Saturday, January 23, 2010

The gift of finding people that you can trust.

I want to thank each of the people here for expanding what is possible and expanding my views in a variety of areas. I am genuinely grateful for that.

I have been stuck on this and can use help with this answer. I think time is the only test for trust and that only time will reveal whether I can trust someone. I am often cynical in saying things like “time will tell” or “people say all sorts of things but time is the only true test”. I would like to hear ideas that can get my thinking past those levels.

Please answer any number of the following:

How do you determine whether you can trust someone and rely on him or her when you really need him or her?

What traits, behaviors or actions do you see as being a trustworthy person?

How do you measure trust?

What ideas do you have in the area of trust?

Sincere thanks for sharing whatever comes to your mind - I am grateful for every single answer.


  1. Tom, I believe your surveys can turn into books soon. Trust? It takes time to trust someone, the same amount of time to know them, to feel that they are in your corner, looking out for you.

  2. For me, to build trust takes years.
    The person who is ready to help in difficult times is trustworthy.
    Best wishes. :)

  3. I struggle with trusting people too, especially since I got shafted early in life by people who were supposed to take care of me.

    You learn to trust people by learning to listen to your intuition. How does that person make you feel upon meeting him/her ? If you get a bad vibe, that is a clue.

    You are not cynical when you say "time will tell". That is realistic. You can't just like everyone.

    Also I learned to trust people by matching their words to their actions. Do they do what they say they will do ? Do they pay back money you lended them ? Do they meet up with you when they say they will or do they constantly flake out ? Do they take an interest in you or is it all about them ?

    I feel I have a good bullshit detector and can feel when someone isn't being genuine. But then again I was schooled early.

  4. If someone tells you to trust them, our first instinct is to question those words. How cynical of us! But we all experience betrayals, small or large, as we encounter different types of people. I agree with Senorita, match a person's words to their actions. Judge them by the strength of their presence when you most need them.

  5. I agree with Senorita, intuition is the first test. I dealt with an ex that is a pathological liar for many years. My intuition told me something wasn't right, but I let myself believe his words.

    Actions are the second test. A person that is responsible in their life and actions is more likely to be trusted as they hold themselves to personal standards.

    The third test is to analyze those personal standards. A person that is responsible financially may not be trustworthy from a friendship or lover aspect and vice-versa. One needs to analyze what areas of their life they are willing to trust this person with.

    Another aspect to look at is their value system. We are all more likely to trust someone that has similar values to our own. It also helps to look at the other person's social interactions. If they only have "new" friends and not very many friends from their past there usually seems to be a reason & it's important to understand what that reasoning is.

  6. I start off by trusting no one and I mean no one not even family.
    From there everyone has to earn my trust.
    How much I trust someone down the road adds up to how much I want to risk as there are different levels of trust.

    Up to this point of my life I have learned who I could trust and who not to, by what they have shown me with the trust I have given them in the past.

    Those I trust the most are the ones who have proven that they have my interest at heart.
    Those I don't trust are not in my life any more unless they are family then I just ignore them to go to the next person be they family or not.

    It also comes down to how much a person could trust you.
    Trust was a big thing when i was growing up where people's lives changed with every decision.
    Some even lost their lives because of trust.

    It's like soldiers who go off to war or police who walk into a dangerous situation.
    They have to trust the people around them to watch their back but if you ever loose that trust, it's hard to get back.

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  8. I have a 3 year rule. It takes three years to see someone in and out of their good times and bad. Time shows much. I don't trust intrusive people, or those who ask to much too soon. Good questions.

  9. For me, trust has to be earned, so rarely do I confide or ask favors from someone I don't know that well or that long. I also consider someone trustworthy when they do as promised, whether it's keep a secret or keep an appointment. Needless to say, I have no faith in people who are always running late (even if I do love them!).

    What I also have experienced is being trustworthy, but discovering that the person who asked you to keep a secret did not bother to do the same. I've had friends who've told me very personal and potentially relationship-damaging information with strict orders not to tell anyone. I don't, and then weeks down the road I find out this person told just about everyone the same secret. Talk about someone with 'trust issues.'

