Learning How to Trust

Trusting people is risky. Trust me on that.

Years ago I posted an article about the different types of dumb in the world. There was another kind of dumb I could have mentioned, but I felt it deserved its own post. This article comes after years of thought and contemplation.

Being gullible is another form of dumb. I didn’t include it in my previous list because there are so many factors that go into gullibility. Determining the balance between trusting the information in front of us and questioning everything around us is not an easy thing to judge.

First off, consider your feelings. I’m a very calm person who likes to think things through before taking action. When new information is presented to me the calm is gone and replaced with uncertainty. A judgement needs to be made. Is this new information positive or negative? I consider the evidence, make a decision, and go back to being calm. The ultimate conclusion we are looking for is whether or not the new information makes sense. We want to be in a state where everything feels right. No uncertainty to bother us.

This process happens constantly in our lives. I received a letter in the mail recently saying I could get money from a court case if I just send them my social security number. Something doesn’t feel right about that. If the story doesn’t check out, then we either find out if there is more to the story or we walk away from the situation. When I was a journalist working in Idaho I would enter into government buildings or companies and simply tell them I’m a reporter and they would let me right in. My story made sense to them and they didn’t question it.

My worry is that people too often trust the information presented to them without testing it out for themselves. Not every source of new information is reliable. Many people seek to control the narrative by being persuasive and appealing. Skilled speakers can pacify a crowd of people tricking them into a false sense of calm. When calm we can mistakenly feel that everything must be alright because we feel good about everything. A healthy bit of doubt keeps us from being fooled by smooth talkers.

On the other hand, we have to trust someone eventually. We can’t just question all information presented to us. My image of how the world operates is based on all the reading I’ve done. I trust that the writers did a god job of telling the truth. If not, my knowledge is based on a false sense of reality. I don’t have time to see the world with my own eyes. I have to rely on other people’s eyes if I want to see it all.

My hope is that people will have trustworthy friends and family members to turn to. It’s frustrating when you don’t know how to feel about what you see around you. Good judgement allows us to find the bright side to our circumstances even when things don’t go our way. I choose to have an attitude of hope. If there are people I can trust, I will find them.

 

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Loyal to a Fault

I give up. Just a little bit.

My personality doesn’t allow me to let things go easily. I want to win. Watching people or opportunities slip away feels bad and I work hard to keep that from reoccurring. I’m not the type of person to quit what he starts. However, with age comes experience. I’ve learned that holding on is not always the best strategy.

No rule exists saying I have to finish everything I start. But how much time should I give something before giving up? I flip though the radio channels in my car and if I am not impressed with the music I hear within the first few seconds of listening I will then turn off the radio. I flip through the channels on my television and if the TV shows don’t hook me in within the first few seconds of watching I then turn off the television. Same thing goes for looking at videos on YouTube or reading newspaper articles. If I let every piece of media grab and hold my attention, then there won’t be any time left for myself.

People deserve to be treated with more respect than a piece of media. I wouldn’t drop all contact with a person just because I became bored with them. And I wouldn’t stop being a friend to someone just because they annoyed me. A bond with me is not easily broken. No matter the difficulty, I persevere. So when is the best time to stop being a friend to someone?

I have been in social situations I should have walked away from. Not everything works out and I failed to see the signs of failure. Someone like me who is desperate for connection will often overlook the fact some of his friends are not really friends at all. Hope kept me from leaving. Truth set me free.

Loyalty is only valuable to those who give it. I have been a good friend to many only to receive neglect and scorn in return. True friends are those who remain loyal to each other. If someone does not value the loyalty I give them, then there is not much I can do at that point. I have to let some people go now and then. But I won’t give up on the future. I am loyal to the friends I have yet to meet.

The Trust Contingency

Trust me when I say you can’t trust anyone.

Two kinds of truth exist in the world: the truths you know and the truths you don’t know. We often deal with situations where we have all the relevant information we care to gather. The moments when we lack information forces us to rely on our ability to trust.

A symptom of Asperger syndrome is the inability to read social cues. It’s hard to act appropriately when you don’t know what’s going on. In my defense, people don’t make it easy.

Mind Reading

I have no idea what people think of me. At the same time, no one knows what goes on in my head. The brain is a library of memories, dreams, opinions, and other bits of hidden information. Everyone you meet carries some secret tucked away in their lobes.

My friends and family remain mysteries to me. I don’t know much about them. How much can one possibly gather from pleasant conversation alone? I relied on hope as a child. The hope that things would become more clear with time. All my eyes can see is a thick fog before me.

Fortunetelling

The only thing about the future you can be certain of is change. Nothing stays the same forever. How can one know if the change will turn out good or bad?

“Everything will be alright.” I hear that all the time. Many people choose to focus on the positive when looking toward the future. I prefer to maintain a healthy degree of pessimism. You can’t prepare for the worst if you don’t think bad things will happen eventually.

Soothsaying

Nothing in this world offends me save one; liars. To cover up a thing as beautiful as the truth is despicable beyond description.

Is it wrong to expect friends to tell the truth? I’m not asking anyone to divulge their darkest secrets. I just want my happiness to be built on something real and not an illusion. However, I can understand the desire to hide the truth. You can’t target what you can’t see.

Storytelling

Each person contains a piece of the truth. It is only when people are honest with one another that the truth becomes whole again.

Trust is borrowing another pair of eyes. A new perspective allows us to see the whole story from beyond our own view. I know a world exists beyond my own because I trust the stories people tell me.

I didn’t trust my friends when they met their future spouses. I should have been supportive and happy for them instead of worrying the whole time. So many people I didn’t let in because I didn’t believe anyone could be genuine. Not to me, at least. What does a trustworthy person even look like?