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Power of Trust

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Rozalin: ...Y-you... You are really going to trust me? I am the daughter of Overlord Zenon. I am a demon, and you intend to kill my father. What part of that equation gives you the notion that you can trust me!? Are you mocking me?
Adell: No, no. I'm not. It's just that... I promised myself that I would trust you. And you know how I am with promises...

Trust is a rare commodity. And we mean the premium stuff, not the dime-a-dozen trust the Horrible Judge of Character dishes out. When someone is trusted by another person, it feels good and may even strengthen the one trusted, like benefiting from a small-scale Combined Energy Attack or Heroic Resolve. Those so trusted will feel obligated to live up to that trust, giving the proverbial extra 10%, or sticking with the truster through hell or high water.

When the Power of Trust is directed at a morally neutral or gray-black character, it makes them feel good in an uncomfortable way... the kind that makes them have to suppress the urge to Pet the Dog. This is one of the things that can make bad guys like The Mole switch sides. (Sometimes they will backslide. However, telling them Remember That You Trust Me can neutralize that effect.)

In the right setting it can act as strongly as The Power of Love or Friendship. Of course, in darker and more cynical series, the Love Martyr and Horrible Judge of Character will think this is enough to change someone and be proven wrong rather painfully. In certain settings, insulting the one who instills the Power of Trust in front of the trustee may be a Berserk Button.

Because Children Are Innocent, they can wield this without even noticing it. Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand runs on this.

It's not without its advantage for the trusting character, who can frequently carry off great deeds because of relying on the character he trusts. Back-to-Back Badasses, for instance, is feasible only for characters willing to trust each other, since it gives the other character a prime chance to stab you In the Back — but if you are willing to trust, the other character may keep you from being stabbed In the Back.

Even if In the End, You Are on Your Own, the Power of Trust an ally bestows can be just as good as their physical presence.

See Turn the Other Cheek, I Gave My Word. Compare Career-Building Blunder, which builds on this.

See also Undying Loyalty, which can be an end result of this. When trust runs deep, you have friends for life.

Contrast You Lose at Zero Trust.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan thoroughly deconstructs this: yes, you should trust your teammates and can rely on them from time to time, but doing so only and not calling on your own strengths is suicidal for both sides.
  • Baccano! has this involving the immortal 10-year-old Czeslaw Meyer. No, he's not the sweet kid who makes the huge cast of assorted criminals find themselves. After a couple hundred years of bad experiences, he has issues trusting anything in this world. The anime and novels has Issac, Mirria, Ennis, Maiza and Elmer to drive the point to him. It only takes about 70 years.
  • The Power of Trust is intertwined with The Power of Friendship in Berserk. Guts is very wary of people because his adoptive father, whom he admired above all else, sold him out to a pedophile and was raped as a result. Over time, he's repetitively put in predicaments that require him, a loner by nature, to place his trust in the hands of other people. Sometimes, the outcome is fruitful, but other times not so much...
  • Played with in Code Geass, trust is very crucial to each of the characters' relationships.
    • Exploited by Lelouch as Zero when he rescues Suzaku, who had been charged with the assassination of a prince. Zero threatens Jeremiah with revealing the secret behind "Orange" if he dies, shortly before using his Geass to force Jeremiah to help Suzaku escape. There is actually no "Orange": it was a term Lelouch came up with to sow seeds of doubt within Jeremiah's Pureblood faction, robbing Jeremiah of the trust his men placed in him while also destroying the Purebloods' reputation.
    • The most notable ones are many characters with Suzaku, particularly with Lelouch. Lelouch even uses this trope as how he beat Mao in saving Nunnally.
    • It really speaks volumes of how much trust there is between Lelouch and Suzaku that, early in the series, he's considering setting up a marriage between Suzaku and Nunnally. Nunnally is by far the most important person in Lelouch's life, and her happiness is the only reason he's doing any of what he's doing, so the fact that he would trust Suzaku with her life and happiness is telling. It also explains why both guys are so heavily affected when they eventually realize that they are enemies: such a betrayal would cut deeply.
    • Subverted when Shirley speaks to the wrong person when she gets her memories back.
  • It's worth noting that in Digimon Adventure, Jou's crest was actually called Faithfulness or Sincerity (the dub changed it to Reliability, which seems to make more sense).
    • Mimi was given the Crest of Sincerity in the dub.
  • This, along with The Power of Friendship, is what wins the day at the end of Dragon Ball Super. The Tournament of Power is down to Universe 7's Goku, Frieza, and Android 17 against Universe 11's Jiren. Already pushed to their limits, Goku and Frieza put aside their differences to finally take down the man mountain of a powerhouse. Jiren's last words before he's rung out is basically recognizing this power.
  • Eyeshield 21: Trust in his teammates (instead of viewing them as a collection of physical attributes to be exploited at gunpoint) is part of Hiruma's Character Development.
    • In the Christmas Bowl, Sena realizes that Hiruma was trusting in him to get past Yamato, the real Eyeshield 21, past the point where it would still be statistically possible for their team to win. It spurs Sena on to do just that.
    • In the same game, Hiruma throws a blind pass as he's being sacked, even though holding onto the ball would have been the safer option. Based on the opposition's defensive formation, he just knows that Yukimitsu will be exactly where he needs to be to receive that pass. Touchdown.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Though Ed rarely holds back in showing how much he hates Mustang, he seems to trust him almost implicitly, due to the fact that Mustang's been keeping his and Al's secret for four years. He even comments in one episode of Brotherhood:
