“You’re too trustworthy,” someone once told me. Huh? Is that possible?
Of course, it was the wrong word. What the knucklehead meant was “too trusting.”
The reason some people are trusting is because they’re trustworthy.
We tend to assume that other people are more precisely like us than they really are. We expect their behavior and their thoughts to be replicas of our own, and we’re irritated and disappointed, or maybe amazed, when that isn’t the case.
If we tend to trust people—if we’re trusting—it’s because we anticipate that others won’t do anything we wouldn’t do. If we’re trustworthy, then we expect other people to be trustworthy.
Conversely, if we’re suspicious and defensive, it’s because we know ourselves too well, and we’re not to be trusted. We assume everyone else is as deceptive as we are.
This theory makes perfect sense to me, since I figure everyone thinks just like I do. If any psychological studies have debunked my long-held belief, I hope you’ll just keep the findings to yourself and leave me to my fantasies.
When trusting backfires, I try not to be too hard on myself. How’s that for a dysfunctional feedback loop?