Trust is commonly regarded as a positive good - the lubricant
of business relationships. Like oil, it is slippery and difficult to grasp.
We define trust as a property of a system or relationship
based on expectations of reasonable and fair behaviour.
In some situations, trust is regarded as simply the absence
of mistrust. We generally trust people and situations, unless we have some
specific reason to distrust them. However, this may sometimes be insufficient
basis for positive trust.
There is a clear difference between a simple absence of trust,
and positive mistrust. Mistrust is supposedly a consequence of past
actions. In fact, it is often a consequence of a complex set of beliefs,
perceptions, associations and interpretations.
Mistrust is usually more difficult to deal with
than simple absence of trust. How do I deal with other people's mistrust
of me, whether this is fairly deserved or not? Do I tackle false
beliefs head-on, or do I try to dissociate myself from the events that
triggered the mistrust, or do I simply switch my identity and reappear
under a new guise?