    Ed: The colonel might be a bastard, but he's trustworthy.
  • Full Metal Panic!:
    • Pretty much all the moments where Sousuke starts falling for Kaname is when she tells him she trusts him completely. No, he doesn't react very well romantically when she tries to seduce him in skimpy outfits, but boy does his heart start beating fast when she appeals to his trust issues. Justified in that it's shown that all his life, he was never really able to trust anyone like that... so it definitely moves him when she's able to believe and trust in him like that. To go further on Sousuke's trust issues, it's pretty much said outright that his lack of the Power of Trust is the main reason why he has problems using the Arbalest's Lambda Driver. Because he passively hates the machine and is unwilling to trust it, it can't always function right.
  • In the first arc of Higurashi: When They Cry, this is invoked by Rena who tries to bring Keiichi back to reality (note: he was high on Hate Plague at the time), after murdering Mion in front of her — she even pairs this with an attempted Cool-Down Hug and the words "Please, trust me..." — but it is ultimately subverted when Keiichi smashes her face in with his metal bat. However, this is only remembered by Keiichi in the appropriately named "Atonement Arc". He proceeds to help Rena overcome her bout of Hate Plague again (he and the rest of the gang attempted to help Rena earlier in the arc, grilling her on why she didn't reach out to them before resorting to murder). This time, it works.
  • Kanokon provides our protagonists with an All Your Colors Combined sort of super mode that requires an open heart to work. In other words, trust. We learn this after that trust is lost, naturally.
  • A central theme of Nana & Kaoru. The fulfillment and joy that Nana, Ryoko, and other submissives find in bondage is ultimately not from any physical sensation, but the joy of being able to implicitly trust another person, and to have that trust affirmed. These women are not plastic idols, but human beings who sweat, drool, cry, and pee. Human beings who — no matter how perfect their lives may appear from the outside — struggle with feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, frustration, and shame, as well as feelings of sexual desire and an incredible longing to be loved. Through bondage, their bodies and behavior are controlled and restricted, so that they are forced to expose "shameful" parts of themselves to their dominant. The dominant, in turn, receives those "shameful" pieces of a person — the submissive's true self — not with anger or disgust, but with praise, affection, and love. Bondage is thus a validation of the submissive's true self — something that gives Nana and others tremendous strength and happiness.
  • Naruto:
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: One of main character Naofumi's biggest flaws is the fact that he's had his sense of trust viciously beaten out of him by a conspiracy to destroy his reputation by people he thought he could trust. He's so distrustful after the incident that he refuses to get more party members until it becomes clear that he absolutely needs them, and his first two companions are slaves magically bound to obey him no matter what. Over time, however, he comes to genuinely trust in his party members, to the point that they're among the only people he really trusts. Meanwhile, Motoyasu has the exact opposite problem: always trusting in his companions even when one of them is feeding him obvious lies to manipulate him, to which Naofumi eventually calls him out, pointing out that there's a difference between trust and blind faith.
  • Scrapped Princess: Shannon has trouble tapping into his hidden D-Knight abilities because he doesn't trust Zefiris enough to use them. When they first try combining, his power gives out after several minutes of fighting. He had his reasons not to trust her.
  • A big part of the meister/weapon teams in Soul Eater. More so than strength, arguably more than courage, it's mutual trust that counts; it indicated that without it the teams could not function e.g. Black Star and Tsubaki working out how to use the demon blade mode, Maka and Soul when fighting the Clown and later Giriko.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • Kamina is the sort of person who inspires this in everyone he meets, whether they like it or not. On the flip side of that, Kamina's trust in Simon is his defining trait.
    • Simon too, later on. Part of the symbolism is that the entire brigade supports him and backs him up, and in turn relies on him to win the day. Just as a drill takes most of its power out of its weight and the force behind it, but still relies on the tip to actually pierce the target.
  • Trust between partners is also a major theme in Tiger & Bunny. Throughout the entire series, the eponymous characters, forced to become partners in episode 2, must learn to trust each other, both personally and professionally. Indeed, explicit and implicit lack of trust for each other causes the most rifts in their friendship; conversely, expressed trust in the other helps them grow as people and partners.
  • The entire purpose of the titular Deadly Game of Tomodachi Game is to test one's trust towards their friends. Usually, it falls apart, but when a character does manage to hold onto their faith and believe in their friend(s), it's a force to be reckoned with, especially seeing as how the game is designed so that the ideal outcome comes from trust.
  • Violinist of Hameln: The 'Trust' between Hamel and Flute is exactly what stops him from turning completely into a Mazoku. Also, Trust is what gives Flute the power to stand up and hold Mazoku!Hamel's hand, smiling — after being stabbed by him.
  • Hiei of YuYu Hakusho sheds his initial tendencies toward world-conquering and the accumulation of zombie mind slaves for no apparent reason other than 'dumbass got lucky and now I'm on parole,' but his Heel–Face Turn is confirmed at the 'Gate of Betrayal' in their first team story when Yusuke, with manly beaming smile of trust, nominates him to dart over and pull the lever to save them all, while the rest of them split his load of the crushing weight, and after some debate he actually does it.

