Thursday, August 27, 2009

Don't Get Eaten (Who to Trust & Not to Trust)

Came across an interesting article on that discussed knowing who to trust. The author provided several questions that can be used like a "TrustMeter" to determine whether or not someone deserves your trust.

What really caught me by suprise was toward the end when the author provided the following quote by Lao Tzu:

The Master…trusts people who are trustworthy...She also trusts people who aren't trustworthy. This is true trust.

Huh? As Aspies, one of the problems we tend to have is TRUSTING the WRONG PEOPLE. So what gives? The article gives a good epxlanation:

Lions and leopards can be trusted to eat animals about my size. Baboons can be trusted to steal food whenever possible. Because I know this, I adapt my behavior to avoid getting eaten or pilfered.

By the same token, if someone in your life pulls in a dismal score on the Trust Test, perpetually failing to keep promises, tell the truth, quit drinking, or show compassion, this is exactly what you can depend on them to keep doing. Addicts can be trusted to lie. Narcissists can be trusted to backstab. And people who reliably do their best, whose stories check out against your own observations, can be trusted to stay relatively honest and stable.

That's powerful! If we know someone is out for themselves and is just using people, then we need to trust them to do what they do. What they've always done. And if they've hurt us, taken advantage of us, made sport of us, or otherwise ridiculed or abused us, we should expect them to continue to do so until we enforce boundaries that keep them from doing so.

Here's the "Trust Test" from that article:

The "yes" questions:

1. Does Person X usually show up on time?
2. When Person X says something is going to happen, does it usually happen?
3. When you hear Person X describing an event and then get more information about that event, does the new information usually match Person X's description?

The "no" questions:

4. Have you ever witnessed Person X lying to someone or assuming you'll help deceive a third person?
5. Does Person X sometimes withhold information in order to make things go more smoothly or to avoid conflict?
6. Have you ever witnessed Person X doing something (lying, cheating, being unkind) that he or she would condemn if another person did it?

As the saying goes, "the way we do anything is the way we do everything." I'm not saying we have the ultimate power or right to judge others. But if you trust someone whose behavior doesn't pass the six screening questions above, your trust-o-meter may well be misaligned. If Person X rated more than one "no" on the first three questions, and more than one "yes" on the second three, they don't warrant total trust at present. If you trust someone who blew all six questions, you need some readjustments. You don't have to change Person X (you can't), but you do need to take a hard look at your own patterns of trust.

By the way, if you're now rationalizing Person X's behavior with arguments like "But he means well" or "It's not her fault; she had a terrible childhood," your trust-o-meter is definitely on the fritz. These are the small lies we use to tell ourselves we're comfortable when we aren't. It's not the end of the world if Person X lies to you. Lying to yourself, on the other hand, can make your life so miserable, the end of the world might be a relief.

You can read the article HERE.

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