3 Reasons You Find It Hard To Trust People

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“I don’t know why, but I can’t bring myself to trust people,” the person said to me in a private conversation after a workshop on building trust. “Every time I’ve trusted people in the past I’ve been let down, so now it’s easier and less painful to just rely on myself.”

Maybe you feel similarly, and even if you don’t, you’ve probably experienced broken trust in a past relationship that has caused you to question whether or not it’s worth trusting again. When you find yourself struggling to decide whether or not to trust someone, it’s important to figure out the reasons why.

Here’s three common reasons that hold you back from trusting others:

1. You have a low propensity to trust – Our propensity to trust is based on many factors, chief among them being our personality, early childhood role models and experiences, beliefs and values, culture, self-awareness and emotional maturity. The combination of these factors and experiences shapes how quickly, and how much trust we extend to others. Your experiences may have resulted in you viewing trust as something to be earned, not given, so therefore you withhold trust from others until you’re absolutely sure they deserve it. Even then, you may only extend trust grudgingly or in small amounts. Having a low propensity to trust can hold you back from experiencing true joy and fulfillment in relationships.

2. You have unrealistic expectations – Unrealistic, unspoken, and unclear expectations are a primary cause for low or broken trust in relationships, and the higher the expectations the more likely it is they won’t be met. Trust usually isn’t something people openly talk about or address in relationships until it’s been broken, and by then it’s often too late to salvage the relationship or the breach of trust seems too big to overcome. Clarifying expectations is preventative medicine when it comes to trust. It’s much better to have the awkward or uncomfortable discussion up front about roles, responsibilities, and expectations, than it is to deal with the fallout when either party falls short.

3. Past hurts hold you back – Hurt people, hurt people…those who have been hurt by broken relationships in the past often hurt other people in a dysfunctional form of self-protection. Whether it’s unnecessarily withholding trust (see #1), having unrealistic expectations of others (see #2), being trapped in a victim mentality, lashing out at others, or operating out of low self-esteem, our past experiences with broken trust can easily derail us from developing healthy, high-trust relationships. It’s critical to not let our past hurts dictate our present relationships. As Sue Augustine, author of When Your Past Is Hurting Your Present says, “You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can control what happens within you.”

Trust is as vital to healthy relationships as oxygen is to a scuba diver; survival is impossible without it. Whether it’s a naturally low propensity to trust, having unrealistic expectations, or letting our past hurts hold us back from trusting others, we have to move beyond these reasons if we want to have trust-filled relationships in the future. Look for an upcoming post on how to improve your “trust-ability” – the ability to trust others.

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments. What other reasons cause you to withhold trust from people?

164 Comments on “3 Reasons You Find It Hard To Trust People

    • You missed trauma exposure. As a senior in high school I had to hide in an undisclosed location for an entire night to avoid being hogtied as part of a scavenger hunt prank that involved dozens of students. All were caught but the gutless school administration punished nobody when expulsions were clearly called for. That hammered into my head the notion that people can get away with whatever they want, and the subsequent conviction that people are only out to hurt others means I will never be able to trust again, period.

      • Hi David,

        Traumatic experiences have the potential to shape us in profound ways, both negatively and positively. My hope for you and others who protect themselves from future harm by choosing not to trust others, is that somewhere in your journey you will come to a point where you feel safe enough to begin trusting others again.

        Best wishes,


      • Hey Randy thanks for ur comment. It’s not so much that eye don’t trust. Because I have no ISSUSES with keeping it real. Telling how eye feel. Letting others know when they make me feel good or bad. BEIN up front with EVA THING. Don’t miss lead humans. Don’t say nothing I don’t mean or can can’t do. I’m tha BEIN thas upfront at ALLL times know matter who u or. I don’t care if ur JESUS. I don’t lead ppl on and give them false hope or lie to SOOOTHE MAN CONSCIENCE. It others with trust issues. Because if u have to lie and not be real with self then u don’t trust yourself. Thas were trust plays it’s part for me. Because I trust me. It’s u thas not trustworthy.

      • Hi there I agree trauma exposure is missing from the article. I’m so sorry to hear of your sad experiences at high school. Administration and Management sound extremely lacking where you were. Bullies always seemed to escape punishment at my school too here in England (in the 80’s I was bullied and it knocks the stuffing out of any trust we might otherwise have had). Wishing you peace <3 sb.

      • Oh! I know exactly what you mean! There are evil people in the world. I would like to be able to trust but when the same scenario comes around where I was betrayed before, I wait to see what the person will do if they will choose me or the perpetrator! Sometimes my emotions run wild while waiting to see the outcome.

      • I am so sorry that happened to you. My high school years were also very bad because I grew up the scapegoat of the family. They all blamed me for everything. Even if it had nothing to do with me, I was still to blame. Plus, they were all liars…every single one of them. I spent 15 years in therapy and still can barely function in society. I think I need to go back to therapy because I still have unresolved patterns of behaviour and trust issues.

      • I am so sorry that happen to you. I pray that your heart heels in time, because I do not want you to miss out on good people.

    • I found a comment by Daniel from way back in 2014 and I quote: “We live in a world where only the truly foolish trust.” Sadly, I couldn’t agree more. I’m 65 now and the longer I live, the more I become aware of the erosion of any sort of moral value when it comes to trust and I sometimes wonder if those who say they ‘trust’ or can be ‘trusted’ have somehow got the true meaning of the word completely wrong. To me, trust is an absolute – there is no if, but or maybe about it. Trust is the truth in every situation where it is asked for or assumed to be given. To break a trust is treachery. In other words, to break a trust in a relationship is a treasonous act against that relationship and to be quite frank about it, I truly don’t want or need friends so badly that I’m prepared to put up with this sort of treachery.

      Consider this scenario: You are involved in a one-on-one conversation with another person and they reveal something to of a personal nature about themselves to you, but don’t ask you to keep this to yourself. What is your obligation here? Well, in truth, I shouldn’t have to ask that question and you shouldn’t even have to think of an answer, but the sad fact is that a lot of people just assume that because you didn’t ask them for a bit of discretion in the matter, they are quite free to blab the most sensitive details of the convo to the whole world. They completely forget or ignore the fact that it was a one-on-one conversation and that should be a strong enough indicator that the conversation is confidential. If the person in question had wanted it to be common knowledge, there would have been a good chance that there would have been more people in the conversation. Most people today are incapable of making that subtle little connection and that is why today, I trust no one.

      • Michael,

        Thank you for the thoughtful response.

        I think TRUST is far too complex and multi-dimensional to say it’s “all or nothing.” Each of us has a different “propensity to trust.” That’s the fancy term for saying some people are very trusting by nature and willingly grant trust to others without many preconditions. Other people have a low propensity to trust, meaning they don’t grant trust until someone (or something) has proven to be trustworthy. Most of us fall somewhere in-between those two ends of the spectrum. Just based on your brief comments, it sounds as though you may have a low propensity to trust others and you have high standards as to what constitutes TRUST in a relationship.

        Trust is also influenced by the context of the situation. For example, I may have a high degree of trust in my auto-mechanic and will absolutely follow his recommendations when it comes to maintaining my car. But when it comes to managing my finances, I won’t trust him because that isn’t his area of expertise. I trust him in one context but not another.

        Trust is made up of four core elements and this blog article explains them. It may be helpful to you.

        Best regards,


      • I am the same way. I do have trust issues because every time I trust someone they let me down. I will lower my standards and still it happens. I do try to trust people and this always happens no matter how much.

      • That’s it. That’s what I feel since I was 13, and I’m 31 now. That’s what I see:
        “[…] and to be quite frank about it, I truly don’t want or need friends so badly that I’m prepared to put up with this sort of treachery.”
        me neither.

        The scenario above would never happen. I’m persuasive and I only say things that, if I’m betrayed on divulging, I can protect myself later – or I can harm the person far worse AND repair myself.

    • It looks like it has been a while since anyone posted here but I cannot help sharing my insights. There are different types and levels of trust. When you first meet someone they may become an acquaintance and a default level of trust develops, if the relationship progresses and trust is earned, both ways, they become a friend. At this stage the friendship may be ended completely if either of you betray that trust.

      When you get to know a friend well a close friendship can develop, at this level friends can be more honest with each other and the friendship will endure criticism, disagreement and disclosure however betrayal may still end it completely.

      The next level of friendship is love, I don’t necessarily mean as partners but as very close friends. This is where the heated truth can come out and the relationship will self-repair, even a level of betrayal can be overcome but the hurt may remain. If the betrayal is extreme it may not only signal the end of the friendship but initiate a hatred. Given time and true remorse this may be overcome as friends we love are something special, although the friendship may not recover to a previous level. Often however the relationship will remain one of spite and never recover.

      Friends come and go and different people have different standards that they expect from a friend. Some may just be happy with the company regardless of the nature of the friendship while some will maintain expectation of a high standard. I for one would rather have a few good friends I know I can trust rather than have lots of friends, some of whom may take advantage of me. I find it hard to trust people because more often than not they just want something from the friendship without giving anything back. Sadly, the more you are prepared to give, the less likely you are to have many real friends.

      • Hi John,

        Thanks for sharing your perspective.

        Your comment is addressing a few intertwined topics: friendship, love, and trust. They are separate constructs, yet interact and influence each other.

        Your comments about love bring to mind the various forms of love expressed in the Greek language. Phileo love is the brotherly/friendship kind of love you mentioned. Eros love is the romantic/sexual kind of love. And Agape love is the unconditional love given to another with no expectation of love in return.

        There are different kinds of trust as well. Contractual Trust is a kind of trust governed by rules and regulations. Knowledge-based trust is a kind of trust built on frequent interactions with an individual that give you a certain level of confidence (trust) in how the person will behave (what you describe as casual friends). An finally, Identification-based Trust is the deepest kind of trust where your values, beliefs, and intentions align with another at a deep level (your most intimate friends).