    Comic Books 
  • Inverted in Mighty Avengers. Evil god Chthon, who gets more powerful the more people believe in his existence (which he enforces via terror), finds out that there's an even stronger source of power for him - the lack of trust for a man who was trying to stop him, Henry Pym.
  • Spider-Men II: When they became cellmates, the adult Miles Morales proved his trust to Fisk. "Small hands" had given him a grand to kill Fisk in his sleep, but Miles told him this, and gave him the money. Fisk appreciated the gesture, but let him keep the money anyway.

    Fan Works 
  • The Return: Want to get a group of succubae working for your mercenary army? Col. Edwards finds this method works nicely.
  • A major theme with Pony POV Series. Twilight even points out that trust is instrumental for friendship to exist. In fact, it originally was an Element of Harmony until Discord destroyed it, but Twilight points out that trust is still a requirement for the Elements, as without it, The Power of Friendship can't exist to power them. Celestia actively applauds her for figuring this out.
  • In Duel Nature, Twilight tells Bronze Bell that she has faith that he can decipher the location of the local Temple of Doom even if he doesn't believe he can, which inspires him to go ahead and do it. He gives them a fake location, but they find it anyway.
  • The thirteenth story of the Facing the Future Series, Ancient History. Tucker proves he trusts Tanya enough with her memories of the ordeal while he wiped it from the rest of the city. Danny and Sam do this as well when they trust Tucker enough to leave the Scrab Scepter in his hands.
  • In Promises of a Wandering Hero, while the residents of the Hinata Inn are wary after learning Keitaro/Shirou killed Sarah's mother, after hearing the circumstances behind it, they decide to give him the benefit of the doubt, noting that he's never done anything to actually betray their trust before. Meanwhile, Haruka doesn't even ask the circumstances despite having been good friends with the woman. She simply asks if Shirou made it as painless as possible, and concludes that he must have had a good reason for it.note 
  • Inverted in The Peace Not Promised, when Lily's implicit trust in Severus causes him to fail. He intends to fake becoming a double agent in order to create an opening to evacuate her, but because she trusts him with her life, she quickly sees through his words and realises what he's doing — and she's vulnerable to mindreading, so his plan is exposed to the enemy.
  • According to Kakashi in A Political Perspective it's trust, not power, that causes the Hokage to allow shinobi to assign themselves missions that benefit the village. Since the missions aren't official, failing it means a shinobi's reasoning for undertaking it has to be flawless, or both the privilege and their career will be suspended at least and likely revoked entirely. Anyone with said privilege has to be trusted to both only ever act in the village's interests, but to know their own limits and not take on missions they cannot complete. Currently, there's a grand total of only four or five shinobi in Konoha with that privilege, two of them being Kakashi and Iruka. Naruto later ruminates that he likes that Kakashi assigns him rearguard because it means the man trusts him and doesn't see Naruto as a threat.
  • Slytherin Quidditch tryouts in The Rigel Black Chronicles include having the Beater candidates hit bludgers through plastic hoops attached to the broomsticks being flown by the Seeker candidates. Harry and Draco are able to put on a good showing because he has enough faith in her to stay still and on target while she sends large iron balls flying at him — at high speed, to overcome their tendency to home in on nearby players, and even when they appear to be headed straight for his face due to correcting for local air currents. Harry is humbled to see it.
  • Asuka, Shinji, and Rei trust each other implicitly in Advice and Trust. This is best seen in chapter 11 when Rei has to let Asuka protect Kaworu while she goes to protect Shinji (as it would be suspicious if she was alone with Kaworu). To recap, she leaves her boyfriend alone with a girl who was raised to kill him from the time she was four, armed with a weapon that was specifically designed to do exactly that, and Rei doesn't doubt for a second that she will do everything in her power to keep him safe.
  • In Cheshire (Miraculous Ladybug), the mutual trust between Kwami and Holder not only makes the holder show some tendencies related to the kwami but also more powers. The trust between Marinette and Plagg makes her show some cat-like tendencies and the ability to use Catastrophe.
  • Raptors have no concept of not trusting pack members in Boundaries (Jurassic Park). Disagreements still happen, and Owen would be in real danger if a raptor challenged him since it would be very easy to accidentally kill him, but the pack gives benefit of the doubt and they'll always group together against a larger threat. In fact, Owen manages to deny a starving Blue food with nothing but hand signals and their previous relationship protecting him. Her faith is rewarded when Owen feeds the meat to the other members of the pack who are not only starving but also wounded.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: Just before leaping out of the window of a high building, Aladdin offers Jasmine his hand and asks: "Do you trust me?" Later he asks the same thing when inviting her for a carpet ride, which gives away his disguise. Jasmine's answer both times is: "yes", the first time uncertainly, the second time with a smile.
  • Missing Link: While Sir Lionel's partnership with Link the Sasquatch is initially self-serving (he wants Link's help to locate a tribe of Yetis), they end up becoming friends and partners. He offers Link trust when they first meet, and by the final act proves worthy of that trust.
    Sir Lionel: I give you my word.
    Mr. Link: Okay, what is it?
    Sir Lionel: What?
    Mr. Link: The word.
    Sir Lionel: No, it was a figure of speech.
    Mr. Link: Sounds good, what is it?
    Sir Lionel: ...The word is 'trust'.
  • Raya and the Last Dragon: The underlying main theme is that you need to trust one another and work together if you ever want to improve the world. The monstrous Druun, evil spirits born of human discord, are the antithesis to this and therefore the only way to truly defeat them is an act of absolute trust.
  • Tangled: Rapunzel assures Flynn that Fate or Destiny brought him to her — Flynn assures her it was a horse — and so she will trust him — a horrible decision, he assures her — and yet it pans out well. Flynn's enough of a Gentleman Thief that his attempts to get her to rescind the deal do not actually endanger her, and after a while and some adventures, he goes out of his way to help her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the 1945 film version of And Then There Were None, what saved Phillip is his decision to give Vera the gun. Because he gave her the gun, she doesn't shoot him, even when she briefly thinks that they're the only two left on the island so he must be the killer. (He isn't.)
  • Big Fat Liar is about this. It's about Jason Sheppard going to L.A. to prove to his parents he wrote the paper. This is a case of shattering the "cried wolf" thing since Jason was a habitual liar.
  • Mentioned in Con Air: Poe tells Larkin that "There's only two men I trust. One of 'em's me, and the other ain't you." By the end of the film Larkin has earned a spot on the list.
  • In Good Will Hunting, psychology professor Sean Maguire is lecturing his class:
    Sean: Trust; is a very important thing. *Tosses apple to student who's slouching in his seat* Jeremy- you want to tell us why this is?
    Student: Because trust... trust is... life.
    Sean: Mm, well, that's- very deep, thank you, Jeremy.
  • Moulin Rouge!: The lack of this is the main difficulty in seeking true love with a prostitute: "When love is for sale to the highest bidder, there can be no trust. Without trust, there can be no love!"
  • National Treasure: Ben has to save both Abigail and the Declaration of Independence. He asks if she trusts him; she says yes. He promptly drops her in order to save the priceless document. He apologizes afterwards, but she simply assures him she would have done exactly the same thing.
  • Reservoir Dogs: Horribly subverted. Mr Orange feels obligated to confess to Mr White, who has taken the bullet for him, that he was the rat all along. The latter then tearfully, but promptly, executes him.

