Critical question Most people tend to trust others too readily. To avoid being taken advantage of, however, it is generally wise to be doubtful and suspicious of others' motives or honesty. Many people would agree that if you find yourself doubting other people's sincerity or questioning their intentions, your instincts are probably correct. You are less likely to regret being cautious than being too trusting.   Is it wise to be suspicious of the motives or honesty of other people, even those who appear to be trustworthy?Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

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My father has an amazing saying that I live by today: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Everyone deserves a chance to prove who they are. Be open to others, but be cautious regarding their motives until you actually know them.

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As the saying goes, trust but verify.  You cannot go around being suspicious of everyone, but you also cannot be gullible.  I think we all have to accept that we will be taken in sometimes, but I also think that’s better than living a life of paranoia.

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There are quite a few stories about under-estimating people who turn out to be heroes. Fairy tales are often told about people (and animals) whose outward appearance does not reflect the person's inner qualities.

The Ugly Duckling, Cinderella, and The Frog Prince are all stories like this.

However, there are other stories about how trust can be misplaced. The Emperor's Clothes is one example. However, in this story the Emperor's trust is an element of his conceit.

 

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It depends on what the situation is.  It is certainly wise to be suspicious of anyone who is trying to get you to give them money, even if they seem legitimate and trustworthy.  But you have to believe in people's trustworthiness in things like social situations or you will never have good friendships.

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Without knowing what your readings are, it is difficult to think about how to answer this question. Literature provides too many examples of betrayal to list here, virtually every one of Shakespeare's tragedies, for example, includes some sort of betrayal.

More generally, while I think most people are fundamentally honest, it is always best to get things in writing. Sometimes, it seems, the temptation to make a little extra money or get ahead at work can be too much to overcome. There is a difference between being suspicious and being prudent.

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