Do You Trust Too Much? How To Avoid Getting Burned

By Tamara Shelley | Prevention

Jul 07

Do You Trust Too Much? How To Avoid Getting Burned – By Tamara Shelley

The general consensus is that “most people are good”. The fact is, most of the population at large are good people. But how do you know who to trust and why?  Good question.

Think about how you trust people. Are you the one who trusts others until you are given a reason not to.  Or are you the person who doesn’t trust anyone until you have a reason to trust them.

Below are some tips for how to protect yourself from getting burned by liars and cheats without coming across as a hater.

When dealing with someone you have just met, or don’t know well, treat your trust in them like a paycheck. If they say they will call you or email you some information and they do it, they earn a little trust in that area. But you still wouldn’t loan them your car or a thousand bucks would you? So little by little, they earn the trust as they would a paycheck for work completed.


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Fail to take even one of these steps and you open the door to losses and significant risk.

No employer in their right mind would give someone their entire annual salary up front and “trust” that they will show up and do a good job everyday right? So don’t do it with your emotions, money, trade secrets or anything else. Dole it out in small doses until they have earned it. When I meet someone (especially of the opposite sex), I always think to myself, “what’s in it for them”? What could they possibly want or be trying to get me to do that would benefit only their side? As I watch their behavior, which often betrays words, I begin to determine whether they are earning a little trust at a time.

Additionally, you can help detect the type of people who will burn you and misuse your trust if you will follow this rule of 3. (The rule of 3 comes from the book The Sociopath Next Door by  Martha Stout, P.h.d.)

1 lie, 1 broken promise or 1 neglected commitment, could be just a misunderstanding on your part or theirs.  2 lies, 2 broken promises or 2 neglected commitments could be a serious mistake and very poor judgement on their part.

But 3 lies means you are dealing with a Liar. It is in their nature and part of their character. 3 broken promises means you are dealing with a liar. 3 neglected commitments means you are dealing with a liar and someone whose word doesn’t mean anything. That is what you need to be mindful of.

“She said she was my friend”, “He looks like a nice guy”, “But she’s my boss”, “A friend of mine introduced us”. Many people will make excuses for other people’s poor choices for many reasons. If you are one of these people, you need to wake up and STOP dealing with them! It is simple to trust someone who looks like you or who “seems nice”, but looks can be deceiving. Use these tips to keep from making some big mistakes in judgement.

We like to give people the benefit of the doubt. But the one who gets burned is generally the one in denial, you.

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