Trusting Expectations

A recent post by Charlotte Wittenkamp on expectations and attachments inspired me to share this post. The post stated that “research on how our expectations shape outcomes”. For example, if you trust people, you make them more trustworthy.

This is a different perspective from what was stated in my post titled “The Expectations Effect | BIZCATALYST 360°”. In this post, I wrote “Unmet expectations lead to displeasure. The paradox of expectations- you expect good to get bad things.

It is the Expectations Effect that the more you expect the further you get from achieving them.

So, the new paradox is that if you expect people to be trustful the greater the disappointment shall be. However, when you trust people you may also make them more trustful.

Thinking deeper on this issue leads me to say that when we trust people we may inflate our expectations of them at the same time we make the same people more trustful.

Reasons for the Inflation of Expectations

  • The ‘halo effect’– this is our tendency to give high ratings of one trait to a person, to extend the same to other traits. If we rate a person high in trust we may then give the same rating to other traits, which is not necessarily true.
  • The ‘placebo effect’. It is when we expect a good effect and it occurs we tend to attribute it to the properties of the placebo itself”. This is not necessarily correct.

It is an interesting dilemma. If we trust our expectations of others we may make them more trustful. However, our expectations of trust may inflate and prove us wrong.

To what degree should we trust our expectations? Please share your thoughts.


Ali Anani
Ali Anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

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  1. I really like your belief in trust and the reasons you lead to motivation
    I like to make some distinctions.
    Probably trust is always a risk, but if you do not “risk”, you will never know if it is worth trusting.
    Certainly, the trust is nothing but an offer in advance of faith toward behavior that will have the people and situations that have not yet taken place or are about to occur.
    Trust is a fundamental aspect of our life, without it we could not do anything. And, likewise, trust is a fundamental aspect of organizational life. Without trust, no organization could operate. Above all, the lack of trust has a very real impact on the speed of organizations.
    But achieving a high level of trust in an organization is certainly not easy. In organizations, risk matters a lot. So more than trust I would think of the courage to take risks!
    The real issue to be put at the center, in the company, is reliability. I believe that it is possible to improve reliability and above all it is possible to improve one’s ability to judge, to assess the degree of reliability of individuals and possible events.

    • Great thoughts agai, Aldo

      I like your idea of reliability in orgabizations
      I must add here the equation of trust

      Trust = (Reliability X Desirability)/ I referring to egoism

      Trust and reliablity are proportional and the more reliable an employee is the more trusted she/he shall be

  2. Having a feeling of trust in others is a fundamental prerequisite for creating healthy and fulfilling relationships.
    If we are “confident” we will have positive expectations. This belief can be beneficial, in fact if we trust other people and relate with authenticity and without defenses, it will be more likely that they act according to our needs.
    Positive expectation, to be useful, must however be flexible, that is, we must be able to modify it according to the people in front of us, otherwise we risk becoming naive!

    • Inspiirng thoughts, Aldo

      Yes, with no positive expectation we fail to build relations with stable foundations.
      This does not mean giving trust without what you descrbied as “flexibile”. Not all people desreve the same degree of trust or may keep our trust all the time.

  3. Thank you for running with this subject, Ali.

    Two thoughts come up.
    The first is that there is a big space for different outcomes even if we trust that person has integrity. We may not get our way but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we will get cheated. It just means that we don’t get things our way.

    The other thought is to which degree we live in a context where cheating is made easier or more difficult by the legal systems around us and their enforcement, and to which degree the incitement to cheating exist because nobody cares how you got about your wealth as long as you are wealthy. That is both a cultural and a systemic effect on top of how we may be predisposed by attachment experiences.

    • Exactly Charlotte and your first thought. If we do not get rhubgs our way this could be to myriad of reasons and not necessarily cheating.

      Power has its way to protect people even though they cheat. The wealth they get helps powerful people spoil politicians and even bribe influential people to turn a blind eye to what they do and even “tailoring” laws to their advantage.

  4. Ali Anani, thank you for a most interesting post.

    In response to your closing question, “To what degree should we trust our expectations?”

    I am sure much has been written about trust and its related expectations. This may also be referenced in differences in culture, religious, socio-economic issues etc.

    I believe that “Trusting” anyone, or even a thing is a personal choice, and that trust does not come with any guarantees and hence all expectations should encompass reality.

    We all have reasons to trust and not to trust, but if we first trust ourselves then trusting others become easier.

    I also understand that when we decide to trust someone it means that we believe in that person’s integrity. Trust is also evaluating that the intentions are good.

    In practice, however, it also means that we know that there are going to be mistakes. Getting disappointed is also part of the equation.

    Please allow me to share the following:

    “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” Alexander Pope

    Live your life, sing your song. Not full of expectations. Not for the ovations. But for the joy of it. – Rasheed Ogunlaru

    If you expect great things of yourself and demand little of others, you’ll keep resentment far away. – Confucius

    • I truly enjoyed reading your insightful comment Jonathan Solomon

      Yes, there is almost nothing that is risk-free. Part of trust is risk NOT ONLY from the trusted party but also of ourselves.

      When we trust and give this credit to someone we start to behave that this person is good in all aspects and traits. This is the Halo Effect. Without realizing that we might be wrong and stop verifying.

      Reading this quote from your comment ““Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” Alexander Pope made me think.
      Is it possible that we stop expecting? If I take an exam would not I expect a certain grade?
      If I invest in the stock market or invest in real estate a mi not expecting to make profit If not, why would I invest?

      You make me think louder.

      One other thought in your comment that aroused my attention is “We all have reasons to trust and not to trust, but if we first trust ourselves then trusting others become easier.”
      I agree completely for how could we give others what we do not have?