A couple of days ago, I came across two words that never confused me (probably because I have never seen them next to each other) because in my mind I have known both of them for a long time and have seen them both (separately). But this time was different. The words are distrust and mistrust. As a very curious human being, I started digging into it.

According to Grammatist, distrust and mistrust are roughly the same. They both mean lack of trust or to regard without trust. But distrust is often based on experience or reliable information, while mistrust if is often a general sense of unease towards someone or something.

In Predictably Irrational (Chapter 12), Dan Ariely talks about mistrust which is widespread throughout our society. It is not just related to business or politics; it became a trend that we are mistrustful of everyone. To demonstrate it, He did an interesting experiment of setting up a “Free Money” Booth. At different times, he had different denominations like $1, $10, $20, and $50 bills, and he was just giving them away for free. The results were stunning:

  • $1 – 1% of people stopped at the booth
  • $50 – 19% stopped at the booth
  • Vast majority did not stop at all and those who did were extremely suspicious

This shows us the reality of the society today. We became so doubtful and unsure of everything and everyone that it is hard to believe our eyes and ears when we see or hear something. I think it is a problem because the relationships that we build in life are all based on the trust. How did we become so skeptical that we have to question things in life that should not be questioned? A broken promise, a missed deadline or even unethical behavior puts a mark of distrust. It is not a quick process that one morning you would wake up and feel distrustful towards someone or something; it builds up progressively through stages (source):

  1. Doubt – start to experience slight uncertainty
  2. Suspicion – belief without proof
  3. Anxiety – feeling uneasiness
  4. Fear – afraid to show vulnerability
  5. Self-Protection – put up walls in the relationship


Please become familiar with these stages, and if you ever start to doubt something, take actions right away! Just ask, no one will bite you 🙂

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Quote of the Post: “You must trust and believe in people, or life becomes impossible” – Anton Chekhov

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