Who Can You Trust?

Self-Therapy For People Who ENJOY Learning About Themselves


In the general population about one out of ten people are completely untrustable. They are called "cons" and they live by these "rules":

  1. Only fools tell the truth.
  2. If you can get by with it, it's OK.
  3. Joy and love don't exist. Excitement is the only good feeling in life.
  4. Say anything - you can always talk your way out of it.

Luckily, when we meet cons we usually know it right away. If their shallow values don't give them away, the fact that they break their word about 50% of the time surely does.


The other 90% of us are trustable about 95% of the time. We don't lie as a general rule, and we don't live by the egocentric rules listed above. But we do lie to ourselves sometimes, about specific things! And, of course, we lie to others about these same things. This is what makes the question of trust so difficult.


If you are wondering whether to trust someone or not, the only question you need to ask yourself is: How often do they break their word? Make mental notes whenever the person you are evaluating gives you their word by making a promise or a commitment:

  • If they almost never break their word, they are trustable.
  • If they break their word about a few things but not about most things, trust them ONLY in the areas in which they keep their word.
  • If they break their word about 50% of the time, they are cons. Don't trust them at all.


Infants will coo while one person holds them but cry loudly as soon as someone else picks them up. They make quick and accurate decisions about who to trust. If we could still make our decisions that way, trust problems would be easily resolved.



Infants are little bundles of physical sensation. They do their remembering with their bodies, not with their minds. Their bodies remember what it feels like to be handled with love, and they compare that "body memory" with how they feel when they are being held by someone else.


  1. Think about someone you trust completely because they always keep their word.
  2. While thinking about this person, "take a reading" of your body. Notice how you feel in your torso (shoulders to pelvis). To make sure you remember this sensation, write down a few words to describe it (e.g.-"warmth in my chest," "lighter in my stomach,")
  3. Practice making yourself feel this sensation over and over (about 10 times). Get so good at it that you can make the sensation happen with just a single thought.
  4. Now think about someone you do not trust because they seldom keep their word..
  5. Repeat step 2. (Notice the COMPLETELY DIFFERENT sensation.)
  6. Repeat step 3 (Practice this new feeling.)
  7. Now test your skill by thinking about some recent acquaintances. Take another "body reading" as you think about each of these people, one at a time. Compare these sensations with the sensations you remember from the person you trust, and then with the sensations you remember from the person you don't trust.
  8. Then simply ask yourself: "Do I trust these new people?"

The answer will come to you immediately, without further thinking, and without further testing or practice. You have reacquired a skill, and it will always be available for you.


The ability you relearned has a cute name. It's called "the little professor." It means "the brilliant way infants think." Infants are almost never wrong! (Wish I could say the same thing about my grownup thinking!) From now on you will be able to use your "little professor" along with your adult thinking to help you make all the important decisions in your life.

Set the goal of learning to read your body so well that it can even work as a "lie detector" to uncover the lies you tell yourself!

Look for other articles in this series about trust.

next: An Inspiration From War

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 9). Who Can You Trust?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 16 from

Last Updated: March 30, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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