  • In The Beyonders, Jason's trust is one of the main reasons why Ferrin doesn't betray them at the end of the last book.
  • Chrysalis (RinoZ): Once he obtains the Collective Will Vestibule, Anthony gains literal power from the faith and trust and goodwill of all nearby ants. He can sense their belief in him, both in glimpses of their thoughts and in an unending tide of strength and stamina flowing into him, which he finds humbling.
  • In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novel Death or Glory, Cain catches their guide Sandy Kolfax drinking. Cain demands he hand over the booze; then he hands it back and tells Kolfax to bring it to their medical man for use as supplies, to undermine his resentment.
  • From the Deryni works by Katherine Kurtz:
    • In High Deryni, Bishop Arilan reveals his Deryni powers to the human Bishop Cardiel in an effort to strengthen their partnership, and he explicitly asks Cardiel to trust him regarding his arcane secrets and the commitments they entail. (Arilan is not only the first ordained Deryni in Gwynedd in two centuries, he is also a member of the secretive Camberian Council.) Arilan shares what he can with Cardiel so they can both lead their side of the schism against Archbishop Loris (which is over Deryni in general and certain ones in particular). Together, they help reconcile the Church with King Kelson before the coming Torenthi invasion.
    • In King Kelson's Bride, Liam and Mátyás escort Kelson, Morgan, and Dhugal to visit the Nikolaseum, a great memorial tomb for a Torenthi prince who saved the life of his king in battle against the forces of Gwynedd a century earlier. There, Liam and Mátyás ask for Kelson's help to foil a plot against Liam. In deciding what to do, Kelson says, "Someone must trust, if we are ever to end what brought Nikola to his death." In a mental conference with Morgan and Dhugal, Kelson asks if he should trust them, and Morgan replies, "As you say, my prince, someone must trust." Mátyás offers the location and pattern of a Transfer Portal nearby, and Kelson and Morgan allow Liam to bring them to one of Mátyás' private chapels via Portal (with Liam in control, since he knows their destination) to confer in detail. This reciprocal exchange of trust sets them on a course towards a deep friendship forged in adversity.
    • Later in the same book, Létald, the Hort of Orsal says in a meeting with Liam and Kelson and their advisers, "It seems we must all trust one another far more than we had planned or dreamed." The meeting is to discuss measures to take against the escaped traitor Teymuraz.
  • The Detachment by Barry Eisler. Invoked by John Rain when he suspects (accurately) that Daniel Larison is planning to kill them and keep all the ransom for himself. Knowing they're similar and aware of how his own viewpoint changed after Dox showed him trust, he hands Larison a silenced Glock and gives him the option of either leaving with his share of the diamonds or accompanying them to stop a terrorist atrocity. Larison (who was expecting to get shot on the spot) is too stunned to say much but does end up going with them, despite having refused earlier.
  • In the Harry Potter books it is a major plot point whether Dumbledore's trust of Snape is correct or if he is a Horrible Judge of Character. Dumbledore many times asks Harry to trust him. Let's just say there is a lot of trusting going on, much of it rather reluctantly.
    • Dumbledore wants to trust everyone. Half the time it works, too. To the point that the only person Dumbledore never fully trusted was Tom Riddle aka Voldemort.
    • Very few of the heroic characters actually like Snape, but they repeatedly tell Harry that Dumbledore trusts Snape, and since they trust Dumbledore they must also therefore trust Snape as well.
  • In Robert E. Howard's The Hour of the Dragon, Zenobia implores Conan the Barbarian to trust her, and he grudgingly does.
    "If you doubt and hesitate, we are lost! Why should I bring you up out of the pits to betray you now?"
    • In "The Shadow Kingdom", Kull is given a stolen gem to inspire trust because he can now betray the man.
  • This is a rising theme in the original Mistborn trilogy, and one of the keys to victory in the last book.
  • In John C. Wright's Orphans of Chaos, Amelia recounts a fantastic story and all the other children immediately vote that they are in a crisis and must take all precautions. She is moved by their trust.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Regained, Astreus mocks Miranda for declaring she would never trust him, telling her to trust no one and they could write on her tombstone "She trusted no one."
  • In Snow Crash, Uncle Enzo takes some enemy agents prisoner. He spares their lives in return for their service. He then deliberately leaves them unguarded, knowing that the trust he's showing them will be more binding than anything material. He's right... not that it matters in the end.
  • In Michael Flynn's Spiral Arm novel On the Razor's Edge, Eglay and Pyati talk of how much trust Padaborn had put in the other man. Eglay is ashamed of some Dirty Business he tried to pull on Padaborn.
  • This is one of the central themes of Worlds of Deep Space 9: Cardassia in the Vedek Yevir appeals to the virtue of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch. Vedek Yevir appeals to the virtue of trust in order to prevent a 14-year-old would-be suicide bomber from going through with the attack.
  • In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, Jack begs Jenny to trust him. This lets her triumph.
  • The premise of Nevil Shute's Trustee from the Toolroom is the trust placed in Keith Stewart by his sister and her husband to look after their daughter. While they never doubted that he would act honourably until the situation demanded that he rise to the occasion neither they nor he guessed how capable he would be. Also, the trope is shown in the way that Stewart’s articles for Miniature Mechanic magazine serve as a passport of trust for him to gain the help of a worldwide community of model engineering hobbyists.
  • In Ben Counter's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Galaxy In Flames, after Garro, on Tarvitz's bare word, shoots down Tarvitz's pursuers because Tarvitz is his friend and battle brother.
    "The depths of trust and the honour Garro had done him was immeasurable."
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel The Killing Ground, Uriel is subjected to three ordeals to prove that he is untainted by Chaos. The second involves pulling a sacred relic from boiling oil. When he says before that he will succeed, Leodegarius, administering it, says he hopes he will, with obvious sincerity; when he is struggling with the pain, Leodegarius looks at him with obvious desire to have the evidence to prove his innocence. This confidence is what gives him the strength to do it.
  • In Simon Spurrier's Warhammer 40,000 Night Lords novel Lord of the Night, Sahaal reverses the process: when he confides even a fraction of the truth to a woman he is deceiving, it feels good. At the climax, he trusts her — and finds she was murdered and replaced by a shapeshifter. Later, when he is trapped in his mind by an Eldar, he is met by a psyker who is in a situation similar to his own and they end up running away together from everything.
  • In Sandy Mitchell's Warhammer 40,000 novel Scourge the Heretic, when Elyra and Kyrlock are undercover, Elyra lays out a plan to Kyrlock that involves their splitting up, Kyrlock is uneasy: he could easily escape both his home planet and the Inquisition entirely, but Elyra would be entrusting him with her life, and he's not sure he could do it. Then, when a man goes to rape a girl in front of them and offers to share with Elyra to appease her, Kyrlock says he will take him up on it and gets close enough to brain him; Elyra shoots him. Afterwards, when Kyrlock says that he knew she would back him up, Elyra is embarrassed to realize how nearly she didn't.
  • In Worm, Taylor and Rachel eventually develop this level of trust, to the point that when Taylor is steadily going insane and mind-controlling everyone around her, Rachel willingly steps into her control because she trusts that Taylor will get it right. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it example in the same circumstances, Parian and Foil (who have MUCH less reason to trust her) do the same thing when they are temporarily removed from her control.
  • Lara Notsil of the X-Wing Series, sitting in her new X-wing in flight on her first mission with Wraith Squadron, sees that Wedge Antilles, Ace Pilot and hero of the Rebellion, is flying ahead of her, no shields. For years she'd been going out in false identities and betraying her comrades at the behest of her handlers, but now her handlers were dead, and she discovered that she could not stand treachery. Her resulting train of thought is what first triggers her Loss of Identity, Double Consciousness, and attempts at Becoming the Mask.
    Such an odd feeling. Wedge Antilles was under her guns, yet he trusted her with his life.
    He had no reason not to, of course. But he did. No one had in—how long? Forever.
    She could eliminate him with a twitch of her finger.
    It should have been tempting. Yet, somehow, it wasn't.
    Such an attack would be treacherous.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Several Game Shows have used the Prisoner's Dilemma as part of their final rounds; particularly Friend or Foe?, Golden Balls, and Take It All. In all of these cases, a shared pot is at stake; the two contestants either elect to split the prizes or take them all, deciding in secret.
