A few thoughts on trust
Recent events in my work and in my personal life made me question the nature of trust and how we build it. This in turn reminded me of something that happened a couple of years ago.
Back then, I lived in Milton Keynes (UK), worked at KPMG and enjoyed a healthy wage as a result. I lived in my own flat and saved a decent amount of money monthly.
Over that summer, a number of young people like myself moved to Milton Keynes from Spain. Looking to improve their English and find stable jobs, most of them started working as Au Pairs. Through common acquaintances and basketball, I ended up meeting them.
A month later, three of them, Omar, Luis and Elias mulled over the possibility of buying themselves a second-hand car which would have made their lives much easier. The only problem: they didn’t have the savings to do so.
They seemed like good, trustworthy people so I offered to lend them a thousand Pounds for their car which they could pay back as their situation improved.
Unsurprisingly, they refused. More surprisingly, Omar tried to teach me a lesson. Very kindly, he warned me that I was too naive and trusting. He told me that there were a lot of bad people out there who would take advantage of my kindness without a second thought. He reminded me that I hardly knew them and that I would have no way to get my money back if they decided to screw me over.
I disregarded his comments. To me, helping someone out was well worth the risk. Finding out whether these three guys were the good friends I thought they could be was worth a thousand pounds.
Admittedly, I have not had as many bad experiences in my life as Omar has, or many other people have. That being said, I have had my fair share of disappointments. By the time I turned 20, these experiences had made me stop trusting people. I closed myself off, built walls around myself and generally adopted a suspicious outlook on people. It took the extreme care and kindness of my then girlfriend to let me see that people aren’t all that bad and to help me open up again. It is my time with her that gave me faith in people again and made me into the trusting person I am today. And this is what made me disregard Omar’s advice and warnings.
Today, I see people as trustworthy until proven wrong.
I’m glad I didn’t take Omar’s advice. And I’m sure he is too. A month later, I took in Pedro, a Spanish guy who lost his accommodation, for a few weeks. Barely one month after that, Omar was the one who lost his job and accommodation. And while I still didn’t know him well, I trusted him enough to take him in. He spent about five months camping in my living room while he found a job and saved enough to rent his own flat. We developed a strong friendship which still lasts today, two years later.
Though initially a stranger, he proved to be one of the most trustworthy and loyal people I’ve met.
Written by Enrique Garcia Bourne | Last edited: 27th December 2018