What Is Trust? And Why Is Everyone Having Trust Issues?


The concept of trust is one that is difficult to talk about.


And I know that by the title of this post I’m suggesting that everyone has trust issues. It may not be entirely true, but it sure seems like it most times.


But first, do you agree or disagree?


And secondly, do you have trust issues?


Do You Have Trust Issues?

Before writing this blog post, I asked a few people about what they thought about trust and what it meant to them.


Each person I spoke to had their version of what it is. Similar definitions but perspectives differed nonetheless.


One man sounded like he was very trusting. Trust was easy to give. He trusted everyone and only distrusted if proven wrong. For him, it was as simple as that.


One lady, when asked about trust, was heavily passionate about how people should not be trusted and how we shouldn’t even trust ourselves. “Don’t even trust your own shadow!” she exclaimed. To prove herself, she demanded that I hand over my credit card as a way to test my trust towards her.Yikes!The way it was handled was a bit abrasive and erratic, but I suppose I could see her point. My hesitation suggested that I felt uneasy about the idea. Her behavior though got me feeling a bit defensive and I subtly told her to back off. After all, I just wanted her point of view…maybe she didn’t trust me. Maybe she didn’t believe me when I told her I wanted to write this blog post.


Another friend of mine explained to me that trust is about communication. “People don’t trust other people because they assume the worse”, he tells me. He suggested that we should trust a person unless we see they’re betrayal with our own eyes. It is then when we can decide to not trust a person or not. “Other than that, it’s all speculation” he concluded. This meant that if you believe someone has cheated on you, you would have to witness that person cheating.


The majority of the people I spoke to admitted to having trust issues. That they didn’t give it out so freely but when they did they did so with hesitation.


What I did notice as well was that when I generally talked about trust issues most segued into trust issues within romantic relationships.


Trust As An Idea

Having that ability to trust is not easy for most people. But it is considered the foundation of all human connections.


And it makes me wonder…


Is this why most of our relationships are weak?


Is this why people feel lonely?


Is it looked down upon to be dependent on others?


Do we even trust ourselves?


What is Trust?

The simplest definition I could find on trust is from a TED Talk “Building Trust”:

“Trust is choosing to be vulnerable and take risks”— James Davis


Another definition that truly resonated with me was from a GoodTherapy blog post titled “The Psychology of Trust Issues and Ways To Overcome Them”:


“Trust — the act of placing confidence in someone or something other than yourself — is social superglue. It is the binding for the deepest love, the strongest friendships, and the world’s communities. Modern society is built on trust, and in the absence of trust, fear rules”


People Who Have Trust Issues

As mentioned before, trust is the foundation of all human connections as it motivates closeness and intimacy.


Closeness and intimacy are critical have in our relationships (See my blog post: “The Cure For Loneliness is Building Relationships”) yet, many of us avoid it.


According to an article on Psychology Today, trust issues stem from people having had negative experiences. And in most instances, these negative experiences can follow a person throughout their entire lives.


Growing Up Not Trusting

I didn’t know it, but from a young age, I was always told to not trust people whom I did not know.

I was also told to not trust everything people said.


Having lived in the rough areas of LA (although not the roughest), I was always reminded to lock the door because people could break in my home, steal, etc. After all, it was normal for us back in those days to not trust anyone.


Or when certain family members would come through our home, I was told to hide my toys because I couldn’t trust my cousins.


Not trusting was stemmed from fear and the possibilities of something bad happening.


It seems to me now, that trust issues were always there for me even when I didn’t realize it then.


Strangers are Bad

Maybe you can relate, but I was told to not trust strangers and that strangers could not be trusted.


Strangers were bad people. No questions about it.


But as I grew older and started talking and meeting new people, I later learned that not all strangers are bad people. Most of them aren’t.


Do you know what I also learned in life? I also learned that not all friends are your friends.


Oh, wow…my trust issues flowing today!


Verbal Agreements & Contracts

Verbal agreements are rare these days.


Once in a while, I’ll lend money to someone if they need it. Followed by promises, or a verbal agreement of some sort, that the money borrowed will be returned to the giver…in most cases.


Not that I lend large sums of money. Most times I don’t care too much if they pay me back or not.

But money can be a risky business. A few dollars, to me, is not a big deal. However, hundreds and/or thousands of dollars is.


And let’s be honest, money can break relationships.


Which is why most transactions we make require witnesses, lawyers, contracts, signatures, and or any other kind of proof.


All used to protect us just in case something were to go down and if something did go down, most likely there will be consequences.


Trust & Common Sense

I want to go back to the girl who demanded that I give her my credit card to prove my trust.

Again, her initiative was a bit excessive and her eagerness to have my hand over my credit card not only irritated me but she was right. It made me more distrustful towards her.


But is there a line between trust and common sense? Should we trust anyone:

  • With our social security number?

  • With our personal information?

  • To watch our bags?

  • Who asks us to watch their bags?

  • With confidential information?

To these questions, my answer would be “No” because there are times where we shouldn’t trust because of potential risks. But in this case, trust isn’t necessarily specific. We have just adopted these beliefs.


Are There Levels of Trust?

To me, yes. There are different levels of trust and it all depends on the kind of relationship.


When I was in college, I trusted my professor as a credible source of knowledge. Whatever they taught me I absorbed it like a dry sponge, at least when it came to taking the exam. That was our teacher-student relationship.


Now, although I trust my professor to introduce me to theories and concepts I wouldn’t trust them with fixing my car unless they were an expert on that too.

I also trust that my dentist will fix whatever cavities I have. However, my current dentist does a lousy job at it. Trust is definitely there but it's not much. To be honest, the little trust I have in my dentist stems from the fact that I can’t fix my own cavity.Yes, it’s time to find a new dentist.


Would I trust the guy at the grocery store, who doesn’t even know me, to save my life? I definitely wouldn’t expect it but if he did I’d be really surprised.


Would I trust a friend to borrow $400 from me? It depends on the friend.

Would I trust Spirit Airlines to handle my luggage?If I had no choice but to. However, I have lost my luggage on an international airline before (I’m looking at your AirFrance!) and from that experience, I can say that I don’t trust them. #trustissues

Would I trust myself to not eat an entire pint of ice cream? That’s a HELL NO! Because who am I kidding? If it is there I’ll do it, especially if there isn’t anyone stopping me.


...and I have done it before in case you were wondering.


Conclusion

After writing all this I realize that I do have trust issues, just like everyone else.

If you don’t have trust issues…please reach out to me at christine@wellnite.com because I’d love to talk to you :D


Our trust issues come from our own experiences. But regardless, we all have the ability to trust. It all comes down to our willingness to be vulnerable and take risks.


It’s just that most people are afraid of taking those risks.


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