It’s a Question of Trust

Humans spend a lot of time reading each other.  What do I mean by that?  They want to know if they can trust one another.


Trust is important for building relationships: friendships, romantic relationships, and business relationships.  As a result, English has a lot of words and expressions that deal with trust.

If someone trusts someone else, we call that person trusting.   If the person deserves our trust, s/he is a trustworthy person.  If someone trusts too easily, we call that person naive or gullible.  While it is good to be trusting, it is bad to be naive or gullible.

If you don’t trust someone, you are wary, suspicious, or skeptical.  A wary person isn’t trusting.  They think the person they are interacting with may be untrustworthy.  They doubt what the person says.


We use the verb buy as an idiom to refer to our trust for someone.  If we trust what the person is saying, we buy it.  If we don’t trust what the person is saying, we don’t buy it.

Here are two stories to show you some of these words in context:

Jack is happy because his teacher is a trusting person.  In fact, she is a little gullible.  Jack often forgets to do his homework and makes up an excuse about why he doesn’t have it.  His teacher almost always buys what he says.

Jack is wary of solicitors who try to sell him products over the phone.  He is skeptical of the quality of their products and suspicious of the prices they quote him.  He doesn’t buy what they say.  In fact, he usually hangs up on them.

We have some sayings that we use when we want someone to be skeptical.  They are:

  • Don’t believe everything you (hear / read)
  • Take (…) with a grain of salt.
  • Not all the glitters is gold.
  • You can’t judge a book by its cover.

If we think that someone is honorable and should be trusted, we say:

  • She is an open book.  Her life is an open book.
  • She has a lot of integrity.
  • I’d trust her with my life.
  • She’s someone you’d want in your corner.

Are you skeptical or trusting?  Are you an open book?  Why do you say so?