I had a really interesting discussion with a friend of a friend this past weekend. I knew that he lived in New York City and was intrigued by this, having not known too many that live in NYC. We were left alone while our friends were getting some drinks and to avoid the silence with new acquaintances that I despise*, I asked him how he liked New York. He loves it. He continued by saying that as a result of living there for so long, he trusts no one. He likes this about himself and actually thinks it’s a sign that he’s matured. I was astonished; I wondered how it was that he could go through life trusting no one. I’m just the opposite - I trust everyone, even those that I know I shouldn’t. I’ve always thought of this as a positive attribute that I have, that it was important to trust and was a sign of good character. He disagreed completely. Perhaps even hinting that it was a completely ignorant way to think. After moving to New York from Rhode Island, at first he was completely green, open to all the new experiences and cultural opportunities NYC had to offer an innocent soul such as himself. Then he got screwed over, then screwed over again and again until he realized unless he started screwing people back, that he would not survive in the city. Then began the distrust for every being he came into contact with. Even friends were not to be trusted. However, he was careful to point out that there were a few select few that had earned his trust and that he loves deeply because of it. I started thinking that maybe I have been slightly ignorant, blinded by the hope that I hold that the majority of human beings actually are genuine and kind. I’ve always felt I should trust people until they prove otherwise. The part of my life that I am most aware that this train of thought is not working for me has been in my relationships with men. But I want to give people the benefit of the doubt. I mean, don’t they deserve that as fellow humans?
I'm starting to think that perhaps the people in New York City are not as cool as I once thought they were. Sure, they are fashionably dressed, have great careers and excellent social lives that completely put mine to shame (then again, a squirrels life probably puts mine to shame). But what is the point if they live their daily lives not trusting anyone? It seems cold and uncaring. And why would I want to be your friend if you’re not going to trust me, if I have to take measures just to prove to you that I can be trusted and worthy of your friendship? Please. I was actually hanging out with a guy recently who grew up in New York and has recently moved here and that was one of the things he said to me that I could not forget. He said he trusted no one. Not even me. I was insulted. I had done nothing to him to make him distrust me and was not planning on it. (With him, though, it turns out that was just the beginning. I’ll embellish further in a later post.) It was such a turn-off to already not be trusted.
So my question is…am I being naïve? Is this something I haven’t been clued in on until now? Should I stop trusting people? Should I actually get off the couch and work on my social life?
(*I try my hardest to be comfortable with silence. Sometimes I succeed. But those who say that it’s a result of lack of self-confidence that causes one to dislike silences is full of shit. I consider myself to be quite the confident individual; I would just rather not sit there feeling the energy of another human being just inches away with the silence between us just pounding pounding pounding, causing me to want to scream at the very next second that we sit there with no words exchanged. It has more to do with my lack of ability to shut up than self-confidence. )