Trust or Believe

I had an interesting exchange with a co-worker yesterday. It was unseasonably warm outside, and I’d just come into the office to drop off a bag before heading out to lunch. When we were leaving, I told him he didn’t need to bring his coat. He shrugged a bit, considered it, and left his coat. When we got downstairs, he expressed surprise that wow – indeed it was warm enough and he didn’t need his coat.

“You didn’t believe me?” I said.

“I believed you, I was just skeptical until we got outside.”

“Ah – so you didn’t believe me, but you trusted me anyway.”

Having gone through this interaction, this comes up frequently. Trusting someone’s opinion is not the same as believing them, and convincing someone to follow you is not the same as convincing them that you’re right. (On the other side, just because you don’t believe what someone is telling you doesn’t mean that you’re not going to accept it.)