Over the years we meet many people. With some we will establish meaningful relationships and allow them to be a part of our life. Of others we will keep only a widespread memory and some not even that because the fleeting encounters did not give us the time to fix their faces in our memory. Therefore, meeting after meeting, we are creating our own circles of trust.
What are trust circles in psychology?
Circles of trust are a graphic way of representing the relationships we establish, placing the people we know in a series of concentric circles that differ from each other in the degree of trust, intimacy, attention and care we put into each of them. Circles of trust therefore express the type of relationship we establish with people and how close or far we perceive them.
The circles of trust that make up our relationships
We are at the center of that circle. Starting from this "I" we will create several concentric circles in which we will place the people we know.
1. Intimate circle. This circle is made up of the most intimate people, those we trust with our eyes closed, usually our partner, children, parents and siblings. In this circle are the people we turn to when we have a problem and to whom we confide our secrets and concerns. They are those people who take care of us when we get sick, who are by our side in the most difficult moments and who always care about us.
2. Middle circle of trust. In this circle there are those people with whom we have a close relationship, but not too close. They are people we can ask a favor, those with whom we spend time, have fun and share our vision of the world, with whom we can talk about many topics, some even delicate ones. In this circle you usually find friends and some relatives.
3. Circle of low confidence. This circle is made up of people with whom we entertain relationships, but to whom we would never tell our secrets and would not dare to ask them great favors or confess some details of our intimate life. Typically, these are people with whom we have circumstantial relationships, such as co-workers or more distant family members.
4. Circle of very little trust. This circle is made up of people we know because we have agreed with them on several occasions, but with whom we have not established a relationship. It can be that neighbor we greet when we leave the house, the person who works in another department of our company or the clerk of a shop we usually go to.
5. Circle of mistrust. Outside these circles of trust there are the "others", unknown people with whom we have not established any kind of relationship or with whom we have had a casual but insignificant encounter. Generally these people generate some degree of distrust or suspicion because we don't know them.
Large or narrow circles of trust: what is best for our psychological well-being?
Whenever we expand our trust circles by including other people in them, we break down a psychological wall and close the gap. Having people we can trust by our side is beneficial for our physical and mental health, not only because they will help us when we need them most, but because their mere existence is a source of security and trust. Having solid support networks will allow us to better deal with life's adversities. There are no doubts.
However, allowing untrustworthy people to move into our innermost circle will expose us emotionally, making us vulnerable. If we allow toxic people to settle in our innermost circles we will be at the mercy of them and, sooner or later, their behavior will show the bill.
This means that we need to be more careful about the people we let into our intimacy. It is not a question of assuming a suspicious attitude or a priori distrust of others, closing ourselves in such a small circle that it threatens to suffocate us psychologically, but of being able to choose the people we want by our side in life and not let life be to randomly place someone next to us. It is about choosing those people who can help us bring out the best in ourselves and, of course, transform us into a person who enlightens others.