  10. Hey Tom!

    How are you?
    Interesting post I must say!

    Well I ,for one, feel that no one can predict who will be there for you at your time of need. I too believe that time is the ultimate judge. But many a time things depend on circumstances and we can't say someone was not there for us if that person was genuinely stuck in a situation which could not be ignored.

    As for certain traits..well that person shouldn't disclose your secrets to every second person you know, that person shouldn't listen to the shit which other people may say about you and most of all, that person should be honest with you. That is the main criteria for me. The whole world can flatter you and bitch behind your back. But it's only the true friends who stay behind and actually dare to tell you the truth of the matter, even if it may cause rifts between you.

    Lastly, I strongly believe in instincts. You will KNOW whom you can trust and whom you cannot. There is no judgement criteria in this case. Listen to your gut feeling and leave the rest. Time will show and that is the truth.

    Take care

  11. Wow, this philosophical discussion is great.

    A therapist years ago relayed to me this 3 pronged test for trust:
    1) Does he do what he says?
    2) Does he say what he does? and
    3) Does he show a positive regard for my feelings?
    Note: I suppose "he" could be replaced with "she" above, but that would not be so relevant for this gal. Anyway, I think the 3-pronged test is pretty solid.

    The biggie with trust, though, is that one must trust one's own instincts in order to trust someone else. Instincts may lead us astray if we had messed up childhoods with untrustworthy caretakers. Some of us have to work a lot harder to trust ourselves and others, if this is the case. Damn!

    Thanks for another thought-provoking discourse.

  12. mmmm, whether i trust someone, initially, is an instinctive reaction. when i meet someone, i follow what my gut tells me. by nature, i am slow to trust anyone. and as time goes by, judging also from what that person trusts me with, i will open up, little by little. i don't think any one characterist or trait will result in me automatically trusting someone. interesting questions these.

  13. Tom, you know how to bring out the philosopher in all of us don't you?

    I tend to agree with Walker on the points he mentioned that trust requires risk and reciprocaion. The truth is, all humans are capable of breaking our trust no matter how much time has lapsed or how well we think we know them. My logical conclusion from that is that no one is 100% trustworthy. There comes a point, based on the need to trust someone, where we have to risk trusting someone. The normal mental process is to scan our list of friends and acquaintences and conduct our selection process based on a person's maturity, past record (if known), and the content of the trust issue. Research has shown that people who are trustworthy tend to trust others more easily and to take the risks.

    Tom, I believe your approach to trusting others is quite the norm. And it is probably the most safe and sensible in most cases. I think the real struggle is that we can't just trust others point blank without hesitation. That's how it should be, but unfortunately, we've all been shafted and seen too much.

    Tom, without trepidation, I trust you to come up with another good thought for discussion soon. Don't disappoint me:)

  14. This is a great discussion, Tom! I agree with Senorita. If there are great red flags emanating from my intuition, I just walk away...this person will rarely earn my trust. And time, in this instance, will only show that my wariness was correct.

    Thanks for another illuminating post!

  15. Trust is everything in a relationship. No trust? No relationship.

  16. To find someone trustworthy is a process of trial and error as far as I can see.


  17. The same way I make friends with a leap of faith. I trust until I'm given cause not to. That and I always trust my gut, always.
    Have a lovely week Tom and thanks for always coming by my blog and offering your support.
    Warm regards,

  18. Hi Tom :o)

    How do you determine whether you can trust someone and rely on him or her when you really need him or her?

    Trust your gut. There are always clues to people you can trust - how others are treated by them, how they treat others, what secrets they keep. etc.

    How do you measure trust?
    Wow. measurement of trust.... that's a hard one. I actually don't know if you can. Interesting question though.

    What ideas do you have in the area of trust?
    I think if you trust yourself then others will trust you. Look for the signs. How others treat you and others.

    Interesting question - you stumped me a bit ;o)

  19. I don't exactly know if there is a specific quality (or qualities) that will determine if you can trust someone. It's not like there is a checklist. I think it is a gut feeling. Common sense is also needed.

  20. I don't think you can ever trust absolutely because things can change over time. We have to have a certain amount of trust in order to survive in society, but trust within relationships can depend on so many variables: Is money or material goods involved? Information? Love? Neccessity to give up one's time? How does the influence of others and other circumstances play into the picture?

