On a cool summer morning, a person I’d never met before dropped by for coffee. Introduced by a friend (virtually), she followed up to meet me in person. I liked her instantly, and we connected easily. Part of my trust in her came from my friend’s introduction. Because he trusts her, I trust her. But my experience in meeting her increased my trust.
I tend to trust people easily, quickly, and deeply, sometimes with difficult consequences. But time is a powerful force in deepening trust.
Here are five assurances I look for when choosing to trust someone without hesitation.
I trust you because I know you. Knowing someone helps set the stage for trust. If I have a sense of knowing someone, including their likes, interests, habits, and ways of interacting, I can choose to trust them. Time helps that, too. I trust my friend to take my daughters camping for days at a time because she first kept them for a few hours, then overnight, and because they are happy and have fun when they’re with her. Knowing someone includes knowing how they behave over time.
I trust you because we have a history together. Some of my most comfortable relationships are the longest-term, which makes sense. Not long ago, some friends visited. We’ve known them more than twenty years. Though we haven’t spent time together much in recent years, I trust them completely, without hesitation, because I know them to be trustworthy, over time. I work with their daughter and working together is natural because of our history. I knew I could trust her to be a reliable worker even before I hired her. How? I’ve watched her mature, seen her grow in confidence and maturity. Our shared history compounds our trust.
I trust you because I’ve seen you show up. When you do what you say you will do, consistently over time, my trust in you is built. Consistency fuels trust. Inconsistency degrades trust.
I trust you because I’ve seen how you respond under pressure — and I see how you support me when I’m under pressure. Isn’t it wonderful when someone sees you in a tough situation and holds space for you to be yourself? A friend and collaborator once picked me up from the airport and drove me to a client engagement. In the process, we drove on curvy roads, and I became carsick. He stopped the car, and I stood in the dark California woods and vomited. It’s a vulnerable and potentially shame-producing situation to be in, but my friend patiently endured. Other colleagues have cried with me, or given emotional support in challenging work moments. And while people supporting me in bad times certainly engenders trust, those moments when people let me into their pain and heartache builds trust, too, because I can trust you more fully when you trust me.
I trust you because I choose to believe in the best in you. Sometimes trust jumps boundaries and is fueled by hope and belief. I can trust you despite your flaws when I choose to focus on your strengths and potential instead of on your missteps. I trust what’s good and honorable in you, and that trust can be a powerful force to inspire you to become your best and increase your trustworthiness. Trusting someone this way can be risky. When you betray my trust, the pain is profound. When I trust you and you let me down, I feel foolish and question my own judgment and trustworthiness.
But it’s worth it. Why? When I choose to trust what’s good in you, I create the opportunity for rich relationship and joy.
Trust built over time and experience with people is comfortable and deep, while trust formed quickly may be tentative, and with reservations. My commitment is to trust whenever possible, and to be trustworthy, so other can trust me deeply and without hesitation, even when we first meet.
As I read your article, I could identify with the key factors in developing trust. One thing I learned back in my history somewhere is that for every element of trust there is a period of testing. As you point out so well in your article, we can decide to trust, but what really seals the bond of trust Is the test and proof that trust is earned and deserved.
I love this, Becky, and love the fact that I see you live it out day in and day out. It also reminded me of my awesome friend Jess’s post, Love Shows Up: https://adiaryofamom.com/2015/04/29/love-shows-up-a-circle-5-years-in-the-making/
Thank you, Paula! I hope to always have authenticity with what I write, so I’m happy to know you see me living this out. I’ll check out Jess’s post, too!
Poignant statement…”Consistency fuels trust. Inconsistency degrades trust” One of those notions you know, but have not seen it expressed so succinctly.
My pleasure, Jacki. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m glad my thoughts resonated with you!
Nice post. Your point on trustworthiness is very important as the foundation to building trust in both directions and most often lost when trying to build effective teams. It also strikes me that you have been able to maintain a very open posture when entering a new relationship having been burnt in the past. Holding on to the high value of connections built on mutual trust despite those experiences takes relentless commitment to the principles that clearly bring you joy.
Paul, Agreed. It involves forgiveness, letting go, and relentless commitment, as you said, Paul.
What has worked for you in continuing the commitment to trust others?
I began reading this with my business goggles on, but your words quickly had me swimming in a much more personal sea, and you added great clarity to that setting.
“Clearly the metrics of success in our business relationships, as in our personal ones, are dictated by the decisions we make and the promises upon which we can deliver”
I wrote that in a conversation with my old mentor Craig Womack while he was working with his son on their book “The Promise Doctrine”
Your comments here are spot on. Great post, Becky. This really resonated with me, especially “I tend to trust people easily, quickly, and deeply, sometimes with difficult consequences. But time is a powerful force in deepening trust…” Exactly.
And I have to agree with the previous comments as well. Thank you!
Grove, thanks for taking the time to comment, and thanks for sharing your quote. I love the idea of measuring our success by decisions and promises kept.
Stay in touch!
I can see how this idea of trust might be a good thing to have when dealing with personal relationships or even in smaller entrepreneurial type situations but I question whether this same idea would work in the larger corporate world or government world. I work for a local government and trust is not something that’s handed out. Management doesn’t trust middle management and middle management doesn’t trust the crews in the field. The idea of ‘trust but verify’ is the term thrown around the most. To me that’s sort of the antithesis of trust. lol
I can see that some organizations might not be open to the idea of trust. Why not consider how you can cultivate trust, one relationship at a time? Whether your company/organizational culture supports it, you will feel your life and work experience enriched when you choose to trust others — and prove yourself able to be trusted.
Interested to hear your results if you try it!
Value all your points and deeply appreciate the last, “believe in the best in you” because it doesn’t have any conditions. It’s a great starting point with everyone. Even if I don’t know you, don’t have a history with you, haven’t seen how you show up, and even if you haven’t supported me, I can operate with the mindset of holding you in the highest regard and believe in you this moment and going forward, which is where believing and hope are focused–the present and the future. Thank you!
Tom, thank YOU! I think, perhaps, I should reverse the order of these points to put that last point first. We have to believe the best first, and then as we trust and believe firsts, others will rise to that belief and prove trustworthy.
And grateful for you taking the time to comment.
Trust is quick and then slow for me. You get a chance, and then you stay there and get more and more, until a mistake happens, and then if you’re not quickly and earnestly contrite, it’s really slow to trust you again. Business. Personal. All in.
Powerful reminders. Thank you Becky.
Thanks for taking the time to comment, Phil. I think the strongest trust is trust once shaken and then regained fully. That’s how I trust you, friend! 🙂
Trust begets trustworthiness. That trustworthiness can be multiplied manifold if we we build the foundation for our trust in a relationship of trust and obedience in the Lord Jesus Christ . A threefold cord cannot be easily broken . The Lord cements and solidifies relationships .
An excellent article. Couldn’t help but think how this applies to our faith as well. I trust God for all of the above reasons and more. JS.
I agree. We trust God because He is worthy of our trust and never fails.