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Are You Trusting Or Naive – And How Can You Tell?

Written by: Sue Plumtree, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


I’ve never been cynical, sceptical or mistrusting.

After I left my marriage of 37 years I spent some years learning to know, like and trust myself.

Coincidentally (if you believe in coincidences which I don’t) I started noticing just how wonderful, generous and helpful people are – something I had never noticed before.

I’ve come to realise that most people mean well and have positive intentions.

And I’ve found that 9 times out of 10, they do.

I call this, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Another way of describing it is trusting. I also believe that trusting is a result of liking and loving myself because when I trust myself I also trust others.

Which is why when I recently found myself in the middle of a most disappointing experience in the business context I was deeply shocked, especially since I never even saw it coming.

For a while, that experience shook my belief in people’s goodwill to the core.

It made me question myself.

Had I been overly trusting? Had I been naïve? Was I taking this trusting thing a bit too far?

This is what happened.

I had developed a course that would show University students how to prevent mental health issues when under stress and pressure to perform.

One particular university, a prominent one, was really excited about my proposal and we arranged to meet.

I met with the top person in this department and we had a terrific conversation. I was so excited!

She suggested I develop a detailed outline and I couldn’t wait to get started.

More meetings followed and my ideas kept flowing all of which I shared. They seemed thrilled.

And then, unexpectedly, they stopped taking my calls.

Then I got an email saying that they couldn’t afford my fee and had decided to do the work in-house

The shock was not just due to the fact that I'd done a lot of work; it was due to the fact that I'd been led to believe they really wanted what I had to offer. On reflection, I guess they did, just not the way I’d expected.

Here are some of the thoughts I grappled with at the time.

Their behaviour was dishonest. There are dishonest people and there’s nothing I can do about their behaviour.

But I wasn’t the innocent bystander. I allowed the flattery to lure me into giving more than I should have.

I had forgotten the value of my offer and gave it away far too freely.

I had forgotten the law of reciprocity.

But my most important conclusion was not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.

I can't change how people behave, and what they say and do. The only thing under my control is my own behaviour, making sure I don't mislead another person for gain – practical, financial or emotional.

Sometimes there are useful lessons to be learned from observing or experiencing other people's behaviours.

I'm very glad to say that, in my experience, people and companies like that are in the minority and that their value to me is that they act as a reminder of how NOT to show up.

But, when all’s been said and done the bottom line for me is not to lose that trust in people.

I’d rather be betrayed on those rare occasions than live my life not trusting.

If that had been you, what would you have decided in terms of how to show up in the future?

I’m happy to offer you a complimentary one-hour coaching session with no strings attached.

You will have the opportunity to slow down and reflect on how to create a life and relationships that reflect who you are today.

Give me a call on 07903 795027 or email me at

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Read more from Sue!


Sue Plumtree, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Sue’s passion is to enable people to build strong and loving relationships.

Her third book, ‘Open Your Heart: The 7 Secrets Of Strong And Loving Relationships’ is getting 5* reviews on Amazon.

Sue was unhappily married for 37 years when she finally left aged 60.

Over the following 10 years, she built a successful coaching practice working with people over 50, wrote her autobiography, and built solid friendships.

In December 2015 aged 70, she met Dave, her best friend, lover, soulmate, and now her husband.

As a prolific writer and regular blogger, Sue shares her painfully acquired wisdom about what works and doesn’t work in a relationship as well as how it affects our emotional, mental health, and wellbeing.

She also loves writing about how to build strong, loving, and long-lasting relationships both from personal experience as well as research articles and longitudinal studies.

Sue is a personal relationship coach, trainer, facilitator, and published author.


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