        I hope that provides a little nuance to the discussion. Thanks again for adding your insights.


      • You’re talking about aliens to me (rationally I do get that I am the alien here, not others who have friends and even “love” them (!!!)). Fact is, I do not have friends. Never had, not even one, after I was 8 or 9yo. I had a pretty rough cascade of problems that happen in close succession that lead me to be this way: my father completely destroyed me physically and emotionally with awful, constantly held threats and beating (when HE was the one who should PROTECT ME AGAINST HARM, GODDAMNED, SONOFABITCH – but no. Said that if I got beaten and he found out about it, he’d beat me for it, the fucker), then all the friends I thought I had, a group, betrayed me en masse, together, at my most vulnerable point even making and following a plan to do it, exchanging “secret” paper messages I found out that said that they were trying to inculcate evil ideas in my mind against me to destroy me and shit. Kids have no moral brakes when it comes to being evil. (Vulnerability is in fact disgusting in men, even male children, and I understand that – but learning it by experience was absolute sh*t), then I got beaten and publically humliated by the bullies at my school – all for being weak cause I was put in a vulnerable spot by my father. And I was and had ever been the strongest one of all. All that in a very short while. Then I probably got the victim mentality so bad that I had groups of people abusing me for some 4 more years. I got fat, completely isolated and suicidal. That took years to repair, little by little, to only a good enough shape. Never got back to the heaven I knew. But it made me FAR stronger and FAR wiser. I had to make a choice: do I want to live or not? I wanted to live. So I turned all the hatred inside to the outside and got quite violent and maquiavellian for a good while (still am considered a bit too aggressive). Now, I’m quite aware that only the powerful can have any level of trust in others. I only trust to a level or two under what I can punish and control/make vulnerable. And I try to get to a level I can really control people – which is supposedly awful, but it’s the only way I can feel anything for anyone. As said, I have no friends – so the people around me are only the women I get close for sexual reasons and some guys who do everything they can to hang out with me cause they admire me for whatever reasons. Good news is that I myself Am quite trustworthy, goddamn. A good gauge to me is that all the women who get around me tend to love me to death, be completely vulnerable AND I NEVER, EVER ABUSE THAT VULNERABILITY (except momentarily to enhance sexual pleasure – and they absolutely love me to.). Zero lies. Harsh, brutal truths, if need be. And people (mostly women) even say how quickly they got to trust me and how trustworthy I really am. But I wish I could have friends – that it could make any sense to me to want to have friends. There’s a missing piece inside, where trust should be, I am quite aware. But having friends seems a retarded idea. I cannot believe people do it. It makes NO SENSE to me.
        There’s a lot of wisdom and power to be had in all the extremes of life, but little humanity.

      • Hello Raff,

        I appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences. It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable and transparent.

        You’ve unpacked quite a bit here and I can see you’ve been on a long journey. My hope and prayer for you, and really all of us, is that we’ll come to see trust and power as not something to wield over others in relationships, but something to mutually share and nurture. I truly believe we are all better together than we are individually.

        My best,


      • yes I agree. A lot of people are incredibly selfish when it comes to return, to come up to the plate. But then some are not. I think it takes a lot of pushing into a higher standards to where you finally attract kind loving people. My problem has been trying to make friends to influence for the good towards God, then their other friends come in and put pressure on them 2 be like they are and stay with them and reject me so I have to get past the feeling of rejection knowing this person has no backbone. They’re used to this! They get all this attention from their friends suddenly and get pulled back into a pecking order. They think they’ve been promoted with their friends because of all this sudden attention but they have not developed the character to press past the subtleties of deception. This is growing me up in God’s grace! I do get weary of people trying to condescend on me when I’ve given them nothing but help kindness and support. They turn it around to condescend on me making them feel Superior if only for a little while it’s sickening!

    • When I think I can trust a man, something always comes up, like phone calls when I am with him, he deletes then right away, an tells me it was a telemarketer, this has happened several times, how stupid does he think I am, then he tells me he’s the most trusted man I’ll ever meet, really,I could go on an on

      • Yes! Some men are very shallow. And they are foolers cuz they could care less keep pressing in for the right man that has character development he’s out there I want to stop attracting people that are foolers also!

    • I had a pretty weird time in school always feeling like I was the odd or outcast kid. Never liked sports and just felt and knew I was different..weird but yes that’s the way it was. Awkward with making new friends in case they would find out I was gay and not except me for who I was. But I managed to finish my hsc with average marks. I was free after my hsc. I was our clubbing meeting ppl I could relate to. I wasn’t alone. But then camevthecreal gard part. Meeting a guy I thought was my knight in shining armour. We had our ups n downs. But he was too much of a player and definitely insecure himself. Although when I think back he gave me the biggest highs and lows. Getting my initials tattooed on him was the first omg morning meant. Intense jeoulsy and possessiveness eventually ruined the relationship. But I learned a lot from
      Him. I learned how to love wholesomly and was really hurt when we spilt. Yup he wanted to hurt me back. And he did. That’s where it all started. And the story goes on..

    • It seems that every opportunity I give to this one articular group, they give reason to not trust. It’s unfortunate one person of that group cannot come out and clear the potential misunderstandings and misconseptions.

    • My trust issues are deep I guess. I grew up never knowing my father, never feeling I lived up to my step fathers standards, my mother was never home. I was always with a sitter. I felt like the sitter never wanted us there. Obviously my mother was looking to pawn us off on someone, anyone. Someone broke in our home when my brother and I were home alone one night. We were 10 and 11. There was an attempted break in prior to that. My mother sent my brother away when he was 16 because he was getting into trouble. He went to stay with our paternal grandparents, that we didn’t even know. He ended his life just after he turned 19. I tried to have a relationship with my step father but he quit communicating with me when my daughter ended up pregnant at the age of 15. The shame I guess. I don’t know. I had a best friend once. Loved her like a sister. She made a move on my husband. My husband…though he’s trying now he’s spent much of our marriage an alcoholic. Belittling me, tearing me down. Once my saving grace now just one of “them”. It’s so bad now, if anyone says “hey, let’s do this” and backs out for any reason, I no longer put forth any effort. No one can imagine the strength it takes to put myself out there only to get rejected. I also wonder if not getting diagnosed with ADHD until I was 45 has kept me from building friendships. Oh, the baby my daughter had when she was young, I took legal guardianship of her to provide her insurance. My daughter has since married, had four more children and I’m the bad guy in this situation. I’m stuck between doing what’s best for my granddaughter and fighting with my daughter. It’s terrible. I feel like I’m stuck between sheltering myself to avoid the pain and desperately wanting to meet people who won’t tear me down. I’ve had a therapist for awhile. I started doing my own research in an effort to better understand. Maybe even heal.

      • Hello Andrea,

        I appreciate your bravery in sharing your story. If it’s any encouragement to you, a theme that I see in your message is perseverance. You’ve demonstrated incredible resiliency in dealing with the challenges life has sent your way. I applaud your efforts at personal growth and healing. Keep the faith!


    • I’m trying. But I find it very difficult!! My childhood… I came at a bad time for my mother in a bad way, rape! I’m on my 4th marriage and I was betrayed twice and lost a husband abruptly by a car accident. I always feel like my husband is sneaky. When he probably isnt! I have outrages!! Screaming and fussing. Then I hate myself for it!! Then I spiral downhill to a drunken state. I keep a very small circle. Family only. I’ve tried having friends. But most live to far away. And I’ve had 2 suicides near me. So , yes, I’m tattered and torn. Definitely!!! More than likely need a antidepressant…I’m wrapped to tight! If crossed even at 51 I’ll fight! Then embarrassment ain’t the word. I have lots of pride and dignity. Just wish I could put the past behind me and wake up a new person. If not while on this side of the dirt. God will reign and I’ll be anew one day. No self pity. I get up and go to work every day with a smile upon my face!!

    • Hi ,
      I have a different feeling about trust. It seems to me that , trust is needed only when there is a problem. We do not need trust when everything is alright. Every day my propensity to trust people keeps decreasing. It hurts when you think of someone( very close to you ) to be the solution of your problem , then it turns out to be a mirage. In reality that person had earned your support in the past. It is not a pay back but a way to stand with you at the critical time. But this not happening. For example : If a toddler has been told each morning that 9 *9=81, for 3 days, on the 4th day, he may get it right. My point is , if you get disappointed 2 times in the similar way, you will not be disappointed the 3 rd time. You will trust less as you multiply your disappointments. How many unfaithful friends do you have?
      Be sure to trust less if not no one.

    • Honestly, I have anxiety and depression due to this particular topic. I don’t think I have trust issues but quite the contrary, I trust everyone very easily and find it frustrating learning that I shouldn’t and getting hurt everytime. I find myself forced to keep secrets from everyone or don’t saying what I think because people might take it wrong. I can’t tell everything to my parents, basic stuff like going on vacations with my boyfriend because they will stop talking to me so I am forced to lie. I can’t trust my boyfriend because I’ve learned that everyone cheats. I can’t be honest at work or trust my peers because they would take whatever they can against me to their benefit. So Im living this life where I dont feel I can be entirely me and have to keep at least one secret from everyone because trusting people causes pain, everyone is false to one another saying is being “political” or “educated” when really is hypocritical and life itself is getting pretty frustrating.

      • Hi Emma,

        Thank you for demonstrating courage and sharing your story with the LWT community.

        I find it’s helpful to “trust smartly.” Trust can be situational depending on the person and context. For example, you may trust your accountant to prepare your tax return, but not repair your car. That’s because there are different sets of competencies required.

        Research shows there are four different elements of trust and some people may be trustworthy in all, some, or none of them. Trusting smartly is about assessing each person’s trustworthiness against the four elements of trust. This article may be helpful to you: https://leadingwithtrust.com/2019/01/13/just-ok-is-not-ok-when-it-comes-to-being-trustworthy/

        Take care,


    • Hi there, i think i needed to see a Doctor, unfortunately i cant afford to see one as i am a student i know it is expensive. I am writing here with the hope that i can seek advice.