    I don't ever absolutely trust any human being so I don't absolutely hold it against them if they breech any trust that existed. The door is always open to reinstate a certain level of trust with caveat. Humans are fallible and fickle. I think that's why a trust in God is so important to many of us. To believe in infallibility and constance is to believe in that God power that a human can never possess.

  21. Wow, having been one who trusted too easily! this is now a hard one
    I look for one who says what they mean and their life backs it up!
    I used to measure trust by giving freely all of me to another.I know measure trust in increments! I will give it as its earned and slowly but surely reach a place where I can one again give all of me to another.
    p.s. Thanks for your kind words on my blog!

  22. Trust is important; but we shouldn't look to hard for deception.

  23. For me trust is a two way thing, also it do take time to build up a trust in someone.
    Trust and honesty are two very important issues in life, one can't have one without the other.
    A most thought provoking post and interesting questions.

    Thanks for stopping by and your very good qoutes, much appreciated.


  24. Trust, for me has become the ability to trust myself and my ability to handle any situation that disrupts my life as a result of another person or government betraying my trust. There will always be disappointments when we place trust in mere mortals, but I am learning to trust my assessment of people through their actions and distance myself accordingly (without losing hope that people learn and change from mistakes made).

  25. This is a very touchy and sensitive subject for me so I am going to give it some more thought before I even attempt to comment on it in any detail. In the mean time though, my main view on it would be to be honest with oneself and trust in oneself before placing one's trust in others.
    Hope you are keeping well, Tom.
    Have a lovely week.

  26. Thank you for your kind comment on my blog.

    As far as trust goes....I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I trust until I have evidence that suggests a good reason to no longer trust someone. I'm not seconding guessing people all the time, but I like to keep my eyes open. Thus far in my life it's worked for me.

  27. Trust is an interesting subject, Tom. I think we have all felt betrayed when someone didn't do what we expected, and we can never know for sure who can be trusted in all situations. I like to believe that people do the best they can, and when they are unreliable, it is due to lack of competence rather than being bad or dishonest. After a failure of trust, I might not want to work with the person on the same level anymore, but I can forgive and wish them well. And perhaps the experience will help me to be a better judge of competency for next time.

  28. It does take time to get to know someone, and as you truly get to know them you come to trust whether or not they have your best interests at heart.

    But a person's history does not guarantee present or future behaviour. Somebody who loves and cares for you, and has always been reliable, may still let you down at some point in the future. Not because they are fundamentally untrustworthy, but because shit happens! And we all make errors of judgement every now and again.

    I struggle with trust alot, but I want to be trusting. And my response to this is to be trustworthy myself - that in itself will increase the likelihood of attracting other trustworthy people into my life. Like others have said too, I listen to my intuition when I meet someone new. Learning to 'trust' my intution has been important, and if I pay enough attention I know whether or not it's in my best interests or not to develop a connection.

  29. I used to trust people WAY too easily when I was younger. I myself could never live with myself is I betrayed someones trust, and always put other people first. Sadly, this was not always being reciprocated. Now, I realize that the only person you can 100% trust is yourself, and then your family and spouse. Most people have friends that they say they can trust with their lives, but I believe most people are their own #1 priority. I have a much better sense of knowing whether or not a person is worth trusting...sometimes, their "trustworthiness" is not intentional...a lot of people are "busy" or plain flaky. It's unfortunate...Another interesting thing to think about it how a few decades ago people never locked their doors, and knew all of their, no one bothers to know their neighbors, and everyone has 5 locks on their trust seems to be a hard thinkg to earn this day in age!

  30. Tom, for me, and it sounds like for many others, this is such a difficult topic. I too used to trust much too easily until I just got hurt too many times. Then I put up a wall and told myself to trust nobody, but that leaves you feeling lonely and cut off too. So, I reluctantly decided to try again, only to be met with the same hurt and betrayal. So to be quite honest, I really don't know where to stand on the trust subject.

