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Whom Do You Trust?
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John Sherck in his blog entry raised the question of how and when do we trust other people.

Ten years ago--nay, even just five years ago--I would have said that I trust everyone I meet until or if they prove themselves untrustworthy. Even an enemy can be trusted to be what he is. It's the ones who smile to your face and then knife you in the back (metaphorically speaking) who betray your trust.

Now I give a more nuanced answer. I am still a trusting soul--that's how I am--but when I meet a person who evinces a pattern of attitude or behavior matching or similar to that of a person who earlier proved untrustworthy, I now take that person provisionally.

Provisionally means I am alert to certain areas in which I might be vulnerable and alert to behaviors or speech which in the past have been linked to hurtful intent or action.

How long would I maintain that wariness? I'm not sure. It probably depends on the degree of damage done by the previous aggressor and the length of time it took to heal.

The burned child fears the stove.

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