“Don’t you trust me?”
This is a question that is mostly asked by either the naïve or the manipulators.
You do not trust that something you drop will fall down, you know it. (We are talking about mundane living and not about free fall in a spaceship). Proven facts do not require trust. It is only when you do not know that something is true that you have to trust in it. Thus, the very fact that you have to trust in something means that there is an element of doubt about the truthfulness of the thing that you trust in. Trust, therefore, carries the seeds of distrust embedded in it.
How true then that trust in any human relationship exists only on the grounds of trust in your judgment about the other person. Being but ordinary mortals, we do not possess infallible judgment and, thus, it is natural for us to feel doubt when things happen that seem to contradict our trust. It is only the naïve who can think that their own honesty is so apparent that the other person cannot have the least smidgen of doubt about it.
If someone dear to you seems to have some doubt about some facet of your character or actions, getting all wounded about it and plaintively asking him/her this question is actually no help. To trust you beyond a shadow of doubt the other person has to trust his/her judgment beyond a shadow of doubt – which is close to impossible for most ordinary mortals. It is best to explain the situation. Else, you could well shut the other person up from pursuing the question but, in any long term relationship, such silences will only end up killing it. Over a period, there will be more knowledge and, thus, less reason for distrust. If the distrust is persistent and inexplicable, it is still naïve to be asking this question – it is probably better for you to kill the relationship yourself.
More often than not, this question is asked to manipulate the other person’s thoughts or actions. The manipulation may be unconscious, minor or even benign but manipulation it would be.
“Hey! You are keeping this secret even from me. Don’t you trust me?”
The intent here is to get to know what you are keeping from him. When he asks about trusting him the question is - Trust what? That he will not use it to blackmail you? That he will not start tweeting it to the rest of the world the moment you leave him? That he will not share it with someone and say, “But you guys are so close. I thought you would have told him yourself”? That he will not say, “He told me that long back” when you choose to share the secret with the rest of the world? That he will not part with it to save his life?
“Come on! I need this money for my new business. Don’t you trust me?”
Trust what, again? Trust that she will not run away with the money or deny having borrowed it from you? Trust that she has the ability to successfully run her business and be able to return the money to you? Trust that she would have made provisions to return your money, in the event that something untoward happens to her?
We, invariably, end up considering this question as one of trusting the other person’s integrity. Any time an act of trust is required of us, there are multiple things to be considered in addition to the other person’s integrity. A doubt on any of these facets may cause you to prefer not to fall in with the other person’s wishes.
Being asked the question, however, puts you in the position of either telling the other person exactly what you are doubtful about – something you do not want to do with a person you care for, normally - like for example, telling your business-woman friend that you do not think that she would do well in business. This puts you in the position of falling in with the other person’s wishes while not inclined to do so.
When not used by a naïve person, this is a question that has been liberally used by manipulators to get their way. What, to me, is reprehensible is the fact that it works only on the people who really care for you and, to me, a person who will cheerfully manipulate people who love him/her is not the sort of person I really want to know.
“Don’t you trust me?” is one of the most insidious manipulative questions in the world. Trust me!