This paper examines the role of trust in promissory estoppel and the extent to which the law should protect trust when a promise is made. Part II of this Article summarizes some of the scholarship discussing the nature and role of trust. In particular, it discusses the role of trust in a market economy, and the related role of trust in Contracts law. Part III examines whether there is a difference between trust and reliance, and whether it matters. Part III further asserts that a separate discussion of trust is beneficial because it has the potential to guide and inform internal decision-making in a way that is not possible by simply focusing on outward reliance. Part IV of this Article discusses the role of trust in the doctrine of promissory estoppel. Part V sets forth why the law should promote an optimal level of trust, as opposed to a maximum protection of trust no matter what. It discusses the need for promisees to exercise self-reliance and self-protection in order to avoid overreliance. Part VI identifies the types of cases where trust should be protected. Such cases include ones where the promisee is engaged in a transaction that she cannot avoid, where she has no control over the structure of the transaction, and where she has no choice but to trust the promisor (or more accurately, trust the legal system to enforce the promise). Part VII presents the polar end of the spectrum where trust should not be protected. Part VIII concludes the Article.

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