George Washington. (1732-1799), the father of the United States and its first commander in chief, once said:
"Be courteous with all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence."
I agree wholeheartedly with Washington, particularly when it comes to the workplace.
Yes, we should be polite to and respectful toward all those with whom we cross paths.
What we should not do, however, is give away our trust too easily. Never confide in someone until he or she has earned your trust.
Many of us have trusted people we thought we could rely upon, only to get severely burned. It has made us think twice about doing everything from giving a potential partner our heart to discussing personal details about our lives with coworkers.
Everyone we meet should be vetted. Unfortunately, many of us let our emotions guide us in our daily interactions with people. We form positive impressions of people without really knowing them that well. This is a disaster for recipe, as once people detect the vulnerability, they aim to exploit it.
Here's a good rule of thumb: Don't disclose anything personal with anyone at work -- ever. You can be cordial without spilling your guts to people. Someone who pledges to keep a secret today might just stab you on the back tomorrow if beneficial to the individual in some way.
As for relationships, if you already catch someone bending the truth early on, it's a harbinger of bad things to come. Never place your trust in anyone who takes advantage of your good nature.
Be careful out there. If people really want your trust, they should have to work for it.