    I know that it takes time to build, and even then the trust cannot be absolute because you just never know. But you also can't cut yourself off from the world either (believe me, I know)

    Like others have said, trust your instincts, take it slow, and give only as much as you feel comfortable with.

    Hope all goes well for you

  31. 205! Woohoo:) Anyway, I think the truth is everyone will let you down; even your own family, closest relatives and I must say, yourself. We are fallible. We should trust until others prove unworthy. But each person's level of trust is factored into how many times they let you down by how much you love or care for them. How many chances also depends on the measure you use: The scriptures, yourself, your upbringing, etc. I think rule of thumb is Tom's profile motto. If after they have proven untrustworthy but they are genuinely positive, keep them. If the balance goes the other way and they are untrustworthy but genuinely negative you have to protect yourself, and let them go.

  32. What about trust in oneself?

    How often do we promise to do or not do something for ourselves and then do not follow through?

    Maybe we should try to be a better friend to ourself before we look elsewhere....

  33. Such a difficult one this issue of 'trust'. More difficult than ever I think because of the fear element that seems to be building in society. So much greed, selfishness, etc that people feel threatened. Maybe the only really powerful force is to keep on trying to open out with a loving, caring attitude. People need this and in the end often respond.Not easy, -maybe in the end the only true way that can really get to the bottom of the problem!

  34. I only trust people when they are willing to give as much as they receive...when they prove they are honest people...when they prove they can be selfless at times...when they follow through with promises...
    It's hard to find trust these days. There are so many selfish people in the world who only have their best interest at heart. It's sad.

  35. Tom, my view is simple.. The other name/word for trust is "being vulnerable"
    Without being cynical, people are people, and they will let you down, cause thats people.. and thats how it is..
    But by being vulnerable you open a space, a head space, a place where you can trust..
    And when you get let down, you merely switch to the next head / heart space... forgiveness.
    That way its all good, and stays good!
    My views are diff to the other readers, but I will accept the prize for "most sensible" comment none the less! : )

  36. If human life is more valuable than money, why are there gun ports in armored cars?

    Tom, Farmer Pirate

  37. I personally think no one can be trusted but one person - my mother.

    Go with your gut instinct.

  38. To be quite honest with you..i dont even trust myself sometimes!Forget trusting others.sad but true.
    Great topic by the way.:O)

  39. I read the title and think, ok, I know what is my opinion on the topic, and then you pose the questions and I wonder.
    I think that although we might think we can trust someone, unfortunately you can never be sure until the point where you are in serious need and that person is either someone you can depend on or not.
    My problem in that area is that I think people think the same way I do and can therefore be trusted when they say something. I am slowly learning not to do that anymore but it's hard to suppose people are not honest and cannot be trusted.
    But mostly, I just go with my gut. :)

  40. See, for me, I feel like I'm a walking oxymoron. I cannot determine whether or not I can trust someone if I do not want to take that first step to trusting someone. Not with the big stuff, never with the big stuff. Sometimes I share the smaller, less important things...and if they prove to me that they can be trusted, by remaining a loyal confidant, or keeping a nice check on my well being, then I slowly work my way towards trusting them with the slightly bigger, but almost never the biggest, type of stuff. If more time passes, and the person has stayed loyal...if my gut and heart allow it, I just might share the very things that are a lot about who I currently am. (I know this all makes sense to me, and I hope you can get some sort of answer out for you.)

  41. In my role as a management consultant I need to build a relationship of mutual trust very quickly, often in an atmosphere of stress. I do this by being very clear about what my clients can expect of me and then consistently delivering more than I promise. I also test my clients every step of the way. I have to create tests that are natural and organic, not arbitrary or artificial. The tests are almost always questions and the results of the tests are found between the lines of the answers.

  42. I trust someone that has time to communicate and take the time to respond my doubts or difficulties I may have in some thing important or unimportant matter...
    I also trust people that talk slowly are open and look in the eyes and do not complain too much...

  43. The person, by their own actions, determine how trustworthy and reliable they are. Then there are your own internal red flags. If you ignore your red flags about someone and trust them anyway, then that's something to examine in yourself. Your gut is telling you everything you need to know about the person in question, and everything you need to know about yourself. We just have to learn to listen to it better, always.