Civil society is built on trust. Mutual trust makes many every day activities easier. Imagine what it would be like doing these things if you didn’t trust anybody: buying something over the internet, driving through a busy intersection, walking down the street by yourself, eating a meal prepared at a restaurant. It would be impossible to live a good life without some level of societal trust that others will do the right thing by you.
But who can you really trust? Who will be considerate of your welfare in circumstances when there are incentives to do otherwise? Here are some types of people who you might be able to confidently trust (at least to a point).
Nice people appear trustworthy. They are polite, well mannered and pride themselves in following society’s rules.
Are they trustworthy? Well, you can rely on them to do the right thing in normal circumstances. But remember that nice people follow rules. Nice people stood by during the rise of Nazi Germany. A nice person might not be prepared to do something “not nice” even if it meant turning a blind eye to a significant injustice.
You can normally trust nice people. But don’t expect them to do risky or not-nice things to help you.
Intellectuals hold principle-based values and rationality above rules. They are not guided by religious beliefs and may use complex thought to guide their actions.
Intellectuals may not be bound by a rigid moral code but are reliable for other reasons. Their thinking will be long term. In the long term, reputation matters. Intellectuals are fully aware that what goes around comes around. They may adopt idealistic positions and stick to them.
A risk with intellectuals is the presence of character flaws. A narcissistic or selfish intellectual may be crafty in ensuring they get what they want. Intellectuals are not immune to bad behaviour.
Some people develop or are born with a strong sense of loyalty to friends or family. Cast iron values are enmeshed into their personal relationships. They bond with people in such a way that they accept the welfare of people who are important to them as no less important than their own.
If you have a good relationship with a loyal type, you can trust them. But you also need to be aware of where their values lie. Criminals can be loyal. They can be relied upon to take cares of the people close to them. But that doesn’t mean they won’t cheat or steal. As a forensic psychologist knows, you need to understand the criminal mind.
People You Don’t Know
Everyone needs to perform a balancing act regarding how far they trust unfamiliar people. If you trust everyone and appear naive, you are sure to be let down often. If you don’t trust people and stay guarded, then you will miss out on many opportunities and friendships. People usually respond well if you place trust in them. More often than not, it pays to assume people you don’t know can be trusted.