How to Recognize When You Are Too Trusting

I am a lucky person in many ways. And one of those ways is the fact that I was born to parents who are very trustworthy -- especially my mom. If she said she would do something, her word was as good as signing something in blood. I never, ever had to question whether she really meant it or not. My dad wasn't quite as reliable, but he was just a little slower to come through. Regardless, both of my parents live(d) their lives with a lot of ethics and integrity.

Although I just said that was lucky, it has become a double-edged sword for me throughout my life. As you might guess, because my parents are/were very trustworthy (my dad has passed away, but my mom is still alive), I am as well. If I say it, I mean it. And if I don't mean it, I don't say it.

For example, even if it's something simple like meeting a friend for dinner one night, I never cancel unless absolutely necessary (like I can't get out of bed because I have the flu, or some other unforeseen occurrence which would prevent me from keeping my commitment). Even if the day arrives and I am too tired or just don't feel like going out for some reason, I still go. Because I made a commitment, and I am a trustworthy person.

Since I am this way, I naïvely believed everyone was like this too. Luckily, I chose friends early in my life who were trustworthy too. So up until my 40s, I pretty much had good experiences with people.

Then a few years ago, everything changed for some reason. I met a few people who are not only NOT trustworthy, they acted in some very unethical ways. For example, I had a friend who persuaded me to get in on a "once-in-a-lifetime" investment. We were very close friends, and I trusted her. Well, not only did she scam me out of my money, she has done it to other people too. In fact, I think she's probably running a Ponzi scheme, although I have no proof of it.

Think about it -- so many of us are way too trusting. I had to learn my lesson the hard way, and maybe you did too.

For example, do you know someone who has fallen prey to an email scam? I get emails all the time from completely unknown people who tell me that my website is a complete mess and they want me to give them money to help me with it. And I also get emails telling me that a long lost relative left me $15,000,000 dollars and that if I give them my bank account number, that person will wire me the money. Umm, yeah right. I think not

And then you have the poor people who are scammed in the online dating world. Many people create fake profiles and then woo their victims into falling in love with them. And this is all before they actually meet! In fact, some of these people are on the other side of the world and they're just waiting for you to hand over your life savings to them after they gain your trust.

So what can we do to be sure that our level of trust is appropriate? I mean, we can't go around in life trusting no one. But obviously, we can't trust everyone. So what should we do?

I think you need to use a combination of your head and your heart/intuition. We all have that inner voice that speaks to us when something is right - or wrong. You need to pay attention to that and not talk yourself out of it. But, you also need to use your head, too. If you think you've met Mr. Right but he seems too perfect, then he probably is. Don't blindly follow your heart either

I have gotten into trouble because I didn't heed this motto: "If it's too good to be true, then it probably is." I should have used my head, but I also should have acknowledged how I felt about things too. It sounds like it's a difficult line to walk, but it's not.

I hope this has given you some insight as to how you can protect yourself by appropriately assessing who to trust and who not to. Because no one wants to become the next statistic!