      When i was 14 years old, our mum left us and from then i was raising myself alone and supporting my siblings up to now.

      I am also a victim of exploitation of my former boss. Luckily, someone helped me about this we already file a case against my former boss. It feels like everything is so stressful its been 2 years since i file the case and still we are investigating of the matter.

      It is so hard, i am so moody. I am so scared all the time, i always suspect someone that they spying on me, or maybe they will kill me i get paranoid when a stranger tries to talk to me. Even though i haven’t done wrong but i am so scared. Sometimes, i will just cried alone in a dark place, close the windows and door then just laying on my bed and cried. Apart from those matter, i have also a secret that i don’t have a courage to share it with anyone else. Please help me. Thank you so much

      • Hi Ashley,

        My heart and prayers go out to you. Please consider going to your local hospital’s emergency room. They cannot turn you away because you can’t pay and they can provide you important help.

        You are loved,


    • I grew up with an emotionally and verbally abusive mother, and ever since I have been talking to people and my mother about looking for jobs, they would always be mean to me for no reason and degrade me. Same thing for people in Philly who work with therapists to set up clients’ appointments to go to therapy. They’re just like my mom. I trust myself, but I no longer trust everybody in Philadelphia.

    • Honestly I don’t know why I do not trust. But there are many possibilities to why I don’t. At times I don’t know how to stop my mind from racing. With my parents I was exposed to lying, cheating, holding secrets. Then there’s the fact that I know people in this so called committed relationships cheating on the boyfriends and also there husbands. To me it is like damn ! Who can be trusted now days you know. I have a girlfriend and no matter what she tells me I only trust her to an extent not because I don’t want to believe her or she has done anything that I know of. She tells me everyday she loves me wants to spend a life. But then there’s days where I’m being untrusting and she calls me annoying. I can’t blame her for that. Plus I’ve got into it with her family and she’s a family oriented person which I like because I’m not. Another example 3 days ago she worked a 12 hr shift I was excited for her she just started them. But then on her 12 hr shift she text me 8hrs into her shift I’m like damn u couldn’t say anything ( her defense it’s healthcare but even then I worked in healthcare and always received breaks unless we were under staffed which she is not. ) but I feel like it’s not the jealous thing which I can be naturally jealous but its more of the is she not thinking about me like happy with not talking to me goes threw my head. I hate loosing in anything it could be who can blink their eyes the most in 100 seconds type of bet I’m very competitive. So I just want to be the best thing she’s ever encountered there’s times where she cry’s and opens up to me and tells me how much she appreciates what I do and how much i have impacted her life. One last thing I’m a serious person with a fun side. She’s a goofy person with an attitude. I don’t think she’s the funniest person in the world or the nicest or any of that but I believe she has a nice heart and I love her I just don’t know why my mind will not allow me to fully trust her and let myself just enjoy the ride instead of dictating it all the time. Sorry I didn’t not fix my punctuation.

      • Hello AJ,

        Thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds as though you are fairly self-aware regarding how you tend to react to circumstances in your relationship with your girlfriend. Have you ever explored working with a counselor? It could be helpful to have someone help you think through your behavioral patterns and discover new ways of training your mind to respond.


    • That,s not true hurt PEOPLE do not hurt others, i do know people that never been hurt ,by any man or in life but they still hurt others this is true

    • I was hurt. Plain and simple. It changed me and now I can’t trust someone, no matter how badly I want to.

    • I was free-trusting, living a life a bliss. Until when I was 7. Seven years old was when I had my first crush. I told my friends. And then next day I realized-that they were in fact not my friends. I found out they had been sharing my secrets, stealing my stuff and other stuff. From then I blended in with others, I didn’t get close with anyone, and I didn’t show much emotion, but for years I’ve been hurting. Everything: my stress, my sadness, my pain has been piling up, and I think I might break soon. Nobody I know would understand what I’m feeling, everyone is so free-trusting, like I was before I was seven. I haven’t shared my feelings with anyone, except here. But my problem goes farther than trust issues, I’ve started to feel….broken. Please help me..

      • Hello Kate,

        Thanks for sharing from the heart. I recommend you connect with a professional counselor or therapist to help you process your thoughts and feelings. A good place to start would be with your healthcare provider to see what resources they have available.

        Best wishes,


    • It’s basically my nature not to trust anyone, I haven’t since I was a little kid, I trusted one person, and they died three years ago. Trusting people just isn’t within me. For me, it’s me and myself. Nobody looks out for me, and I can and will probably forever, fight on my own

    • Being bullied during the whole of high school and in the first few workplaces I still have trouble with trusting people and have spent most of my 54 years as a single guy. I have now lost both parents, am unemployed and feel like a pointless person.

    • We are in the Fourth World War or so-called Psychosocial World War. There is an economy of distrust. The goal is to play everybody off against one another and the other goal is to continuously bombard people with stressful issues outside their control. Issues such as gender issues, age issues, and skin colour issues; things you could never change and in future will not be able to change. It’s a double wammy; you can’t choose sides without creating disadvantage to ypurself or someone in your close family. This world war gas physical effects such as chrinic discharge of adrenalin and cortisone which leads to raised blood sugar. Yhe pancreas has to work harder to get the blood sugar down, leading to pancreas fatigue, premature pancreas failure and central obesity.

      • Thanks for adding your comments, Leon. I’ve not heard anyone position it that way but I can see the logic.

        There are so many intertwined factors contributing to low trust in our world that it can make one feel helpless and hopeless in doing anything about it. The one thing completely under our control is our own personal behavior. We can choose to act in trustworthy and ethical ways, and hopefully our actions serve as a role model and inspiration for others to do the same.

        In trust,


    • Lora

      My mom divorced my alcoholic dad when I was 2, so I barely saw my dad a dozen times until he died when I was 17. My mom remarried to a good man when I was 10. He was in the air force so we moved around alot and being a introverted child, moving around didn’t help that. I married a emotionally abusive man and had a child but left him. Lived with a druggy and had a child but I had issues because of first marriage. I was raped but blocked all that out. I had a abortion that I can’t forgive myself. Had heart trouble, lost most of my family and my best friend. I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere. I don’t trust anyone cause I feel they r out to ruin me. I don’t know how to get back to how I use to be.

    • I feel like I’ve lived an entire life of hurt when I’m around human beings. My parents told me my dream of being a writer and/or an artist was foolish, and constantly ridiculed my hobbies and my personality. I was bullied in school and called gay because I didn’t have a girlfriend. My friends have hurt me and then abandoned me, one after another, while saying, “I’m not like the others, I’m not going anywhere.” I struggle with anxiety and depression, and I eat poorly to cope with the pain. I feel like I have no one who can hear my voice, no Avenue to find new friends. On top of that, every time I take baby steps to move outside my comfort zone I get ambushed and hurt again. I went to a shooting event with my dad and brother recently to support a customer’s charity, and felt terrible anxiety going it to be around people. The first thing the customer did when we walked in the room was slap me on the belly and ask me when the baby is due.

      I can’t believe that people are deserving of trust anymore. I don’t even enjoy living this life anymore, because all I want is to be left alone with my hobbies so I can be in peace while feeling lonely. It seems like even that is denied to me, as my writing is rejected again and again and I’m forced to go to a job where my sanity erodes with every passing day.

      I don’t even know why I’m writing this. I guess the anonymity to bring online gives me some solace, that at least here I might not be mocked for being honest and sharing how truly awful the hurt has become in my life.

      If it weren’t for my son, there’s no way I could make myself go on. Just so much pain, every day…

  1. Randy,

    In my humble opinion, you are exactly right, both in diagnosis and in recommendations. Those who “cannot trust” are to a great extent the architects of their own misery – greater than they think.

    • Thank you, Charlie, for your feedback. It means a great deal to me coming from you.

      Not just with trust, but in all areas of our lives, learning how to grow from our life experiences rather than being held back by them is critical to our joy and happiness.

      Take care,


      • Charlie and Randy.. thank you for this message.. I find it hard when the person you are trying to trust again .. is the person who took that trust away… Randy.. you said it all.. and from my personal experience,,, i have been struggling.. and at times.. I don’t know what to do ..

      • I look at it this way…..I can trust everyone….. for something….eventually we learn what different individuals can be trusted for – good or bad. My trust has been broken many times from serious childhood, marriage abuses/assaults as well as from a person I should have been able to trust in working through those abuses. So I know what I can trust those people for. For a while I decided I’ll never trust again, it hurts too much and became more reclusive. After some time and processing, now, when I meet new people I don’t automatically think I can’t trust them, but I do exercise some caution and not lay my heart on a platter as I used to. I don’t know that I trust at a level that others are able to but I understand why and try to cultivate friendships that are still meaningful.

      • Good insights Sandra. Trust isn’t a one size fits all situation. We need to use wisdom and good judgment about who we trust and what we trust them with.

        Thanks for adding to the discussion.


    • That is very true but often times the damage is so great that the inability to trust has gone from a conscious to a subconscious problem. In that case it is not so simple as just deciding to trust. If it was was believe me I would be trusting again in a heartbeat. In those cases it takes therapy and time to rebuild the inner world so someone regains the ability to trust.

      • Honestly, I think part of the problem is that there are some people who should NOT be trusted for some things. The key is to learn who you can trust for what and to set boundaries or even leave so you are not in harms way of someone who should not be trusted. The challenge is trying to figure out who you can trust. I think a major reason some of us have sustained such damage is because we were in harms way for an extended period of time. Maybe, we were too young to do anything about it. Maybe, we were too scared or too financially dependent to leave an abusive or unfaithful partner. So, now, we have deep physical and/or emotional wounds. I find it a lot easier to trust when I know I can leave immediately if the person places me in harms way.

