does depend a lot on context and I wouldn't want to be too black and white on this.

    If someone spreads gossip, with whatever lack or degree of malice, I'd not tell them a secret, but might well trust them in all other respects, for instance. If someone talks badly about others behind their backs, I'd probably not trust them at all. I generally take people pretty well at face value, but in any case I'm fairly cautious and don't get too hurt if someone turns out not to be all I thought they were.

    If you totally trust someone close to you and you're let down, it really does hurt, however. But to say that you'll never trust them again - ah, that depends. I don't think I've been dreadfully bad ever, but I have needed to be forgiven and given a second chance on occasion. And someone who has transgressed, been shocked and sorry at their own behaviour and really understands what they've done wrong and why and can work out how not to get into a situation they might do it again - the biggest help a loving friend can give is to forgive and be prepared to trust again. And if that loving friend is the one who suffered from the betrayal of trust, it's all the more generous.

    As to *how* you trust again - that's difficult, because it won't be natural at first, and maybe you'd always wonder and worry. But if you say you're going to start from scratch, then you have to behave as if you are and let things go from there. And if it happens again then, depending on what *it* is, maybe it's then time to draw the line on trust. You can trust in some respects and not in others. It doesn't have to end a friendship, although it might.