If one wanted to create an unambiguous definition of trust which would be comprehensive and contain all the key elements, they would encounter many difficulties. One of them is finding the starting point. For example, trust from the point of sociology will have a very different context and definition then in psychology. Below you will find dictionary definitions of trust which show what a multifaceted and diverse concept it is.
“Trust is a simplification strategy which allows individuals adapt to the complex social environment and thus access a wider pool of resources.”
“Trust is the conviction or expectation that the partner will take our interests into consideration in the course of the exchange.”
“To trust is to believe that the results of the intentional action undertaken by the other will be beneficial from our point of view.”
The sociologist and author of the book “Zaufanie Fundament Społeczeństwa” [Trust as the Foundation of the Society] prof. Piotr Sztompka has attempted to give a short and concise definition of trust which reflects significance of this phenomenon. He phrases it as follows: “To trust is to place a bet on unsure, future actions of other people”. To place a bet is understood here as to conclude an informal, aleatory contract with the `possible risk of loss. In practical terms one might say that trusting someone always carries the possibility of loss.
There are two components of this definition which we should take into account: beliefs and the way they are expressed. In other words, when we trust someone we expect that the other person will behave in way we would want them to. In this way, we try to predict the future and we expect a certain sequence of events with a specific set of results to take place. Trust is closely linked to the notion of distrust. Behind the second term there is an attitude of avoidance or refusal of actions towards other people. It is caused by a feeling of an attitude of hostility of the other person and the expectation that they will harm us.
Knowing what trust is constitutes the first step to a thorough analysis of our relationships and responding the question to what extent do I trust other and if other people perceive me as trustworthy.