      • Just because you have been betrayed by friends or family doesn’t mean that everyone else you meet will do the same things I think we should open our selves to establish new friends and relationships and not be suspicious of someone without any true evidence of them not being a trustworthy person. I think we all have done things that have hurt a relationship somewhere down the road of life and that is where forgiveness comes in… Forgive and forget that is what we have a hard time doing is forgetting! 😂

    • Looking at other people and saying “THEY are responsible for their troubles” is unmanly if you don’t take a hard look at your mirror, SEE YOUR FAULTS, and realize: YOUR FAULTS ARE OF YOUR OWN MAKING IN THE EXACT SAME WAY. They are the architects of their own misery in the same exact way you are responsible for your own shortcomings too, Charlie.

  2. Randy- most people would be hard pressed to name 5 people they trust. This may have no bearing on their propensity to trust. Perhaps not enough folks:

    1. Keep their promises
    2. Do what they say they will do
    3. Put integrity before greed.

    • Good point Barbara! Actions definitely speak louder than words when it comes to building trust.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment,


    • I concur Barbara. Generally, I give people a chance to show me who they are. Once they violate trust it creates barriers, that are hard to overcome. Often those barriers remain because the culprits do not consider it urgent to burden themselves to follow a plan of action to rebuild trust or mend their relationships. They do not heal nor do they heal others.Consequently, they repeat their untrustworthy ways going forward.

  3. A very good article on why it is so difficult to trust people.I think we are also inhibited by our biases in trusting people.These biases are built by our immediate environment,the people around on whom we depend for our opinion about others.In the process,we become judgemental,as a result we don’t understand the beauty of the process of building up trust with a person.Low propensity to trust is a vital factor,as your rightly mention.Erosion of trust is now a global phenomena,and your article is timely.
    Sanjay Verma

    • Sanjay – Thank you for your comments. Erosion of trust is a global epidemic and it’s up to each of us to be trustworthy leaders and individuals to help turn the tide. Thank you for taking the time to add to the discussion.


  4. Reblogged this on and commented:
    “You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can control what happens within you.” Sue Augustine #leadership

    • Im not so certain that I agree with this, I mean your right in that you can not always control what happens to you; but this can mess someone up so badly that the feelings inside causes low self of worth, heart battling with mind, not knowing what thoughts to listen too, and which ones to act upon, and so much more.

      • I agree and I think it’s dangerous to say you can control what happens within you. You can not just decide not to be upset when something bad happens, or decide not to be angry when you are attacked – supressing your emotions in this way is a recipe for disaster.

        Rather than control what is in you, you could just agree with yourself to accept whatever is within you as ok.

        I understand the heart battling mind thing because 99% of the time I feel that I disagree with my emotions – or fail to understand why they are there, or cannot derive logic from them, so they get ignored. But if you ignore them they get louder, so it’s better to deal with them upfront, give them the chance to exist and fade away by themselves, rather than thinking you have to fix them.

    • Motivational speakers use this kind of jargon – lots of positive comments/sayings that often don’t hold true among real human beings when someone is hurting. They should then be able to make the pain stop, no? Did you know that abuse of a child can mess their mental wires (how they think/process). A child often has no control of that and when left untreated, a child becoming an adult doesn’t have the tools to control what happens within themselves. They go by association – (when this or that happens, it means this or that and body goes into associated response mode.) Some things become severely ingrained to the point of not being able to undo the damage. The same thing when a person has been brainwashed over a long period of time or severely traumatized – e.g. soldiers coming home with severe Post Trauma Stress Disorder. Making blanket statements are not helpful. Sue Augustine was doing that. Of course therapists use this line as well to get clients/patients to believe they can control what happens within. Works for some, not for all.

  5. Great blog! I’ve also read Steven Covey’s The Speed of Trust which I teach and highly recommend.

    ~Janette – leadersleavinglegacies.com

    • Thanks for your comments Janette. Covey’s Speed of Trust is a wonderful book and great resource. I highly recommend it.


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  9. I like this article and believe as well that we have to be clear about our expectations. If I have a business relationship with someone trust can be “less comprehensive” than it would be in a personal relationship. Still, there must be common values of what is a decent business behaviour.

    It may sound naive but I have the following rule set for myself which so far worked fine in business:
    1) I trust my instinct and run when it warns me.
    2) If 1) is giving “green light” I insist in establishing clear guidelines
    3) Of course: stick to it.

    Looking forward to reading from you soon.

    • Great insights Brigitte. Many people think trust “just happens” in relationships, but the reality is trust is built through the use of specific behaviors. The basic rules you listed for yourself is an example of someone understanding the importance of being intentional in their approach to building trust.

      Thanks for adding to the discussion. I appreciate your insights.


  10. I can speak from personal experience that while your perspective is wise, it’s much harder than simply just moving forward. The past that haunts is very persuasive in it’s own way. Then we have the entire world, it seems, feeding us all these ideals of infidelity, broken relationships and single parenting. Just look at all the rewards our government gives a single mother vs. a married couple. And in the end, thats the goal of any loving relationship. A pinnicle such as marriage. Trust is not only beaten out by the past. We live in a world where only the truly foolish trust. It saddens me that humanity is so far gone. Finding those who are emotionally healthy enough to do these things is getting harder. Finding those who are worthy of these things is even harder. My appologies for the rant. This just hits very close to home.

    • Hi Daniel,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I can see this topic strikes close to home for you.

      Dealing with past hurts and moving forward in a positive manner can be a long and painful journey. I’ve experienced it myself and something that kept me pushing through the pain was the hope and knowledge that things could, and would, get better.

      My best to you,


  11. I profoundly disagree with the thrust of this article, it reads a little condescending in my opinion. It’s not emotionally immature to be cautious about trusting, if trusting has indeed created major problems in the past. These can emotional, spiritual, financial, physical – basically, every aspect of human experience can be impacted on by trusting someone and being let down. The expression ‘once bitten, twice shy’ most have been quoted for a reason and must resonate, otherwise no one would have heard of it before! To refuse to learn from past mistakes is just silly. To extend trust with people you don’t know well is courting trouble. What are their values and ideals, what do they aspire to? How emotionally intelligent are they? Are they very judgemental – are they judging you incorrectly? It’s a mine field, and you should tread carefully, else the past goes on repeating itself. I think it’s important to try to trust, but to give it whole heartedly all the time, no. Beyond basic trust – someone will stop for you at a crossing when the lights are in your favour (not guaranteed everytime) – you should exercise caution. Of course, all of the above and all previous posts are subjective opinion, important not to lose sight of that one – they are not facts. What is a fact, from an evolutionary perspective is that what loosely gets called paranoia these days, would have been a life saver in years gone past. The rustle in the undergrowth – the wind, or maybe a predatory animal about to strike! I know which side of the trust debate I’d rather be one. This analogy works in the modern world also, I think.

    • Thanks for you comments David. I agree with your point that a person should exercise good judgement and caution when deciding whether or not to trust another person. The three reasons I outlined simply explore common causes why people tend to withhold trust, not whether or not it’s wise to trust another.

      Thanks for taking the time to add your insights,


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  14. All the people I trusted are now dead. It sucks living a life where trusting someone is nothing more than leaving an opening for someone to betray you.

    • Hi Michael, thanks for your comments. It can be risky to trust someone because how the person responds is out of our control. My encouragement to you is to extend trust to those who have demonstrated trustworthiness to you. If the other person has a track record of trustworthiness then you can be more assured they won’t abuse your trust.

      Best regards,


      • lol I think the message posted by amityvillefun about all the people he trusts being dead is a joke in reference to the scary movie “The Amityville Horror.” 🙂

  15. The whole act of earning someone’s trust is crucial to creating mutual respect. If you don’t go through this process, what’s the basis of the interaction between two people? I mean, it’s sane to expect both people show their true selves at a certain point. With the whole masquerade going on, this requires time, effort and doubt. It is a core value to expect from your fellow man/woman to work him/herself towards earnest interaction. Otherwise, why bother? It’s a give and take matter. I don’t promote the idea of opening up to all, or to let others think they have an “issue” with trust. If you notice the other person is throwing himself at you, without expecting you to show your integrity, then that person is not fit. You then either love and teach, or you speak bluntly the truth exercising tough love. The latter is the most effective. Don’t be fooled into believing you should weaken your values just because others haven’t reached that stage yet. Experience is a true teacher; stay true to your gut feeling. Someone has it right in this forum: honest people are very difficult to find, let that not put you off track.

  16. I’ve always been a person others can trust but It always takes a long time for me to fully trust other people. Every time I need to trust someone else I get let down. Half the time I don’t trust people enough to ask questions about a certain task, because I think there going to not care enough, or lie to me. It’s taken me up to a year sometimes longer to trust someone. I’ve never been one to ask questions. I always end up relying on my self to help me. I’m only 18, and I know I’m going to have to trust people but I just don’t know how.

    • Hi Brandon,

      The good news is that learning to trust others is a skill you can develop. You’ve already got an idea of where to start – ask questions that will help you assess the person’s competence and character. “Have you done this task before?” “Are there any questions you have?” That will help you gauge how competent the person is to carry out the work. You can also try to get a sense of their character by looking at their past behavior. Do they meet deadlines? Do they keep their promises? What is their reputation with other people?

      This article (http://leadingwithtrust.com/2013/04/28/trust-works-four-keys-to-building-lasting-relationships/) may also be of help to you.

      Take care,


  17. I’ve had issues with trusting people for decades. I don’t trust anyone;parents spouse, children. I know they hide things from me, things I have a right to know, things that impact on my responsibilities. It’s not easier just to trust no-one but I can’t see another way. I’m 62 now and have always had this problem. I would say that years ago I would have trusted my wife to do the right thing and carried out my wishes if I’d ended up on life support or such. Now I don’t trust her with that. (I ride motorcycles and I’m realistic)!
    My inability to trust others would also appear to have cost me friends over the years. I see others all engaging with one another yet few engage with me.
    You say that trusting others can be learned but how do you reconcile that when people are basically dishonest about most things in life that involve trust from others?