  • This theme almost becomes Hatter's Arc Words on Alice. On first meeting her: "I see. You don't trust me." Midway through the mini-series: "You still don't trust me?" On saving her life multiple times, getting tortured, beaten, and pretty much going through hell in the attempt to Make His Beloved Happy: "You trust me now?" Alice: "Completely." But to be fair to Alice, he certainly doesn't look or behave like a particularly trustworthy guy.
  • Divided also depends on the power of trusting your opponents...right up until it's time to figure out how to divide the cash.
  • In an episode of Doctors a terminally ill woman and her son successfully use this on the woman's homeless brother to persuade him to look after the boy when she dies.
  • Doctor Who: almost every Doctor, at one point, said, "Trust me, I'm the Doctor," or variations. This goes both ways with his companions and can make for some heartwarming moments. The "I believe in her" speech from "The Satan Pit" is a great example of this, as does this scene from "Flesh and Stone":
    Father: Dr. Song, do you trust this man?
    River: I absolutely trust him.
    Father: He's not some sort of madman, is he?
    River: [pause] I absolutely trust him.
  • Firefly:
    • River's trust actually managed to make Simon a Determinator. For some time he was the last person left that she could trust. And the knowledge of that fact probably pushed him on.
    • Mal also discusses this at the end of "Our Mrs. Reynolds," when he catches up to Saffron.
      "Now you got all this education, and made me look the fool without tryin', but I still got a gun to your head. That's 'cause I got people. People that trust one another, that do for each other and ain't always lookin' for the advantage."
    • And at the end of "Trash" (another episode involving Saffron) Simon has learned of Jayne's attempt to turn him and River over to the Feds in "Ariel", and has an injured Jayne at his mercy on the operating table:
      "You're in a dangerous line of work, Jayne. Odds are you'll be under my knife again, often. So I want you to understand one thing very clearly: No matter what you do or say or plot, no matter how you come down on us, I will never, ever harm you. You're on this table, you're safe... 'cause I'm your medic. And however little we may like or trust each other, we're on the same crew. Got the same troubles, same enemies, and more than enough of both. Now, we could circle each other and growl, sleep with one eye open, but that thought wearies me. I don't care what you've done, I don't know what you're planning on doing, but I'm trusting you. I think you should do the same. 'Cause I don't see this working any other way."
  • Game of Thrones: Despite claiming to despise her reliance on this, Dany doesn't have much choice but to believe in the loyalty she inspires and capitalize on it in her quest. But a betrayal for blood by Mirri Maz Dur and a betrayal for gold by both Doreah and Xaro have left their marks...
  • The slow, hard-earned building of trust between Inspector Lynley and his partner Barbara Havers is what makes watching The Inspector Lynley Mysteries worthwhile. Nathaniel Parker and Sharon Small sell the hell out of two absolutely broken people coming together against all odds and, through fire and flames, arguments and alcohol, learning to trust each other with no conditions, no questions, and no regrets. From that trust comes Character Development ahoy — Lynley becomes less snobbish, patronizing, and elitist and finally has one person who can look his dark side full in the face without flinching and make it lighter, and Barbara softens, opens, and blossoms, and finally has one person who accepts her and loves her exactly as she is, fiery temper, deep insecurities, and all. Through it all they become one of the tightest-knit partnerships in the history of fictional law enforcement — oh, and sometimes they solve murders, too.
  • Kamen Rider Double takes this in an unusual direction: back Detective Jinno was apparently extremely easy to fool (even falling for the old Look Behind You bit), but was so kind and earnest that it made the people who lied to him want to become better people so those lies became the truth. The flashbacks revealing this imply that this is what turned protagonist Shotaro Hidari from a juvenile delinquent into an honest man.
  • Kamen Rider Saber shows the antithesis to this, with all three Caliburs going off the deep end because they chose to keep their burdens to themselves instead of trusting their friends. By contrast, Touma, who took steps to maintain his bonds with the other swordsmen, is able to become stronger and obtain victories because he placed trust in his allies.
  • Loki (2021): In one of their first conversations, Loki tells Mobius that trust is for children and dogs. As further events unfold, he has to learn to trust and be trustworthy, which earns him friends, allies, and small perks like a Cool Sword. Yet in the end, Sylvie betrays his trust by sending him back to the TVA while she finishes her mission alone.
  • This is a huge theme of Merlin, particularly in regards to Prince Arthur's Character Arc. Essentially, every single person in his life has betrayed his trust at one point or another. His faithful servant Merlin is hiding the fact that he's a powerful sorcerer. His father lied about the circumstances of his mother's death. His half-sister betrayed him and tried to take over the kingdom. The court physician knows all the secrets of his life and reveals none of them. His uncle is plotting against him. His best knight is controlled by dark forces in order to seduce his future wife. Ironically, the one person that Arthur can trust is the character who is best known for her infamous betrayal: Guinevere. In this version, she is caught kissing Lancelot on the night before her wedding to Arthur, but was under an enchantment at the time and had no intention of being anything but 100% faithful to Arthur.
  • Subverted in Sledge Hammer!, where a sure guarantee of things going horribly, horribly, wrong is Lieutenant Hammer assuring anyone standing nearby to
    Hammer: Trust me. I know what I'm doing.
  • In Smallville, so, so many times, and tons of it between Clark and Chloe. It showed a fracture between their friendship — the strongest and most enduring in the whole show when Clark thinks he can't trust Chloe in "Collateral". Lois calls him out of it and says he knows in his heart that he could. He is just too scared and hurt.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Looking For Par'Mach In All The Wrong Places", Keiko doesn't for a second believe Miles' and Kira's relationship could be anything less than chaste while Kira's acting as a surrogate for their baby. The whole plot is Played for Laughs as Miles and Kira discover they could, potentially, have been attracted to each other if they both weren't involved with other people, and Keiko keeps innocently putting them in hilariously intimate situations that make them uncomfortable.
  • In Supernatural's fifth season, Sam's (basically misplaced) trust in him is all that keeps Dean from going through with it after saying yes to Michael. The brothers' trust in each other, or occasional lack thereof, is a big part of the series. It's brought up repeatedly that to hunt together and live as they do, they need to be able to trust and rely on each other completely, so they both take it very hard when they catch the other brother in a lie or keeping secrets, no matter how big or small. On occasions where Dean's faith in Sam/Sam's love for him has been shaken, Dean generally gets pretty destructive, such as in the above instance where he was ready to say "yes" to Michael and kick-start the Apocalypse, partially because he worried Sam would eventually cave into Lucifer. Sam seems to have always trusted Dean unquestioningly, but that was finally broken when Dean tricked Sam into accepting an angel possession to save his life (saying outright that he knew Sam would rather die) which has had far-reaching consequences for their relationship and on the show.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles:
    • This is a major theme, where John Connor absolutely trusts Cameron to protect him, even after she goes haywire following damage to her chip and tries to kill him, and then suffers temporary amnesia.
    • Subverted with Cameron's view of Sarah. She doesn't trust Sarah to do what needs to be done to protect John because, while Cameron has pure Blue-and-Orange Morality, Sarah tries to spare the lives of those she thinks may be innocent. This comes back to bite them when Sarah lets a teenage thief go after promising Cameron she'd kill him, and the thief later tells Cromartie where the Connors live.
  • The X-Files: Mulder and Scully trust each other so closely and so intensely that if someone tells one of them something and the other contradicts it, they will pretty much believe the other without even thinking about it. The show's tagline is "Trust no one" — and they don't. Except each other, no matter what.
    • Not always, though, which causes so much more hurt and confusion than it usually would. A big plot point in Season 6 and part of Season 7 was Mulder trusting his ex-partner/ex-girlfriend Diana Fowley over Scully. Scully and the Lone Gunmen even had hard proof that she was working for the Big Bad, and Mulder refused to believe it. It almost caused the break-up of the partnership. Of course, that was what Diana Fowley had wanted all along.
    • Or the episode "Wetwired", where Scully is affected by subliminal messages on TV that Mulder betrayed her to the Cigarette-Smoking Man (Mulder himself is not affected "thanks" to his red-green color blindness). Seeing the trust they've built up to that point just go poof is extremely disturbing, almost traumatizing. Especially for Scully, once she snaps out of it.

