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Our biological need to trust is strong.  We approach situations with an almost automatic seeking of a transaction to occur.   Knowing how we approach our daily interactions is important for creating moments of clarity that fit with our values.

Naive & Distrust

Some of us approach awarding our trust from a place of distrust making it hard for others to convince us we should place our trust in them.  Some of us approach from a more naive place that can make it hard for us when trust is fragile & broken quickly.  These are extremes.  We're each at a different place on the spectrum in every situation & every interaction each day.

When we approach from a more neutral place we are approaching in a way that's open to either direction of awarding or removing our trust.  In this way we're making a much more intellectually informed decision while maintaining the ability to move easily based on situational circumstances.

Point of View

What's your point of view?  Are you a glass is half full or half empty person?  Either way, this might be helpful to ponder.  If there were more "bad" in the world than "good" we'd already have wiped each other out altogether.  Having a positive view of humanity is helpful.


Increasing your awareness of where you are on the scale between trust & mistrust is the first step in managing your vulnerability.  Vulnerability is necessary for high performing teams.  The same level may not be quite as necessary for the dry cleaners you trust.

Common Sense

  • Twenty years ago, just like today, we don't trust journalists & politicians
  • Twenty years ago, just like today, we do trust judges & nurses

We seek to place trust in many different ways.  We trust the elementary school teacher to teach the kids to read by maybe not to drive the school bus.

Are they Trustworthy?

It's impossible to rebuild trust because we can't rebuild what other people give us.  Seek relationships where people are trustworthy.  The best ones happen when both parties consistently show evidence they are trustworthy.

If you're finding it hard to decide, ask yourself this question:
What would the person you want to be do?

And do that.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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