Who Can You Trust? | Your Heart? Your Friends? Your Gut?

Trust: Hard to Gain, Easy to Lose

It is hard to build, easy to lose and harder yet to rebuild – trust. As to the latter, that is too difficult to cover in this brief post. I may try to tackle it in another post on another day. Today I want to talk about who to trust.

After my divorce, I never thought I would be able to trust again. After feeling so betrayed, it seemed impossible to even consider trusting someone of the opposite sex. And yet, without trust, there can never be intimacy.

Therefore, if you desire deep intimacy with another human being, you will need to learn to trust. But, as a single, it sometimes seems like a jungle out there. Who can you trust as a date? Who can you trust for advice?

Do Not Trust

I know you know this. Like me, you probably learned it the hard way – by getting your heart broken. But, let me begin by stating the obvious – not everyone is deserving of your trust. So, how do you know who you should trust and not trust? There are, after all, two types of people in this world – people you should trust and people you should not trust.

Actually, there is a third group. There may be people in your life who have failed you in a moment of weakness and who deserve a second chance. We will deal with them in a future post about how to trust again.

Those Who Have Betrayed You

Let’s start with the obvious. If someone has betrayed your trust, why should you trust them again? There are people in this world who simply cannot be trusted. In very rare circumstances there may be a valid reason to give then a second chance. But in the overwhelming majority of instances, you should not trust them. Period. They have proven themselves unworthy of your trust.

Yes Men

Those are easy to spot. The second group is not so obvious. The corporate world calls them ‘yes men’. The thing is, you cannot absolutely trust anyone who sees you as absolutely perfect and who agrees with absolutely everything you say and do. Either they are lying to you or they do not see you clearly enough to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Either way, you cannot trust them – not for advice – not in a relationship.

Naysayers

At the other extreme, some people seem to revel in shooting you down at every turn. There is no possible way that you are as ugly, or as stupid, or wrong as often as they claim you are. When people tell you “you never” or “you always”, that is a clear indication they have no grasp on reality. You cannot trust them.

Just as you are never as perfect as your ‘yes men’ say you are, you are never as bad as your naysayers say you are. Do not go to them for advice and definitely never get into a relationship with one of them.

Your Heart

Follow your heart. That is common advice. I would submit that The Bible is correct when it says that our hearts are deceitful and wicked and inclined toward leading us astray. That is especially true in love and romance, the so-called matters of the heart.

All too often, the prevailing wisdom proves untrustworthy. How many people do you know who have followed their heart into a relationship then followed their heart right back out of the relationship? Apparently, hearts are susceptible to either error or a change of heart so to speak.

Your Head

I would further submit that deciding with your brain alone doesn’t yield much better results. One big problem with doing it that way is we hardly ever actually do think it through objectively. We tend to make a decision with our heart and then use our brain to justify the decision we already made. We think we have thought it through, but we really just thought about why our decision was the correct one.

But, even when we do think it through first, our mind can be deceived. We can be genuinely or purposely ignorant of all the facts. Also, we consciously decide which facts we will consider and which facts we will give more weight.

Do Trust

So, given all of that, who can you trust?

Real Friends

Every one of us should make the time and spend the effort to develop real friends. Real friends are neither ‘yes men’ nor naysayers. Real friends are – well, real. They are valuable in that they tell you the truth in a loving way. They act in your best interest.

Carefully nurture close relationships with a few people who prove themselves trustworthy over a period of time. Then, trust their input. If this council of trustworthy friends says someone you want to go with cannot be trusted, believe them.

These people must be very carefully chosen. Ideally, they should play a key role in helping you decide who to trust in a romantic relationship. They should have long-term stable marriages and other relationships in their own life. If they are still single, they should not have a trail of broken relationships.

Look for friends who are on good terms with most of the people they have dated. Avoid anyone who has a long list of exes they always rant about. Anyone with a long list of terrible exes is either terrible at picking out trustworthy partners or they are the problem in their relationships. Either way, you cannot trust their advice or their friendship.

Your Gut

Personally, my heart has led me astray numerous times. But, if you cannot totally trust your heart or brain, who can you trust?

Your gut reaction to things is usually a very good indicator. There have been so many times in my life where I made decisions and did not know why exactly. I based my choice solely on my gut reaction. More often than not, those have been my best decisions.

Twice recently I came across a story about a Russian officer who went against what his instruments were telling him and went with his gut. His instruments were telling him that The United States had launched a nuclear attack on Russia. His gut told him something was not right.

Thankfully, Colonel Stanislav Petrov‘s gut was correct and the instruments were malfunctioning, otherwise human history would be quite different now – if we were still here to read about it.

There are many brain-gut connections. The gut has even been called a second brain. It has been theorized by some that things that may not quite make it into our conscious thinking can still be picked up on and reacted to by our ‘second brain’.

In other words, we may pick up on disturbing things about a person that never quite make it into our conscious thoughts, but we do get a bad feeling in our gut about them. We cannot immediately explain it, but our gut gives us definite warnings.

To Sum It Up

Do not trust:

  • People who have demonstrated they cannot be trusted
  • Yes men
  • Naysayers
  • Your heart
  • Your brain

Do Trust:

  • Real friends
  • Your gut reaction

Have I left out anything important? Agree? Disagree? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

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