  • The aptly titled "A Matter of Trust" by Billy Joel is all about how trust is pretty much the most important part of a relationship.

  • Ruby Quest: "The flock that could not work together are sure still trapped in hell."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Lost: This is part of the defense that the Seasonal Courts provide to the eponymous Changelings. Their True Fae "masters" are fundamentally incapable of understanding that one being might freely give up power to another, so handing off authority with the change of the seasons creates a kind of memetic camouflage for the changelings.

    Video Games 
  • In Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, the reborn Sarevok can be redeemed if you trust him enough. Refusing to use a geas to compel his loyalty is the first step on his long road from Chaotic Evil to Chaotic Good.
  • Loyalty is a really important stat in Death Road to Canada; characters with low loyalty will often stab the team in the back, or abandon the party altogether to join bandits. Meanwhile, those with sufficient loyalty will at least do what they're asked to do, such as watching guard at night camps or getting through a bandit-infested choke point. Loyalty also determines whether or not a character gets a morale boost by doing heroic things, as those with low loyalty will actually get a morale penalty when doing so. Suffice to say, should your entire party be full of people with enough loyalty, you'll have fewer problems when it comes to certain events.
  • This is the Central Theme behind Nicky Case's edutainment game The Evolution of Trust, discussing how trust is possible and what allows it to exist, using the metaphor of a Prisoner's Dilemma.
  • Essential to the relationship of a reyvateil and her partner in EXA_PICO: "diving" into a reyvateil's mental landscape is one big trust exercise in revealing her secrets to her partner, but also lets her craft and use more powerful song magic. Abusing a reyvateil's trust is a sure way to break and diminish her abilities. In the first game Misha invokes the trope directly whenever Lyner protects her from an enemy attack: "I trust you!"
  • One of the main themes of Dissidia Final Fantasy is trusting one's friends. Special focus is given in Squall and Zidane's stories. Ultimately subverted in Squall's case, however, as his problems wasn't that he didn't trust his friends, but that he did trust look after themselves. His doubt was fueled by his enemy, and he had to reaffirm that trust at the end of his independent story.
  • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn have their support conversations, which allow for power-ups when near the other character supporting you. Can be used for a Back-to-Back Badasses moment if done right. Also, subverted in Tibarn's conversation with Naesala, where the former states that he trusts the latter because they both have the same goal. What does Naesala do? Acts as an informant and gets Begnion to burn Phoenicis, Tibarn's kingdom. It is later revealed that he is under the effect of a blood pact that would kill his people if he didn't follow the demands of the Begnion Senate, so it's at least a slightly averted subversion.
  • Any video game that enforces teams or co-op will have this trope in full force. Only by developing trust within your team can the team achieve victory. If there's no trust, everyone will fall apart.
  • Basically, the underlying motivation and theme when choosing Forte's Route in Galaxy Angel.
    Forte: Don't worry, I'll watch your back. Can I trust you to watch mine?
    Tact: Of course.
  • Trust is a massive issue that Batman has in Injustice 2, which is understandable considering how his best friend Superman turned against him. Batman is told by his aide that he needs to expand his circle of trust if he wants to get anything done. Batman eventually starts to trust the Flash and the Green Lantern (both of them had defected to Superman's regime in the previous game and later repented for it) with his plans to deal with Brainiac. Batman eventually admits that he needs Superman to save the day, which would mean trusting him to not backstab him again. The whole thing is subverted in the very end where after Brainiac is defeated, Batman and Superman have a spat over whether or not Brainiac should live or die. Batman never fully trusted Superman at all (with the gold kryptonite dagger being proof of that) because he knew he'd still go back to his old ways of using fear and power to put criminals in line and Superman proved him right. In the end, Batman trusted Superman enough to stop Brainiac but didn't trust him enough to actually learn his lesson from the previous game where he used his powers to oppress people. If you side with Batman in the final segment of the game, the ending shows him placing his trust in Supergirl, who had upheld her moral values a lot better than Superman did.
  • Averted in a way sure to get at least some players to curl up in a ball of guilt in Knights of the Old Republic, where when playing Dark Side, Mission is the last person to believe in you, and risks her life on the hope that there's enough good in you left not to kill her. Besides proving her wrong, you can add the twist of making her trusted friend Zalbar kill her, much to her despair and disbelief.
    • Also comes into play during the fight with Sith Bastila on the Star Forge. You can choose to give her up as irredeemably lost and kill her, but most of the "good" conversation options involve bringing her back to the Light Side by saying you believe in her/the love between the two of you. At the end, she asks how you can trust her so completely. The player can choose to change their minds and decide "I guess I can't" and really break her spirit, or say they trust her enough to leave themselves open to her attack. This is what finally snaps her out of her torture-induced fall to the Dark Side.
    • Also is the basis of Carth's entire character arc. He spends a lot of time railing about how he does not trust the Jedi, Bastila, or you... all with damn good reason, it turns out. At the end, he has enough trust in you to forgive you for your crimes as Revan. Playing female? You can validate his trust (Light Side or the Take a Third Option that was cut from the game) or damn you both.
  • In Mass Effect 2
    • It's only the trust between Shepard and The Squad members that gets them all through the Suicide Mission in one piece. Fail to gain their trust and you'll be looking at a long row of caskets, and if you really screw up, one of those caskets will be yours.
    • In a more subtle example, trusting all your (permanent) squadmates unconditionally over the course of the whole trilogy will usually bring about the best results in the long run. Also, as long as you show full trust and support towards them, none of them will betray you, not even the shadiest ones (well, except Morinth but to recruit her, you must have already betrayed another teammate's trust), and will unconditionally support you in return.
  • The Pale Beyond: Trust, or "loyalty", is an important mechanic throughout the game. Each major character has a "loyalty" meter, which can be raised or lowered by various choices and dialogue options. Different character outcomes are determined by whether or not they are loyal to Shaw, and the game's ending will change based on whether the majority of the crew trusts them or not.
  • Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous brings us Arueshalae, a succubus who drained a priestess' life force, then decided to peek into her dream. The Chaotic Good Desna, goddess of dreams, stars, and luck, decided to intervene and make Arueshalae dream, prompting a Villainous BSoD and setting her off on a Heel–Face Turn. She strives so hard against her evil nature, a little trust turns her into one of your kindest companions as she struggles up from Chaotic Neutral to Chaotic Good. Canonically, in the tabletop RPG, she was redeemed and is Desna's sworn servant. And Pathfinder does not skimp on showing you what a monster Arueshalae used to be; she drained souls, openly admits to sexual assault, and cannibalism, and worse. Of course, you can go the other way: help her give up her quest to be good, and she dives right back into showing you just how horrifying Pathfinder's demons are. She greets you by cheerily waving a child's arm at you — child not attached.
  • Persona 4
    • Naoto Shirogane's belief in this trope is exemplified by her decision to get herself kidnapped by the killer: She is completely willing to trust the Investigation Team to save her, even though her belief that they have the power to do so at all is only a guess. Subverted when the Investigation Team (well, mostly Kanji) utterly blasts her for this, pointing out that if they had failed, she would be dead.
    • Subverted with Yu's attempt at Talking the Monster to Death in Golden. After confronting Adachi, if the player kept up his Social Link they have the option to meet with him alone. Yu tells him that he "believed in" him, and Adachi angrily asserts that it was just Wishful Projection and the version of him Yu believed in never existed. He then pulls his gun on Yu, and when Yu questions his will to shoot him he fires a warning shot and says he won't miss a second time. However, after his defeat and arrest, Adachi becomes The Atoner and confirms in his letter to Yu from prison that their friendship meant something to him after all.
  • Persona 5 has a combined hero/hero and hero/antagonist example. Joker, the All-Loving Hero, is arrested by the police and in danger of being assassinated. The rest of the Phantom Thieves make no efforts to mount a rescue attempt, trusting that Joker, on his own, will be able to pull off the plan they prepared in advance. Said plan consists of Joker telling his side of the story to Prosecutor Niijima Sae, who has been hunting the Phantom Thieves for most of the game, and trusting that she will side with them; she does, thus providing critical assistance to the Phantom Thieves in faking Joker's death.
  • Parodied in Portal 2 in which one of the advertisements shows that humans "cannot be trusted" to do cooperative tests with one another. Robots, on the other hand, can trust one another... for about 6 seconds longer than humans.
  • Trust is one of the "Spirit Commands" in Super Robot Wars, and partially recovers the HP of another unit. Or your own unit; believing in oneself is powerful too.
  • Tales of Symphonia: "Zelos...I trust you." Lloyd saying this makes the difference between Zelos being a Fake Defector who helps the party escape the Tower of Salvation's death traps and obtains the final item they need for the Eternal Ring, or truly defecting in the hopes of dying and escaping his destiny. Likewise, in the sequel, Zelos unconditionally believes Lloyd is innocent of all the atrocities he was recently accused of and he turns out to be completely correct.
  • Tales of Legendia "...I trust you, Shirley." And later, "Everything will be fine...I trust you."
  • Tales of the Abyss "...Okay. I trust you. No...I should me, Guy." I guess the Tales Series loves this trope. In this case, it's what keeps Luke and Guy together throughout the game, despite the fact that their pasts severely complicate their friendship. Guy trusts Luke enough to return to him, even after the rest of the party abandons Luke for destroying Akzeriuth, and it's reciprocated enough that Luke later allows Guy to stay with the party, despite the fact that Guy's original intention was to kill him.
  • Though it isn't quite as obvious as the examples above, Tales of Vesperia makes use of this too. One of the best examples is when Flynn is briefly held prisoner in Dahngrest due to a misunderstanding. Yuri breaks in to take Flynn's place, and Flynn points out that if he doesn't clear his name in time, Yuri will have to die for him. Yuri doesn't even blink, just sits down in the cell to wait. Although Yuri's let out early by a third party, Flynn does get back in time. Later, when Yuri basically says he's not afraid of anything because Flynn's watching out for him, it seems perfectly justified.
  • In Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume, the plume can supercharge any member of your party into a walking engine of death, at the cost of their life following the battle. It explicitly only works on permanent party members, who have come to trust Wylfred.
  • Touched upon in The World Ends with You. Neku is told repeatedly to trust his partner, and after the incident where he had to learn that lesson in the first place he does — even when finding out that one of them was using him and out to destroy Shibuya. It is implied that that trust may have caused Joshua's change of heart at the end. The ending's a little unclear on the details.