    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for sharing your heart-felt thoughts. A positive fact is that you are aware of your reticence to trust others. Many people aren’t aware of their low propensity to trust and assume the lack of low trust in their relationships is the fault of others.

      A couple thoughts for you to consider:

      1. Assume others have good intentions. The tone of your comments makes me think you assume people are hiding the truth from you, are untrustworthy, etc. Often times our assumptions about others act as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because you assume people are being untrustworthy, you’re hyper vigilant to pinpoint any possible behavior that confirms your assumptions.

      2. Start small. Find something small you can trust someone with and see if they prove trustworthy. Then next time trust them with something a little more important and keep repeating that process as long as the person is being trustworthy. You may have a naturally low propensity to trust others and it will help you feel more secure if you start small and then work to bigger things.

      3. Clarify expectations. Sometimes the reason for low trust between people is they have different expectations about the situation at hand.

      4. Finally, don’t be afraid to talk with a professional counselor. Talking to a neutral third party, especially a trained professional, can help you gain insights into the dynamics of your relationships and what you can do to improve them.

      I hope these suggestions were helpful. Thanks for your honest insights.


      • Yes hi I’m having same problem with trusting someone as well I’m in relationship now I’m having difficult to understand my partner he keep telling me that I have trust issues n I’m accusing him doing something. I’m telling him that I trust him he still are saying that I dont trust him I do need a solution

  18. My lack of trust is destroying my life. My husband said I need help. I question everything he does. My insecurities and jealousy have gotten out of hand.

    • Hi Emma. If there is any good to experience from this situation it is that you recognize some changes are needed. I encourage you to speak with a professional counselor who could help you through the process of building trust in your relationships.

      Take care,


  19. I have trust issues and I know that I do. I have gotten betrayed by some friends in the past as well. Was it just disappointment? No. I was hurt emotionally and there is still trauma for me when I think about trusting someone. I explain that to people who wanted to be my friends. Then they say that I need to trust them until I see that they are not trustworthy. But how can I possibly do that? Sure, I’ll trust them until I get hurt again and realize, “oh, this person was not trustworthy”? I’m not ready for that. It takes a while for me to actually build trust in someone yet some people expect me to trust them 100% after meeting them a few times for a few months? Should I trust those people? Also, if you were reluctant if you said you’ll do something because you know it is not the right thing then want to stop with that plan but then pressured to do so because of the “you promised” does that mean that you should still do so? I’m so lost on what to do. I do agree on your reasons on why I can’t trust people. At least I do have one very good friend who I can trust absolutely. So is it that I have trust issues or that I have just not met a person who is trustworthy besides that one good friend?

    • Thanks for your comments.

      Trust in relationships can be a very complex issue. Everyone has a different propensity to trust. Some trust others immediately while others don’t trust until a person has proved himself trustworthy over a period of time.

      If you have a low propensity to trust, it can be helpful to start by trusting someone in low risk situations and then gradually trust them more as they continue to prove themselves trustworthy.

      Take care,


  20. I find it difficult to trust people with anything emotional or personal to me, but I trust them in other ways. For me, it is because there have been many experiences where I have been unable to conceal my suffering and others have perhaps been a little cold about it, which intensifies the suffering. Because I’m used to this and I haven’t had many experiences where it was different, I just find it difficult to let my guard down. I appreciate the wisdom of trust, but it’s a difficult thing to do.

    I personally find that I do eventually trust, but it takes a long time for me to do so, and therefore it takes a long time (years) to bond with new friends on anything more than a superficial level. After that, if the trust is betrayed (I admit to feeling pain and am told I “shouldn’t”, for example, or I’m told to “get over it”) then I find it nigh impossible to re-instil trust in them and they are moved to an emotional distance. This is even despite the fact I can see that it is their insecurities that have been piqued. I don’t know why I should trust that there insecurities will not hurt me again?

    Some positive experiences of trust would be good to help me at least get some believable evidence inside of me that people can be trusted with my emotions, but I have no idea how to do this. I have been in therapy, but my brain creates the loophole of “yeah, but they’re not a normal person. They’ve been trained” so I continue not to trust people who are not actually working in the profession.

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  22. Randy,

    I find it difficult to trust even my family members. Whenever i have to trust dem i am frightened of getting hurt. what should i do?


  23. Randy,
    I find it difficult to trust my family members. I am 18+. Whenever i hav to trust dem a strange fear holds me back. what may be the reason? I would be grateful if u provide me some advice…

    • Hi Richa, thanks for leaving a comment. What specifically are you afraid of when it comes to trusting your family members?

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  25. Randy,

    My personality lends itself to trust people initially. Part of that is due to the fact that I know my own character is that of someone who is trustworthy. I often find myself meeting men whose personalities are such that it takes them time to develop trust for a potential partner. They seem to be constantly evaluating and hence expecting me to be somehow untrustworthy. This often leads to them holding back or changing their stripes. I inevitably get let down because the person who I thought I could trust loses trustworthiness when they seem to not trust me without reason.

    Is it likely that people whom are more trusting are in fact more trustworthy?


    • Hi Christine,

      Thank you for such a thoughtful question.

      The short answer to your question is yes…possibly (how’s that for a definitive answer!?). You’re talking about two different dynamics of trust in a relationship: propensity to trust and trustworthiness.

      Propensity to trust is the degree to which someone is willing to trust (make themselves vulnerable based on positive expectations of another) another person. Trustworthiness is a person’s consistency in using behaviors that engender trust (displaying competence, integrity, care & concern, and dependability). Both propensity to trust and trustworthiness influence each other.

      That’s not to say that someone who has a low propensity to trust is untrustworthy. The two variables can influence each other but also be independent of each other.

      Hope that helps answer your question.


      • ABSOLUTELY, christine!!! It goes back to how a hallmark of human behavior/thought is to assume that others are similar to ourselves…

        Another interesting tidbit is that smarter people are more likely to trust others, and this has been shown in scientific studies. The proposed explanation is that smarter people are more likely to trust others because they can more effectively assess whether someone actually has a reason to betray you.

  26. You guys have said it all. I just want to advise that, if we must trust, let’s do it with caution. Trust goes with believing one’s story or one’s capacity in handling a situation. Without believe, it’s hard to trust. Believe comes from thinking out one’s ability to do a thing. While trust comes from the heart. So, think out people’s ability first before you trust them. Believe or critical assessment of one’s ability to do a thing should come before trust. I am by no means claiming absolute analysis of the concept “trust”, I stand to be criticized and be corrected.

  27. I find myself stressing a lot about who to trust sometimes. It’s terrible to grow up with an emotionally abusive mother, father that was an alcoholic, and brothers that constantly waged war with one another. I relied on myself growing up. I met a friend who trusted me very much. He has extended his hand out to me and offered a home for me too. I live here now and I feel happier than ever before. I just find myself waiting for the day this happiness will get ripped away and I will back to my miserable life before. I don’t fully trust his family and him but everyday I try to understand the concept a little better. As someone, who’s trust was constantly shattered growing up, I don’t know what it means to have a trustful and reliable relationship. I never witness a real trustful relationship, only those that seemed like it in the beginning that turned into a way to manipulate. I hope I can understand what it really means to “trust” someone again. I long for that feeling and understanding.

    • Hi Melinda. Thanks for your heartfelt comments. You CAN experience high-trust relationships. Not to overstate the obvious, but the key is to use wisdom in deciding in whom you place your trust. I encourage you to read my other articles about the ABCD trust model. The ABCD trust model provides an easy to understand framework of what trustworthiness looks like in a relationship.

      Best wishes,


  28. Belief that people will hurt me has caused my distrust. In high school, I had to endure a smoke bombing that no shrink out there has actually listened to me about regarding how much harm it really did to my sense of safety, and don’t get me started about how the Boston Marathon bombings amplified that about 1,000 times.

    I’ve also been betrayed. The first full-time job I had, the very first holiday party I went to had an open bar at a hotel. I expressed concern that somebody would get drunk and was assured by one of the senior partners that there would be no incidents. There were incidents, and somebody got drunk as a skunk. I never forgave them for that.

    The truth of the matter for me is that while I am looking for a career change, it’s unlikely I’ll get one. Experience has taught me that people are out only to hurt, so even though I should be networking, I refuse to because body armor hasn’t become standard issue and I refuse to go into a crowd anymore without it.

    • Hi David, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

      It sounds like you’ve had some difficult experiences that have shaped your willingness to trust others. It happens to all of us to some degree or another.

      A key question to ask yourself is “How is this belief/attitude/action serving me?” I’ve found it helpful to ask myself that question because it causes me to think critically about whether my current choices/behavior are serving me in a positive way. Perhaps it may help you as well.

      Take care,


  29. I am having such a hard time trying to do this right now, sometimes I’ll be fine and like right now..I try to shake it off and I get so caught up. I’m hot and cold about everything and sometimes it’s rather stay cooped in the house, because I just don’t trust people. I feel like I’m being lied to constantly.

  30. Trust is dependancy,I wish to be indipendant of others as much as possible.Trust is in vain,meaning that to much dependance is the assumption of trust.Even though I depend on others they have rights to their own indipendance.Indipendance is happyness,freedom,self sufficiancy,ect…I trust in my self.

  31. Ever heard of the term “Victim Blaming”? This is where the victim of a wrongful act is held partially, or entirely, responsible for the wrong that befell them. It is a stance chosen by people who wish to avoid culpability.

    I’d like people to hold in mind the concept of victim blaming, whilst reading what I am about to say…
    You talk about trust as “vital to healthy relationships” and that “survival is impossible without it”. You also state that people who find it difficult to trust others ought to move beyond this into becoming more trusting in order to have a happy and successful future. Now, I am not going to disagree that trust is, indeed, vitally important within any healthy relationship. I would add that lack of trust is a big killer of relationships.

