For most of my life, I’ve struggled with trusting people in relationships.
And I’m not just talking about romantic relationships, here: It takes me a while to open up to people in friendships too, for fear I’ll soon regret being so vulnerable.
I suspect this is because whenever I let my guard down and open up, people tend to take advantage of me. They recognize I’m a kind and caring person, so they do things to me they probably wouldn’t do to a more intimidating individual.
For example, I’ve had so-called friends (and even family members) blab about secrets I've told them in confidence. I’ve had people “borrow” my stuff without asking, and then lie about it when I call them out. Not to mention, I’ve had individuals I trusted talk sh*t about me behind my back.
Generally, after situations like these occur, I realize I was naïve in thinking I could trust these people. So my guard quickly goes back up.
I know I’m not the only person out there who has felt betrayed at some point. Honestly, I bet almost everyone has been let down by someone he or she once trusted. However, I do think the way I handle these instances is a bit different from the norm.
Over the years, I’ve learned I can like people and have considerably fulfilling friendships with them, even if I can’t trust them.
I realize I probably sound crazy for implying untrustworthy people can still play an important role in someone’s life, but just hear me out:
Liking a person and trusting a person are two totally different things.
When you like somebody, you essentially enjoy his or her company. Maybe he or she makes you laugh. Maybe this person likes doing the same kinds of activities you do. Maybe he or she is simply a fun person to be around.
Whatever the case may be, this person adds some kind of value to your life when he or she is with you. People like this can be great friends to have, but they don’t necessarily have to be trustworthy.
While liking people has to do with how you feel when they’re around, trusting them has to do with how you feel when they’re not around.
When a friend shows symptoms of untrustworthiness, you don’t need to instantly cut him or her out of your life. You just need to be a little wary.
Trustworthiness is only one quality, after all. A lack of it should not diminish the other positive attributes a person possesses.
Learn to enjoy the good in people (yes, even the ones you don’t trust). Just maybe don’t over share when it comes to personal information, and certainly don’t leave them alone with your prized possessions.
Try to remember that people who are not trustworthy can still brighten your day, and people who are trustworthy can still be boring AF.
My best friends and favorite people have proven to be trustworthy and likable. However, I would be ignorant to expect the same level of awesomeness from everyone I meet. I would also be seriously missing out if I stopped talking to everyone who was dishonest at one point or another.
So call me crazy if you want, but my acceptance of people who have both positive and negative traits is not something I’m ashamed of. In fact, interacting with a diverse group of people with varying qualities only enhances my quality of life, and makes me a happier person.
I certainly don’t trust everyone, and I don’t like everyone.
But I do give everyone a chance to impact my life in one way or another.