    Visual Novels 
  • Subverted in Saint-Germain's route of Code:Realize. Savvy players who are accustomed to the use of this trope in romance games may guess that choosing to trust that Saint-Germain won't follow through on his stated intention to kill Cardia while she's drugged and helpless in Chapter 9 is the correct response, winning him over with the power of Cardia's pure-hearted trust. They'd be very, very wrong.
  • Zigzagged in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. The Gadfly Kokichi calls the others cowards for refusing to point the finger at others in the second class trial, stating that their use of "trust" as a hiding place would just get them all killed. However, his inability to trust others ends up being a Fatal Flaw as his hubris prevented him from sharing the truth of his plans with anyone, which leads to his death and resulting Thanatos Gambit.
  • In Juniper's Knot, the boy invokes this when planting the olive tree in the circle, because even if he doesn't trust the fiend to exchange lives with the tree instead of him, checking would ruin her chances of being trustworthy.
  • This trope is the mature relationship between defense attorney Phoenix Wright and prosecutor Miles Edgeworth. Out of court, they're close friends who call on the other when one of them needs someone who will not, under any circumstances, let him down. In court, they go after each other with no holds barred, because they know Edgeworth won't let a guilty person escape and Phoenix won't let an innocent person be convicted. And the instant Phoenix can demonstrate that the guilt points to someone other than his client, Edgeworth will be at his side helping him take the creep down.
  • Trust is an important theme of Ulrik's romance in Steam Prison. Cyrus showing trust towards Ulrik earns affection with him even as it confuses him, and since he doesn't trust people easily, earning even a little of his trust is a significant development in their relationship. Breaking his trust, meanwhile, has very serious consequences.
  • In Tokimeki Memorial 2, this is the pivotal trope of Kaori Yae's storyline. After a traumatic event in her past, she has lost all trust in both the others and herself. It's now up to you, the main protagonist, to help her regain her belief in the Power of Trust with the help of The Power of Love. As such, most of her events discuss about trust, and her Image Songs (like the verse in the Quotes' page) are heavily trust-themed.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Red vs. Blue: During the Chorus trilogy, Aiden Price claims this is the primary advantage that the Blood Gulch crew had that allowed them to defeat The Meta. Their total faith in each other let them devise a strategy that beat a guy who by all rights should have wiped the floor with them in five seconds flat.
  • Whateley Universe example: Used by Chaka in "Reflections in an Evil Eye" on supervillainess Sahar. And it works.

