For Most People, Trusting Strangers Comes Naturally


When most people interact with strangers, they tend to believe that the person they don’t know very well is being honest with them. In a current business opinion article on the LiveMint website, the founder of the peer mentoring community Network Capital, Utkarsh Amitabh, says that it’s a natural human response for us to do so.

Mr. Amitabh refers to author Malcolm Gladwell who says that humans make big errors in judgment, and that we generally believe that the people we encounter are being honest with us. Because of ill-informed, negative attitudes and gut feelings run astray, we humans regularly encounter all sorts of misunderstandings with trust.

In his workplace, Utkarsh Amitabh sees millennials consistently seeking advice from their peers on a range of subjects. With people generally showing less trust in political, religious and financial organizations than in years past, trust in one’s peers has grown considerably.

While situations can sometimes go wrong when strangers are trusted, our own sense of naivete can often contribute to the situation. On a larger level, there are many more advantages offered by putting our trust in strangers.

It is noted in this article that utilizing the Hanlon’s razor principle can be applied for successful interaction with strangers. This adage basically reminds people that malice or harm may not be the intent of a person. Instead, the person’s actions may be driven by stupidity.

On a subconscious level, people think that they can size-up or judge strangers through their body language, behavior and other factors. In actuality, however, our appraisals are often incorrect.

There are people who act nervous, and as if they’re guilty of something, yet they are actually honest and truthful. Then there are the individuals who always act self-assured, but are really very good at lying.

In closing, Utkarsh Amitabh mentions Malcolm Gladwell’s formula for interacting with strangers. This entails utilizing caution and humility when trusting people. Because situations don’t always work out well, caution should be put into place. Humility is also necessary when dealing with strangers, because we really don’t know anything about them.

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