Hmm, trust is a funny word. It seems to visit my thoughts often now. I would say of all of the things I wonder about most, its trust. It’s amazing how the experiences in our lives shape how we feel about things and how we see things in our lives. My personal experiences with people have given me a rather negative outlook on people’s trustworthiness. It brings up the question of what people in life can you trust, and even when you do trust them, how do you know they won’t betray that trust? I am convinced that most of us will only ever know a handful of individuals who we can truly trust.

Trust is defined as this:

reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
–verb (used without object)

to rely upon or place confidence in someone or something (usually followed by in  or to ): to trust in another’s honesty.

I have heard it said that to find out if you can trust someone, you must first trust them. It’s a true statement, although there is a serious element of uncertainty and surely one of cautiousness. I great deal of care goes into finding for ourselves the level of trust we feel we can place in an individual. It is a fairly stable trait that develops over time in our social history with other individuals and is a general expectancy that others can be relied upon. It is a function of which the degree of trust has been honored in a person’s past history of social interaction and is most often affected most greatly by novel and aberrant situations. This shapes our perception of people’s character in general. If we have repeated losses of trust in certain situations it affects how much we trust someone in future transactions of similar nature, this is compounded when we experience more profound losses. There is a tendency to become less willing to offer support and cooperation in relationships when we experience these kinds of violations. Trust begins as a calculus-based process in the early stages of any relationship, where calculations of how another person will respond to positive and negative sanctions. It is a largely cognitively driven trust phenomenon that is rooted in judgments of the trustees predictability and reliability. As our level of trust deepens and we find common goals and values with another individual, we form a more identification-based trust based on repeated interactions. At its peak, trust is an emotionally driven phenomenon, grounded in perceptions of interpersonal care and concern, and mutual need satisfaction.

Now, I suppose you may be wondering what this has to do with me. I am at a point of heightened interest in how trust works and how trust is determined. I have had been in different situations where my trust in other people has been severely compromised. I am more cautious about who I trust, what a person’s motives are, and what my own responses to their actions are. This is why I am at a place of examining what trust as it pertains to individuals means to me, how I view it, and how I determine it for myself. I am interested to hear what you think about all of this. How do you determine if a person is trustworthy and the faithfulness of that trust? Please feel free to leave comments.

Coffee shop is closing, ciao for now.