    However, what I object to is the victim blaming tone of your article. I would assume that you did not intend the article to come across in this manner, but it appears to me that any article is open to a multitude of interpretations, and that when a person chooses to write an article in which it is written…

    “Whether it’s a naturally low propensity to trust, having unrealistic expectations, or letting our past hurts hold us back from trusting others, we have to move beyond these reasons if we want to have trust-filled relationships in the future”…

    There is a risk of coming across as somewhat victim-blaming. Also, your replies to some of the comments here appear to give somewhat conflicting or inaccurate information. For instance, you tell one person who has issues with trust that he can “get a sense of a person’s character by looking at their past behaviour”. All well and good if you know that person’s past. What if you know nothing? Or what if the person lies about their past? Added to this, a person could have been reliable in the past, but has now changed and can no longer be trusted; or vice-versa, a person could have been unreliable in the past, but had a “wake-up call”, and has now changed to become more reliable. Trust is NOT a clear-cut thing, and nor are evaluations of whether a person is “trustworthy” or not…

    The reasons that you provide for people’s inability to trust do ring true, and are well-observed. However, it is where you place emphasis upon the person who finds it hard to trust, and THEIR need to change, that things start to fall apart. What about the understanding that it “takes two to tango”? Is there not a two-way issue of responsibility, and reciprocality, when it comes to trust? Surely the person who cannot be trusted is also in need of change? What about THEIR part in creating situations where lack of trust exists?

    You see, in describing why people find it hard to trust, you emphasize the fact that it is nearly always their personal experiences that lead to inability to trust. Low propensity to trust, and past hurts, are really interconnected. Our experiences of other people and how they interact with us whilst we are growing up have a HUGE influence upon our ability to trust others. The more a person comes across other people who demonstrate that they CANNOT be trusted, the more said person will find it hard to trust. And THIS is why I suggest that your article can appear a little victim-blaming, even if it was not intended to…

    The developing child has very little control over many people with whom it has contact. Kids do not get t choose their family – parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins… Kids also have only limited control over who their family has as friends (they may choose their own friends, but not who parents, siblings, etc. have as friends). If a child grows up in a family environment where key figures – especially caregivers – are untrustworthy, then that child has little choice but to become self-sufficient, or fail to thrive. A toddler can NOT up and move house if he or she has an unreliable parent. Instead, the child has to make do, and get by on self-sufficiency, because very early on, the child has discovered that his/her own relative(s) is/are untrustworthy. This is NOT the child’s fault in any way, shape or form. Indeed, the child had NO choice over such an outcome. Even if it may be the case, to openly suggest that “having a low propensity to trust can hold you back from experiencing true joy…” is somewhat cruel. A person who has already been wounded does not need somebody stating the obvious! To add that such people may only give trust “grudgingly” is also a wee bit insensitive and overcritical – OF COURSE such people only give trust after a long period of time, and of getting to know a person. The very fact that they do so at all should be considered a miracle of the resilience and warmth of the human spirit, NOT criticized as “grudging”.

    You are a person whose position, and likely whose training, require that you have a good understanding of interpersonal relations. Thus, I would have expected you to appreciate that ALL humans develop in such a way that early childhood experiences impact upon later life. The way we interact with our earliest caregivers – usually our parents – and the way they respond to us, forms a template by which we gauge, and upon which we model, future relationships. Our early caregivers – our family, and parents especially – form role-models, against whose behaviours and actions we compare those of people we encounter later in life. Put simply, our earliest experiences are ones which colour the way we later see life.

    So, if our earliest experiences of people – people who are supposed to love us and care for us – is that they actually are untrustworthy, and let us down, then it makes total sense to expect that we will continue to be concerned that this is the way all people act. This is particularly so if we continue to have relationships with people who reinforce our belief that people ARE untrustworthy, because they continue to let us down. At the end of the day, humans can only understand that which they have experienced. If you have never experienced something, how do you have any idea what it is like? Thus, people who have been continually let down in life by untrustworthy others WILL naturally default to a position of wariness, and of being slow to trust. They know NO different.

    Surely we ought also to be asking the question WHY ARE SOME PEOPLE SO HARD TO TRUST? It is NOT as simple as saying that fault for lack of trust lies with people who find it hard to trust. Instead, we should stop to consider the fact that some people REALLY DO deserve not to be trusted. People who lie. People who hide their past. People who keep secrets. People who say one thing but do another. Hypocrites. Fakers. People who manipulate others into lying or keeping secrets on their behalf. Bullies. Abusers. Criminals. Con-artists… Each and every one of us knows that such people DO exist, and some of us may even have come across them in life. Sometimes, these people can even be our own FAMILY MEMBERS, SO-CALLED FRIENDS OR ASSOCIATES.

    Liars, fakes, abusers, secrets… all of these are not always as easy to spot as some people might like to think. I grew up in a family where BOTH parents were liars, and kept secrets, and behaved hypocritically. Growing up like this is scary, because it provides you with no role-models upon whom to model healthy relationships. Worse was the fact that, to the outside world, my parents presented a veneer of respectability. You see, untrustworthy people try ever so hard to fool people into thinking they can be trusted! Just look at the way so many people are duped by con-artists. People who wish to fool us into trusting them when actually we ought not to can use any multitude of techniques to do so. This can range from posing as someone they are not, to outright threatening us should we spot that they are lying, and try to reveal the lie. Just look at the way domestic violence perpetrators go endlessly through cycles of abuse – lulling the victim into a false sense of security, lashing out, then apologizing when caught doing something wrong, then going off to do something wrong all over again… And so the cycle repeats! With people who seriously are NOT to be trusted, a similar sort of operation may be seen.

    My point is that untrustworthy people often seek to gain something by kidding others that they can be trusted. Thus, it is in their best interests that their untrustworthiness not be revealed. Such people will go to extraordinary lengths in order to dupe others. So, with this in mind, maybe it is possible for you to be a little more understanding and empathic towards the position of people who find it very hard to trust. Yes, I agree that it benefits them to learn to trust; but the suggestion should not be made in a judgmental way. Such people – like me – already know jus how hurtful and damaging a lack of trust may be. It may well be that some of us desperately want to be able to trust more easily. BUT… there is a fine line between genuine trust, and gullibility. The suggestion that trust should be EARNED is NOT necessarily a bad one. You, yourself, state that people should be evaluated to gauge if they are trustworthy or not – this is implied in the suggestion that a person collects “background information” to see if past behaviour shows trustworthiness. In this sense, it is clear that to some extent we both must agree that trust is NOT an immediate thing – that there are criteria which a person must meet in order to be considered trustworthy.

    With this in mind, might it not be useful to pen an article that looks at what makes a person UNTRUSTWORTHY, and whether such individuals can ever change, in order to become more trustworthy in the future? It would be good to see both sides of the coin discussed.

    • Hello Ella,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Your message illustrates the depth and complexity that can be involved in regards to trust in a relationship.

      You are correct that my intention was not to engage in victim-blaming. My intention was to point out that the decision to trust another person rests solely with each of us as individuals. It’s my choice…and your choice…to decide who we want to trust. You are also correct in stating that some people are untrustworthy and not deserving of our trust, which is why it’s important for all of us to understand what constitutes trustworthy behavior along with our own propensity to trust.

      As you point out, the factors that influence our propensity to trust are many and complex. It can be extremely difficult to overcome life experiences that have caused us to have a low propensity to trust.

      Regardless of our past life experiences, the decision to trust another is completely under our control. You suggested we ask the question “Why are some people so hard to trust?” The trouble I have with that question is you are shifting the responsibility of YOUR decision to trust to that other person. It’s your decision to trust or not. The other person has the responsibility of being trustworthy if he/she wants to have your trust. I suggest reframing your question to “Is this person trustworthy and worthy of my trust.” If they are, then trust them. If they aren’t, then don’t.

      I hope that clarifies my point of view. Thanks again for your thought-provoking message.


  32. You can trust people to be exactly who they are. Never tell anyone who hasn’t proved themselves anything that’s important. That way you don’t leave openings for problems, unintentional or otherwise.

  33. It’s easy to say all this but we live in a world where trusting freely and openly can lead to painful unhealthy destructive states within a person especially if they are very sensitive . Many People are manipulative and will use , abuse and get there own needs fulfilled from others especially if they sense vulnerability . So, this article is good in theory but cannot translate into reality . Shane

    • Hi Shane,

      I respectfully disagree with you. Trust is the glue that holds relationships together. Without it we are forced into a state of self-protection, fear, and cynicism.

      You are correct that some people are manipulative and will take advantage of other people’s trust. Just because those kinds of people exist doesn’t mean you should have an attitude of distrust towards everyone. We need to be wise and discerning in who we trust, which is why it’s important to be self-aware of the reasons why we may find it hard to trust others.

      Thanks for adding to the discussion.


      • Well I would agree with you that a society that can work together for the common good of society is fueled by social trust and more beneficial to everyone. You’ve described the problem but you haven’t made an attempt to describe a solution that takes into consideration the proverbial system or box that we are all in or the dynamics of society. We are dealing with the evolution of human society that carries with it a lot of baggage.

        Have you by chance read any of Philip Zimbardo’s work called The Lucifer Effect? The reason the answer to this problem continues to elude us is because the problem is very difficult. It’s never been solved in the history of civilization hence all the tribalism and wars.

        Kudos to you for being a visionary idealist but I don’t think we’ve ever arrived at the type of idealist visions you’re describing. Perhaps if you could start talking about how to pragmatically get there not just the destination this blog would be more valuable?

  34. Randy,

    To be honest with you, reasonable trust to have depends greatly on the situation. Trusting family members is different than trusting the sales person at the auto lot than trusting your job etc. etc.