    Western Animation 
  • Generator Rex:
    • At the start of Six Minus Six, we see that Rex fully trusts Six not to hurt/kill him Even though White was ordering Six to since Rex was in danger of turning into his Superpowered Evil Side. Instead, Six attacked the machine Rex was hooked up to.
    • Became a Chekhov's Gun later when Six, his memories of the last six years gone because of the machine, attack Rex and was about to kill him. He stopped because Rex didn't even flinch when he brought the sword down.
      Six: Not even a flinch. You really believe in me that much kid?
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Not What He Seems", despite Mabel thinking the worst of Stan after learning that he was an imposter with a device that might destroy the world underneath the Shack, she still allows the device to reach its final countdown. This allows for Stan's twin brother to return.
  • Justice League Unlimited:
    • When we catch up with Shayera "Hawkgirl" Hol, she's in a depressed, self-loathing funk because she betrayed the League's trust and made herself a pariah on two worlds. What snaps her out of it is Superman and Green Lantern's announcement that she's welcome to rejoin the League any time she wants.
      Superman: I believe in second chances. I believe in redemption. But most of all, I believe in my friends.
    • Made more heartwarming by The Reveal that she has never been expelled from the League. (Superman, Flash and, presumably, J'onn the Psychic chose to trust her, while only Wonder Woman and Batman voted for expulsion; Green Lantern abstained).
  • Teen Titans provides some negative examples. When Robin tries to get Slade's trust as Red X so they can meet, he is Out-Gambitted. Slade notes, "Trust is easy to destroy, but it takes time to build." Terra happily exclaims the Titans trust her. That doesn't end well. In an episode titled "Trust", Robin ends up giving a communicator to "Hotspot". That was actually a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero moment, since it was really Madame Rogue.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men (2009): A single moment of trust saved the world and the lack of trust damned it the first time around. Emma betrayed the team, which led to Phoenix running around under the control of the Inner Circle (who just expelled Emma, who wanted to destroy it). She was left tied to a wall when Logan found her. In the first timeline, he left her there. Which meant no one could contain and destroy Phoenix, and thus Phoenix burned the world. A message fragment from Xavier passed back through time was enough to help Logan trust her and free her, allowing her to sacrifice herself for the world.

    Real Life 
  • In philosophy, the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma dictates that in the long run, it's better to trust your fellow human beings than try to screw them to get yourself out of trouble. The criminals code against snitching works on this premise, don't snitch today, tomorrow it might be you who they're asking about. The original Prisoner's Dilemma arrives at a different conclusion...
    • Note also that the "better-to-trust" approach for Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma does not work if there is a known last round of the game — both sides will find it advantageous to screw the other on the last round, which means they will screw each other on the next-to-last round, which means they will screw each other on the third-to-last round, lather rinse repeat.
  • Newly conquered people should be left their weapons. They will, after all, need to defend themselves, and while disarming them will slow rebellion, it will not stop it since they will be able to get arms somehow, and the good will generated by this trust is better against rebellion than the delay. Who thinks so? Why Niccolò Machiavelli. In The Prince, no less.
  • Older Than Feudalism. Confucius' Analects notes that a state (or society) needs three things to function: an army (coercive force), food (wealth), and trust of its people. If all three can't be maintained, force, then wealth, may be sacrificed. Without trust, no state can survive regardless of how much force or wealth it can muster.
  • In Systems of Survival Jane Jacobs observes that one of the greatest imperatives for a healthy civilization is for traders (people with "productive" occupations such as farmers, merchants, artisans, etc) to instinctively trust the honesty of others and "guardians" (people with protective occupations such as soldiers, police, firemen, etc.) to instinctively trust each other's loyalty. When you think about it, it is amazing how no one asks waiters whether the coffee they buy is poisoned, and it is possible to buy and sell Amazon without seeing the other party; and how, at least in a few countries, it is possible to hold an election without the losing party being mass-purged to prevent the need for another election and without a military coup being a serious possibility.
  • Founder of the Boy Scout movement Robert Baden Powell served in the British Army during the colonial era and noticed a custom among some African warriors of shaking hands with the left, not the right. This was because they held their iconic hide shield in their left hand and their spear in the right — by shaking with the left you put down your defence and left the other guy holding his weapon. It was a huge sign of trust — "I'm not going to stab you, and I trust you not to stab me". Powell liked it so much that he adopted it for the Scouts, and, in the UK, Boy Scouts and Scoutmasters still shake each other's hand with the left to this day.
    • Of course, shaking hands with your right hand shows that your weapon hand is empty (assuming you aren't lying about which hand you use, anyways), indicating that you can be trusted (discounting the chance that you or the other guy will just use the left hand to put a knife in the back once you have the other guy up close). The military tradition of saluting similarly derives from knights using their weapon hands to raise their faceplate, showing that they are unarmed, and exposing their face so they can be recognized by a friend.
    • Fencers also shake hands with their left hand but for different reasons. Fencers wear gloves over their sword hands and it's traditionally considered a sign of distrust to offer a gloved hand to shake. This is because it implies that the other person is unwashed or otherwise offensive to the touch. Therefore by shaking with the ungloved hand you demonstrate that you trust the other person's sense of hygiene (which was tied directly to social status back in the day).
  • This is the only reason that BDSM can be worked into a healthy relationship. If you can't trust your partner unconditionally then the entire partnership is broken for all involved, and someone will end up getting hurt.
    • This is also the only way an abuse victim may consent to sex (or even a relationship of any kind, platonic or romantic) at all, partially for fear that the abuse cycle may start all over again. It takes a lot of work to overcome trauma, but with diligence on the side of all partners, it's possible.
  • Many Olympic sports such as pairs skating and ice dancing depend on absolute trust between partners to perform death-defying stunts at high speeds with blades attached to their feet.
  • One particularly easy way of manipulating people is to invoke this, by calmly putting yourself at their mercy, or acknowledging that it is already so; once this is done, simply state with utmost certainty that you know they are not the sort of person to harm you, no matter what crimes you or they have committed. Once this has been said, only a sociopath or a fanatic will harm you, as the blow to their sense of self and self-pride is too great.
  • This trope factors into pretty much any relationship between a person and an animal. The more your pet trusts you, the more they'll allow you to do things like petting, holding, bathing, clipping nails, etc.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Power Of Trust


Flyin' High

Owen learns he has to stop micro-managing his workers and trusts that they can do the job. His trust in Elwood allows him to successfully complete the job.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / PowerOfTrust

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