Does trust needs periodic validity checks?

Trust begets trust. You can't trust others unless you trust yourself. David DeSteno makes a very interesting observation, “Although it's true that cooperation and vulnerability require two parties, no one ever said that the two parties had to be different people. To the contrary, the parties can be the same person at different times.”

Trust influences togetherness. Togetherness gives rise to trust. The mind constantly tries to ascertain the trustworthiness of others. Trust has inherent risks but trust has a kind of a risk that is worth taking. Under vulnerable circumstances, we depend more on trust. In the matters of trust illusions are as good as hard facts.

There are trusts that are 'calculation-based'; trusts calculate the value of creating and sustaining trust in a relationship relative to the costs of sustaining or severing the relationship. The 'identification-based trust', on the other hand, values other person's identity as an individual. More trustworthy and sustainable relationships grow out of identification-based trust. Then there is 'benevolence-based trust'. In this, an individual does not intentionally harm another when given an opportunity to do so. The other kind of trust is 'competence-based'. In this, an individual believes that another person is knowledgeable about a given subject area, and, therefore, can be trusted. We shift from one mode of trust to the other, depending upon our life circumstances. Competence and reliability are the two traits that determine and establish trustworthiness. Knowledge sharing is not possible unless trust is embedded in the system.

Trust evokes a feeling of confidence. A trusted person enjoys many advantages; even his vulnerability is accepted. A person can be trusted in some contexts, but not necessarily in all the contexts. Distrust, on the other hand, evokes a feeling of doubt and fear. The reasons of distrust could be purely imaginary. It could be due to a misplaced feeling. Such feelings unnecessarily create vulnerability. A little distrust is often helpful. It can avert herd mentality. A healthy amount of distrust can protect us from the risk of exploitation.

Trust needs periodic validity checks, particularly if the trust is event-based. The continuance of event-based trusts generally depend on future events. If the trust is process-based, it is more likely to become permanent.

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© 2017 by Dr Purnendu Ghosh