Is trusting people too little as foolish as trusting them too much?

Certainly it is foolish to trust others too much, but could the same be said of trusting them too little? Having been mistreated in the past, the cynic becomes convinced that no one is trustworthy and that it is only the naive who trusts others…but are both inferior to the one who has learned to be discerning; who knows who can be trusted and who can’t?

Midnight. New Year Holiday. Could this be a “down to the last beer in the crate” post? :smiley:

For discerning which is which, I think Reagan had it pretty much right: “trust, but verify”. I think a reasonable viewpoint is that most people (say, 50-80%, depending on whether you’re in Nigeria or Switzerland) are basically trustworthy, but a goodly fraction of them will screw you over given the chance. A small minority will screw you over as their standard modus operandi, simply because they’ve never done anything different.

The way to tell the difference, obviously, is to start by trusting someone (assuming you have no good reason to do otherwise) and see if you get screwed over. The more pertinent question is, if someone does screw you over, what then? Game theory suggests you should react in kind, not because the opponent will change tack (usually, they won’t) but simply to minimize future damage to yourself. Continuing to trust someone who has proven themselves untrustworthy puts you in jeopardy, and rewards your opponent for bad behaviour. The problem with this is that weasels routinely find themselves being kicked in the bollocks, metaphorically speaking, by many of the people who they attempt to manipulate or take advantage of. This reinforces their messed-up view of the world that other people are assholes and that it’s best to screw them over at every possible opportunity. I’ve met quite a few people who are simply Not Very Nice, but they’re convinced that the whole world is out to do them wrong because - WTF! - when they themselves do something unpleasant, others react badly.

Ah, the concept of trust.
Easily imagined, fecklessly assumed, rarely attained.

But don’t listen to me, I’m a freak, and fly flag fiendishly.
Been burned far too oft,
being burned now,
will be burnt,
on some morrow.
Yet, no sorrow:
As I as
a glutton for
still, surely, strive,
for truth.
And Equal
Rights, And,


Not sure if I should believe you on that one.

Didn’t the X-Files teach you anything??? :astonished:

I once trusted a Buxiban owner to give me my annual bonus. Where did that get me? And they say Buxiban owners are the trustworthy and ethical people out there.

I was just joking cause if you really couldn’t trust anyone, then you couldn’t even trust the person telling you to trust no one.

BXB owners as trustworthy and ethical people? Thank goodness no one ever told me that one.

Trust must be earned.
In business it’s best to leave trust out as much as possible and use a system which penalizes people if they step out of line.

Finley, I know at least one person who exactly fits your description of people who think they are honest and everybody is out to get them. They just can’t accept to themselves that they are untrustworthy people in some respects. The guy I know treats his customers well, his employees fairly well but treats his suppliers and business partners like shit.

So there’s another lesson in that, somebody might be trustworthy in one respect and not in another.

It’s a cost-benefit analysis sort of thing. What is the cost if you trust someone and they betray you? What is the cost if you don’t trust someone who is actually trustworthy?

You speak wisdom, yet I am afraid it is from most hindsight.
Trust is something on the table, not some future derivative.
In other words, there is some commitment afore the gamble.
Should I trust you?
If so, why?

Keep your laser handy!