    Here’s the bottom line in most situations people are most concerned with their personal interests in things. When one person’s personal interest conflicts with another person’s (I want the last piece of pizza, I’m still hungry! No, *I* want the last pizza I’m still hungry!) both people are interested in satisfying their hunger. In fact, the urge to satisfy one’s hunger is instinctive and designed to compel us to survive.

    In most situations in society, the same problem exists. The car salesman wants to sell you a car at a higher price to make better commission because he wants his kid to get into a better college to have a better future. I might want a better deal so that my car payment is lower so I can save up more money for my kid to go to a better college.

    I do believe most people are not out to let other people down. I do believe most people don’t revel in other people’s misery but what most people don’t do is consider the side effects of their actions and put the shoe on the other foot. They don’t consider what standards they ought to hold themselves up to for the greater good. Maybe they’re even disillusioned. “I’ve always tried to do the morally good thing and always been taken advantage of.”

    You and many of your readers don’t understand how complex of a social issue this is. Ayn Rand wrote about this extensively and arrived at what we called Objectivism as a result. Objectivism tends to lead to less trust socially in the sense of doing good things because reciprocity is a social convention.

    The real social problem that we have today is that people like you and me have become more educated and aware of sociology and psychology to the point that we no longer run on the default conventions on auto pilot. We actually have trained our minds to think so that we can make conscious choices. We are free to choose. Now that’s an interesting proposition isn’t it?

    Because the next thing is, what is someone who becomes aware of that (advanced sales training) takes advantage of someone who isn’t aware. Is that ethical? Is that moral? It’s not as cut and dry as you think. Black and white thinking is one of the most prominent cognitive biases.

    • Hi Alan,

      I appreciate your perspectives and you make some good points.

      Trust is a deep, multi-faceted topic and I do appreciate the social complexity involved in how trust is manifested (or not) in relationships.

      You make a critical point about the importance of education and how it empowers you to make conscious choices about who, how, and when you trust others. I advocate an approach of reasoned-trust, not blind trust in any and all circumstances.

      Thanks for adding your insights to this discussion. I appreciate it.


  35. Reading this article is, for me, the first step of trying to trust someone again. Even if the person that never hurt me, I am stuck in that mindset where if I give too much trust into that person, I am only doing it to feel comfort within myself. I been hurt my people (I cannot really give you a number), and now I am just in that mindset of “Anyone can hurt you, so I cannot trust them.” I want to get help about it (I REALLY do), but my question is, How?

    • Hello Chyna,

      Learning to trust again can be a difficult process. One way to begin is to start trusting people with small things in low-risk situations. As they show themselves trustworthy you can begin to trust them with more serious things.

      Best regards,


  36. I agree. Been hurt in now I’m having a feelings of mistrust again towards my son and that is unfair. This will lead him into his future mistrust ing his loved ones.

  37. Words can be supportive, or be vapor. We carry in our hearts one aspect of life.Our actions may be a world apart from our heartthoughts. Since we are all going to die, trust is not about others,
    it is about us. To love, or not to love, is the question. Absent trust and respect, love is non-existent.
    It is one thing to make a living with words, it is entirely another to offer help that another person can actually apply in their life today. Some choose fear. I choose love. Talk to me.

  38. Hello,
    I believe that being a trust-worthy person is one of my best characteristics, and it draws strangers and others to me. I would love to trust everyone but I know that it’s not realistic. It just hurts when people are hypocritical and I do my best to have a forgiven heart or try to trust them with things as general as simple conversation. I’m intelligent enough to use my common sense with people that are spiteful or those that just thieve off of gossip about things shared with them.
    I hope that it will be as simple as to when I’m able to change my environment that I will be surrounded with individuals like myself. I just feel guilty or I wonder if I’m stupid to attempt to be nice to individual whom aren’t able to be nice themselves. I don’t want to change but I wonder if it will make me happier or content to avoid being nice to certain individuals; like my mother, friends that I know need comfort, and/or people that I must appreciate for the things they are helping me with at this time.
    I’m convinced that I’m content, but it’s very lonely trying to stay by myself, praying, and waiting for better too come. Is it true that some can’t be treated with kindness or is kindness, forgiveness, and trust all three different things and how do I separate them. Thank you for your time.

    • Hi Milinda,

      Thank you for sharing your heartfelt comments.

      Well, kindness, forgiveness, and trust are three distinct factors of our relationships.

      Your overarching question seemed to be whether or not you should continue to be kind to others even though they don’t always return that kindness to you. In that regard, my viewpoint is yes, be kind to others. I believe that is taking the higher road and ultimately you will feel better about yourself knowing that you’ve treated everyone with kindness and respect.

      Having said that, I think we also have to be aware of toxic relationships and make sure we have appropriate boundaries in place to protect us from emotional harm. In some instances that may mean limiting the amount of time you spend with toxic people.

      I hope that is helpful. Best wishes to you.


  39. I struggle with depression and this evening thought a light hearted kids film might help to cheer me up. I chose Toy Story 3. In reality it was a serious subject matter that just used a kids medium. I feel my trust was betrayed and not cheered up at all. Looked like a kitten at first glance but wasn’t. That’s the problem, you never know where you’re at and i’m getting very very tired of this sort of result. All I want to do is bloody relax!

  40. When a women has been cheated on by 3 out of 4 relationships, is it normal to not wantbto trust again? Especially to the guy that promised to make it right and apologized but went back on his word. I love him but we can not move on without trust. He says I didn’t forgive, but I did. Am I living in the past? I’m so confused. Help…..please!!

    • Hi Leslie,

      Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship. Ultimately, a person’s trustworthiness can be judged by their behavior, not their words. I don’t think it’s “living in the past” to forgive someone but withhold trust because the person has proved themself untrustworthy.

      Best wishes,



  42. Wow sounds exactly like me I want to trust and love again with my current partner but after a major break up I feel I can’t let go but want too.thank you I need help in realise it now

  43. You cannot trust anybody! These people who think they can are just leaving themselves open to abuse. People are to be admired and observed at a safe distance. You need to protect yourself. You can be friendly. You should always help other people. Everyone needs a sense of purpose. But trust is something that takes a very long time to establish. And even then your frame of reference is just illusive. Maybe on a superficial level trust might be doled out to an extent, but where do you draw the line between turn the other cheek and a fool doesn’t learn from his own mistakes? I’m a survivor. I’m a loner. But I also understand that I have to help other people otherwise I’m here for no reason other than just to exist and consume. This world is temporary. You have to make the best with what you have been given. I choose to help people through my profession and through random charitable and compassionate acts. But I will never leave myself open to being vulnerable to another person by choice. I will always hope for the best but experience teaches me to expect the worse. And life is only a collection of your experiences…

  44. This article is very helpful to me. I loved the part that explains that trust is a gift that should be extended in any new situation, not something to be earned and worked for. In a new relationship the hope and best possible expectation is that the new situation will be different, better, healthier, and more fulfilling than the last. It’s not at all fair to the new person to make them suffer for the transgressions of the last partner. So, with all that being said, this is what I learned reading this article. I took time to reflect on my relationship and how I was making my current partner work for trust, when in fact, he’s done nothing to deserve that treatment. To say the least, no matter what, we can’t control our partners, we can’t make them never hurt us. We can only show up to love them and let them love us in return. If things don’t work out, they just don’t. Thanks for the help, I really needed it.

  45. Life is a series of experiences. You need to learn from your experience. I look at myself and analyze what I’ve done wrong to let this happen. I did it to myself! I let them shmooze me! I made myself vulnerable! What exacerbates the situation is money. If people find out you have it they will tell you what they think you want to hear. Whether it’s friendships, business relationships, or more personal relationships money skews peoples integrity. And if you don’t have money then some other “useful manipulation” soon rears it’s ugly head. I’ve learned not to extend myself too far. It’s like going to a casino with $1000.00 and knowing that you’re probably going to lose it anyway. So you just try to enjoy it for what it’s worth and not expect anything.
    I’ve worked very hard in my life and have achieved great financial success. People around me treat me like I’m something special. I’m still the same giving caring regular guy I’ve always been. I know when people are blowing smoke at me. I do great things for other people. I have the means and feel a responsibility to help other people. Some don’t even realize what I do. I will always have a sense of purpose. I will always have a clear conscience. But I’ve learned numerous different times in a plethora of situations that I can’t dangle my vulnerabilities in front of people. I value my security and freedom. As I’ve stated previously, “Where do you draw the line between turn the other cheek and a fool doesn’t learn from his own mistakes?”
    Well I’ve run out of cheeks and if I don’t learn from my own mistakes then I’m bound to repeat them.

    • Thanks for adding that perspective Gregory. Trusting others isn’t an all or nothing proposition. We don’t give people blanket trust in our lives (well, very few people). We need to be smart about the trust we extend based on the person’s track record of trustworthiness and the dynamics of the particular situation.

      Take care,


  46. I am struggling with trust due to some of my past experiences. I really want to let go of my fears with my fiance as she doesn’t deserve it nor has given me reason not to trust her. I’ve been told trust is the foundation of love and without out it blah blah blah. I’ve also heard you can’t really love someone without trust. I don’t know the quotes word for word but am sure most of us have heard them all before. What I have to say to that is, if this is true… why do we not trust our children but still love them with everything we are? The ones we love the most or should love the most is our own children, but yet parents put tracking devices on their vehicles or monitor their phone conversations, etc. This is because we trust and love them and can’t have one without the other? If it’s so easy to trust and necessary to trust to have a real relationship, then why can’t we trust our children or loved ones not to lie to us about their whereabouts or who their texting? I think trust is earned just like we’ve told our children while they are growing up. They break our trust and because of that we lose our love for them? No… so, it is possible to love and not trust someone right? I love my fiance with all my heart but struggle with fear of being hurt by being cheated on or lied to. People constantly cheat on their partners in today’s society, rather they are married, engaged or dating, it really doesn’t matter. “Cheaters” even have their own show on TV. So, with all this going on in the world today we are supposed to instantly trust someone and if not we don’t really love them? Please help me to understand because I really need to learn to trust again but am afraid to let my guard down only to be hurt in the end.

