In this chapter, we will study the concept of instinctive trust and proactive trust. By our instinct, we find it difficult to trust others. We at times, tend to not believe our partners. In business, we always keep a track of the balance sheet and the account records to keep a tab on where the money is being spent and if our business partner is cheating on us or not. However, this kind of trust is vital and is essential for survival. If we don’t keep a track of everything that is happening around us, there are high chances that we may be cheated upon. However, one must not go beyond a limit to distrust others.
Experiments show that our human instinct prevents us many a times from trusting others. We tend to be suspicious of other people around us. There is, however, a twist to this. The more we trust the other people, the more trustworthy they become. It has been found that when we place trust on a person in a visible manner, the other person becomes bound to reciprocate that trust. There is a biological reason for this phenomenon as well. When we trust someone, a hormone called oxytocin is released. When this hormone is released in the other person too, it leads to reciprocation of trust from their side as well.
If we proactively show trust to others, it leads to bonding between the two parties. Moreover, this builds a culture or an atmosphere of mutual trust. Hence, it is a good idea to trust others proactively. However, humans are hardwired to distrust others. The strangers are always looked with an eye of suspicion, especially in the rural parts of a country. Placing trust on others puts us in a dangerous situation where we are vulnerable to be cheated. Getting someone who can be trusted right away is termed to be a fortunate event.
Distrusting people beyond a time limit is dangerous for our happiness. It is important to test others’ trustworthiness and once we find that the other person is trustworthy, we must begin trusting the person proactively. This shows the person that we trust him or her, and this places a pressure on the person to reciprocate the trust, lest the friendship is broken. Hence, it not only makes us trustful but also elicits trustworthiness form the other person.
Having trust cements the relationship which we have with the other person and this leads to healthier relationships as well. As a result of better relationships, our levels of happiness increase as well.
In the last chapter, we studied that being trustful makes other people trustworthy and reciprocate our trust. Moreover, humans also have an instinctive distrust for the strangers in life.
Trusting others involves a tradeoff between risk and reward. Suppose you have given your friend, who is going to his native place, a thousand bucks to buy you something from his native after 10 days. Now, you may feel suspicious if your friend will come back from his native and give you the article or will he never come back and run away with your money. However, if he does come back, then you will get the reward of your patience. But if, by any chance, the friend betrays you then it will be huge risk gone wrong. Hence, trusting others always involves a tradeoff between risk and reward.
Getting the reward will help in release of oxytocin hormone in your body, which will lead to happiness and stronger bonding between you and your friend. Not trusting your friend will eliminate the risks, but you will also lose the reward. Moreover, the trust level between your friend and you will improve a lot.
Hence, it is essential to realize the importance of showing proactive trust and experience the benefits of proactive trust.