Family Preparedness: Who Should I Trust?

According to a study in American Psychological Association, trusting a total stranger may have more to do with a feeling of moral obligation or showing them respect than actually believing the stranger is trustworthy. Often we choose to trust someone to avoid making them feel bad or cause a conflict, rather than relying on our own judgement. “Trusting others is what people think they should do, and emotions such as anxiety or guilt associated with not fulfilling a social duty or responsibility may account for much of the excessive trust observed between strangers every day,” says David Dunning, PhD at Cornell University and leading author of the study.

What is trust? Trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Trust is a confident reliance on someone or something when you are in a position of vulnerability. Some people find it easy to trust, some people find it very difficult. A lot of it depends on past experiences and culture. 

We all must take the time to make good decisions when it comes to trust. A stranger or new acquaintance asks to meet with you to help you with your homework or for you to help with theirs. An email says you will win a prize if you just take a survey by clicking on this link. An online ad on Craigslist, Facebook, or WeChat is offering you a deal that does not seem right or seems too good to be true.

Sometimes people or things just do not feel right. That is why it is important to stop and think. As stated earlier, we often trust someone or something because we think we should, it would be “rude” not to. Trusting someone or something is a decision you make, and you should not make it lightly. Decide what you think is right and what is a good idea, most importantly trust yourself. Possibilities, both good and bad, may result from your decision to trust someone or something, so do not make it lightly.

Officer Terry Evans PortraitOfficer Terry Evans

terryevans@wisc.edu