    • Hello Scott,

      I appreciate how real and honest you are being in your post.

      Love and trust are two different constructs. As you correctly pointed out, you can love someone even if you don’t trust them. And the opposite is true as well; you can trust someone by not love them.

      I think the real question you are asking is how critical is trust to loving someone in the context of marriage. I can tell you from personal experience of being married 29 years, as well as from all the research I’ve read about marriage, that trust is the foundation of any healthy marriage.

      Trust is dependent on risk. If there isn’t any risk involved, there isn’t a need for trust.

      In marriage, the risks are many: Will my spouse love me unconditionally? Will my spouse love me when I’m old and fat? Will my spouse always be there to support me? Will my spouse cheat on me?

      Marriage is fraught with risk, and it’s those risks that you are struggling with now.

      As you mentioned, trust can be earned over time as someone proves him/herself trustworthy. Has your fiance ever proved herself untrustworthy? If not, then you have to explore why you feel you can’t trust her. A person’s “propensity to trust” (how much they naturally trust or don’t trust others) is a complex issue. Our propensity to trust is shaped by our life experiences, personality, and the context of the situation.

      I would suggest you get connected with a good counselor who could help you explore your low propensity to trust and what drives it. You can learn how to trust others and experience the fullness of relationships that you deserve.

      Best wishes,


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  48. I have very good reasons to not trust people; I’m French-Canadian, not that there’s anything wrong with it, but I have a strong French accent while speaking English and some people don’t like that, they bash the French. Then I have a hearing disability and it doesn’t help, and I’m gay. Being gay has led many people to openly be hostile against me, in workplaces, and many fake friends dumped me once they found out I was gay. I don’t talk openly about this in public, but it’s clear that for many that has been a divisive issue that made it clear why it’s so hard for me to have friends. I’ve done nothing against them, so why would they hate me for being gay? It’s none of their business. Then add the fact that they badmouth and in doing so, they force complete strangers to form negative thoughts about me that are not true. The world is insane, no wonder why there’s so much hate in the world, too much time is spent on trivial issues. And so, this is why I don’t trust people. I got death threats for being gay, for being French and I lost countless jobs for my hearing disability that isn’t even major, I was able to work. The problem with all this, is it’s important to feel loved and be part of a community, otherwise we just don’t care anymore, it’s garbage.

    • Hi Joe,

      I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. It takes courage to share your experiences and I appreciate it.

      A thought that comes to mind is that you have to be true to yourself. You can’t control what other people think, say, or do, but you can control how you act and react to others.

      Surrounding yourself with people who are trustworthy and supportive of you is important. I hope you have people in your life who can walk alongside you in this manner.

      My best,


  49. Thai was a good read. I was having trouble figuring out why exactly I’m afraid to get into any relationships. I fall into the #1 and #3 reasons. I always kinda knew issues from past relationships most likely had something to do with it. But my only her problem is turning away and saying “screw it, I don’t need them” to myself when things don’t work out. Oh and I’m a bit of a grudge holder. Mainly because I was always the laid back person that just wanted everyone to get along. And I was always the first to “extend the olive branch” whether I was right or wrong. As I got older I got tired of being that person and became a bit cold. I guess because people who knew me just expected that of me, especially my now ex wife. I always felt she took advantage of that. All that being said I’m looking to 2018 to maybe try and change things up a bit but I’m not sure how. Over the past decade I’ve become so very guarded with my emotions and feelings.

  50. After getting burned by my entire family (and most recently my daughter and her husband), I certainly will no longer trust anyone. She convinced me that it would be fine if I wanted to leave the state I was living in and live with them temporarily until work could be found. It was really only so they could use me for what little money I had and leave me without. I am surprised they didn’t throw me out on the streets, literally. Yes, it’s that bad. So, now I am job hunting (with no car and no bus service) and trying to find somewhere to live.

    • Hi Lissy,

      I’m sorry to hear about the challenges you’re facing. My prayer is that God will show you a path forward and your trust and faith in others will be renewed.

      My best,


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  52. I find it hard to stay close to anyone … Trust erodes with time spent and I find that very depressing.

    Maybe I have unrealistic expectation of friends or maybe I just have too low self esteem…

    Its too much for me to dig out the most bottom reason but this has led me avoiding social situations

    • Hello Ali,

      As you read in my article, having unrealistic expectations is one of the main reasons people find it hard to trust others. Having unrealistic expectations, particularly unspoken ones, of how another person should act usually sets the relationship up for failure. Try adjusting your expectations and see how that works for you.


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  54. Why people don’t easily trust others can be easily understood with these three points. but i think the last point is crucial, as we often see and hear the losses and dangers created by the selfish persons. yes it is true that a lot of people are untrustworthy in the society and to trust them could create havoc in one’s life but to distrust, all people is equally bad because in that case, your life will be devoid of any joy and happiness.

  55. Sorry to be a negative here, but I feel times as always have changed. I dont know if I fit a category or not, but I do not trust or put too much stock into what people say. This is not to say that all people are untrustworthy, Id like to believe most people are. The world is super competitive, for lack of better analogy, and I think it has created or lead people to become a little dishonest. I use just about any politician here as an example, your government, your family. After all its a me 1st society; am I wrong. Look what we are exposed to on a daily basis…Lies, we are taught to distrust, this man or this woman, for…well you already know most of the reasoning. My solution…I love and try to fill my heart with love. I find that with an inner peace and a love filled disposition, you will attract what you need. Not as easy as it sounds granted, we are always tested,but possible. Everything else seems to falls into place.

    • Hi Anthony,

      I agree that love is the ultimate answer!

      Trust requires risk. If there’s no risk involved then there is no need to trust. As such, there is always the chance to be lied to, taken advantage of, or hurt as a result of placing our trust in someone. But what’s the alternative? To live in a world of cynicism, fear, and doubt? I’d rather try to influence others to be more trustworthy by modeling trustworthy behavior in my own life.

      My best to you,


  56. The first point is basically why I don’t trust ANYONE. Unless you’ve proven to me that you are trustworthy, I will never trust you. And, honestly, if even you have, I’ll still be suspicious because I will want to know your true motivations for earning my trust.

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  59. There’s a big confounding factor common to all of these: confirmation bias. People are more likely to seek out evidence that confirms their existing beliefs, and when exposed to evidence that contradicts these beliefs, they often reject it. Someone who already has a hard time trusting people will look for evidence as to why most people can’t be trusted, while dismissing evidence that shows otherwise. They will ignore the 200 times someone didn’t let them down and fixate on the one time they did. They often have trouble forgiving people for minor slights or honest mistakes, because it’s genuinely hard for them to realize that the bulk of the evidence shows that this person can still generally be trusted even if they hurt you this one time. The effect is multiplied if the person has been repeatedly betrayed in their childhood by people who claimed they could be trusted. After all, if your very first experiences with trusting someone ended in betrayal, why would you ever want to put yourself through that again?

    I invite those who, like me, have trouble with accurately judging the trustworthiness of someone they’ve known for awhile to try this exercise. Write the person’s name at the top of a piece of paper, and draw a vertical line through the middle of the paper. On the left side of the line, write every incident you can remember when this person let you down. On the right, write every time you can remember when they came through for you in a tight spot, did you a big favor, or otherwise showed that they could be trusted. Don’t play games with yourself like debating whether a certain incident “really” counts, and try not to let your preconceived opinions color your memories; write down everything you can think of exactly the way it happened. One side will usually end up being much longer than the other, and it’s not always the one you think.

  60. Ok this is my problem. It’s not that I don’t trust people but I find that trusting someone close to me and telling them some private matters make me feel uncomfortable and like a weakling, so I’d much rather confide in someone I don’t know all too well.

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  62. I recently met back with a high-school friend who has been through a whirlwind of distrusting people and I have tried to provide some comfort to her, letting her know all people are not like that. She still has such a hard time trusting anyone. How can I help her to begin trusting others again?

  63. Great article. I have been rejected by both mother and father. I endured narcissistic abuse, and then went on to enter into toxic friendships, and a relationship. The problem was, I was TOO TRUSTING. I agree with the part about having unrealistic expectations. Humans are fallible, and we should never put all of our trust in anyone. Not all hurt people go on to hurt people. This saying is popular, but it is not entirely true. I don’t trust anyone, but that doesn’t mean I will mistreat others as a result. I agree a lack of trust will prevent you from forming close relationships, but you don’t necessarily need them to thrive in life. Healthy relationships can be a great asset, but if we are honest, it still adds more responsibilities, complications and stressors to your life. If you can accept and manage that, then its fine, if not sometimes its better to be alone.

  64. Was looking for some takes regarding this topic and I found your article quite informative. It has given me a fresh perspective on the topic tackled. Thanks!

  65. I agree with Coopers comment. All people have had something happen to them which leads to mistrust so why do some people let a few incidences lead to lifetime of mistrusting people. Your not the only one this happens to. If you think this happens all the time you need to figure out why that is happening because it’s probably you and not the people you socialize with. I’ve found that people who mistrust for a lifetime feel that way because they are often that way and think everyone just like them so they don’t trust anyone. I give people enough rope and if they hang themselves move on they’re not worth it. There are alot of good people out there don’t let mistrust stop you from meeting them.

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  67. Who can trust in a world full of trauma affected humans brimming with narcissism? Everyone’s becoming self-centred whores these days.. and it’s encouraged. No morals or values in the world today but “Me, me me”. So called celebrities are the worst of the lot and these are the sick people we all look up to? Completely bonkers. Trust? Only if it is deserved. Guilty till proven innocent.

  68. I can’t stand blogs that say “Oh, it must be you”… The world is narcissistic. Why would I trust anyone?? I’m not the problem here. Society is.

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