Knowing how & when to trust others

Today, I am addressing a topic many have heard, but only some give it the merit it deserves. I’m referring to the how, when, why, and how much to trust someone, whether personal or business. Everyone is not only in a hurry to get people to trust them, but they also expect and demand it. Trust, as we will learn throughout this article, is not something you buy at a store or order online but instead a process of feeling comfortable with oneself and others.

Whether you are doing business for yourself, working for an organization, volunteering, helping friends, or in your personal relationships, trust is an evitable component for a solid relationship and ensures expectations are mutually being met. Before I can dig deep into this, let us first ask Merriam-Webster what comfortable means, and I quote. “1a:  affording or enjoying contentment and security, a comfortable income b: affording or enjoying physical comfort a comfortable chair was too comfortable to move 2a: free from vexation or doubt comfortable assumptions Lamb was comfortable in his ignorance of what he did not choose to know.— James Mason Brown b: free from stress or tension, a comfortable routine stayed at a comfortable distance from the crowd comfortableness noun.” Thus, I can deduct from this that comfortable means harmony in your life with the things, people, and actions that are taken, allowing things to flow.

People have said that they only do things for two reasons: 1) To avoid pain and 2) To Gain Pleasure; unfortunately, the me-first mentality gets adopted and attempts to put your agenda on someone else, thus putting them at a dis-ease in life. Well, nothing gets accomplished in life where there is no trust. Things may start, stop, and become different from the original intention or concept but never materialize into anything of mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual value.

Trust is like the foundation of your relationship. If a building didn’t have a great foundation, it would not be able to support what gets built upon it. I doubt any of you would attempt to build a home/building on a weak foundation, then why is it so many rush the foundation of a relationship? We all know we want it to be stable, yet we ruin it and potentially destroy the building of something that could be amazing. 

Whether in grammar or high school, do you remember your first day of school? Maybe you were excited to get to know everyone’s name, what town they were from, what was their favorite tv show, cartoon show, favorite food, or a plethora of other things. Perhaps you met everyone before the day was out, but there seemed to be about two or three people that somehow felt like a connection existed. With it being your first day, it was important that you got people to like you, even if you were persistent.

We had yet to learn two critical lessons from Dale Carnegie, one of which was. “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language,” and the other was “to become genuinely interested in other people.” We want to trust, but it always seemed to be about me and letting others know I’m the best at this, and that’s why they want to be my friend. Some kids responded to this and befriended the other person because they were grappling for anything to feel accepted, and this suggestion fit the bill. Others ignored people because they didn’t think it was enough reason to become friends. 


Those ignored kids often acted out to be known as the class clown and became a rebel to get attention. In high school, I asked one of my classmates in the morning whom I wanted to be best friends with and what class you have, and he would tell me such as science, chemistry, math, etc. Later that same day, after a few periods since we had the same locker, I asked what class you had. Next, they would answer with the subject they had, but I would often hear class.  I then asked, “I know you have class, but what subject” and they would say, “class,” get their books, and ignore me. When someone answers a question with facts only, they are polite. However, if and when they give more details, they act friendly. 

One day let’s say you ask someone a question such as “Where did you go” if they say “out,” “errands,” or “somewhere,” they are intentionally being deceptive and don’t want to answer you. If you ask the same question and they say “to the mall,” “to the store,” or “to see a friend,” they are acting politely but don’t feel they need to give you exact details of the location, store, person, etc. These types of answers will often happen because you have not built enough trust with the person. If the person answers you with more details, such as The XYX Mall, my friend Tod down the street, and later they change, it means you are not giving them their space.

To build trust with anyone, you must understand that it is not up to you when and if they will trust you. Thus, don’t get upset with yourself or them if they are not opening up to you as quickly as you would like. Trust and friendship are a process, and it is a delicate balance between respect, understanding, space, and open communication.

When you choose to befriend someone, you start the process of building trust. The first thing is to learn how to say their name correctly, and if you have trouble pronouncing, ask them, as they will be more than happy to help you out. Next, if you say something, please make sure that you follow through with it and keep your commitments. People connect and befriend each other because they sense that person is like them, and we can help each other out and, of course, not be judged for who they are or what they do. Share something personal about yourself that you don’t tell everyone, not your entire life or kitchen sink story but start gradually. The key is to become vulnerable, see their empathy, and they will want to share something personal in their life. When you show compassion back, it strengthens your bond, and the process may continue to help you grow a deeper connection.

Empathy is not the whole thing; remember to be respectful when you are with that person, show the respect you want to receive, and it shall be yours. Our world is often so quick to judge; if something happens once, give them the benefit of the doubt as it may have been beyond their control. True friendship and stellar trust exist when people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings, especially when you fear doing so. 

Lastly, according to Steven Covey, trust is the EBA (Emotional Bank Account). It is the currency for which the health of a relationship is strengthened or weakened. When you deposit into an asset account such as your bank, we debit it to increase it and respectively credit it to decrease it. If you credit more out of your bank than debits, it would be said to be overdrawn, and banks hate this because it means you are a risk to them. If you do something nice for someone, it credits their EBA removing a balance and debiting yours to increase your account. Vice versa, in the other direction, when they do something well, it is essential to note that it needs to be two-way. Two-way is another way of saying that it has to be an equal give-and-take relationship, or there could be the risk that one has done more for the other, which is unhealthy.

Thus, in summary, we have learned that building trust is not something one will do overnight or something that should be done in an intentionally deceptive way. Furthermore, we must take baby steps when building trust with someone or our foundation; that person’s reputation may be tarnished. If we start the process of building trust with the other, remember not to get upset if they don’t return the gestures in kind as fast as you want. Understanding how people react to you based on the amount of space you give them is critical to progressing your trust to a higher level. Lastly, take their temperature, don’t force things, wait patiently, do what you say, and share the responsibility, which is the recipe for establishing trust every time.

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