Critical questionMost 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...

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.

Expert Answers
rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

eaamon | Student

"trust," is something earned, not given.

one is facebook, one day everybodies info was set out for others to see even if they had it set for family/friends only.

they have not earned my trust.

bhawanipur | Student

Let me tell a real story. I joined Air Force about 32 years before. As I lived in a small village situated in the country side, it was a great news for the villagers. Many people visited our house and described about their experiences in train journey and as well as about nature of the North Indian and South Indian people. One of them told me that I may find some fraud during journey who will try to become friend and cheat me taking my all belongings when I sleep. He also told that there are so many people know my language and would ask for money for time being and then thei will get of the train. When I was returning home after training, in October,1981, by train, one gentleman approached me and spoke to me in my language. We introduced each other and talked about our state and culture. Suddenly, he asked me 100 rupees. He said he has his wife and children and want to buy fruits. He is in another compartment nearby and will return me in the next stop. It reminded me to the advice given me by my villager and I acted on it. I denied to give as I have not that much money. In the next stop I went to the nearby and other compartments and I found him nowhere. Therefore, we should not trust all readily.

At the same time, if we believe that a person is well known and trustworthy, we should once try with him. If he is a learned person and of great personality, there is nothing wrong. We find so many instances in the novels of Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy and others.