Fruitloop asks: I am16 years old, and have MAJOR trust issues I would like to get over. I don’t know why I have these issues – I have a good family life and my parents are nothing but kind to me. I have had a lot of friend issues though, and I think that is my problem. I feel as though as soon as I get close to someone I get scared because of my past, because if they find out I’m afraid that they will avoid me :/. Help me please!
Hi Fruitloop –
Trust is one of the toughest issues anyone ever has to deal with. Sure, it’s understandable when someone’s suffered horrible abuse, but it’s still a problem when someone has, like you, had a relatively good experience in this life!
Where do your trust issues come from? Maybe you’re just a person with a nervous temperament, and so you’ve always been a worrier and will always be one. Or maybe your parents are untrusting, and so, while they’ve always been good to you, you’ve learned from them to be concerned about others. Or of course, maybe you have had some experiences that have left you less trusting of your friends.
There’s a good chance that you’ll never be totally free of these trust issues, and that’s not totally a bad thing. Some people are too trusting, and get hurt an awful lot. What you need is to be able to trust people who haven’t given you any reason not to trust them. In other words, to give people the benefit of the doubt, unless they’ve given you a reason not to. If you can do that, you’ll get a lot happier and healthier social life.
So how to do that? Well, the first thing is to sit down and think about the people you meet. Who are they? Are you meeting people who are kind of like you, or who are really different? If you’re a sweet uniformed schoolgirl, and you’re being introduced to motorcycle gang members all the time, then you have a good reason to suspect that they might be worth some concern. (Not to knock all motorcycle gang members! I have to admit, I don’t like the sound of motorcycles, but if I were a person I’m sure I’d want to ride one, and I often wear a bell from a Harley-Davidson store that’s supposed to ward off evil spirits!)
But are you meeting other kids who are a lot like you? Then doesn’t it follow that they probably have the same wants and needs and fears as you? So maybe you can put some effort into making them trust you! And as you concentrate on that, it might take away some of your fears about them. What are the five things you’re most concerned they might do? Can you convince them that you won’t do those things to them?! If so, hopefully they’ll reciprocate by saying something. Maybe it’s “I don’t know why you worry about that. You worry too much!” If that’s the case, they’re probably not the friends you need. But if they say “Oh my gosh yes! I feel just the same way about that!” you might have just found a great new friend!
But then, absolutely, if one does something that takes away your trust, feel free to let them know it and cut them out of your circle of friends, if that’s what you want to do. There’s no need to keep harmful people around!
See, I find that one reason a lot of people (and dogs) have trust issues is that they don’t know how to respond when someone does something rotten to them! Once you know how to react, in a way that feels right to you, that takes a lot of your fears away. You can just quietly refuse to speak to them again, you can slap them in the face, or you can do what I do – bark at them till they run away and stay away! (Now of course, they might come back to you and ask forgiveness, and you have to decide how to respond then. But at that point, hopefully you’ve solved the trust problem, and it’s just up to you whether to let them back in).
Okay, fruitloop, that’s a lot of information, I know! But if you can handle all that, you should be able to move into a new life where you can embrace all sorts of new friendships. And remember, if they can’t handle your past, then they’re just not worthy of you!