“Keep in mind that every interaction with every person is a moment of trust. The way you behave in that moment will either build or diminish trust.”
Stephen Covey, The Speed of Trust
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
King Solomon, Proverbs 3:5
A local business has the following sign posted near the cash register: “In God we trust, all others pay cash.”
It seems to me that sentiment also applies to personal relationships. As our creator, sustainer, and deliverer God is worthy of all our trust, whether we understand his ways or not. People, however, are a different story.
A few weeks ago an acquaintance called and asked me to join her in an activity that I really enjoy. She was excited about this new pursuit and her excitement drew me in. We got together a couple of times and, in my estimation, it really went well. We made plans to do it again and talked about it as something we would do regularly. I was all in.
Then came the email.
“I’m canceling our next get together. I’ve decided to do something else. Maybe I’ll get with you in the future.”
What? I was stunned and confused.
Of course, my first question was why. Did I do something to offend? Why the abrupt change of direction?
I reached out to try to understand, but there was still no real explanation.
I felt duped. Drawn in and then dumped. I had been vulnerable by trusting that this person would carry through with what we had planned together. There was no reason to distrust them. I assumed the best, but got something I hadn’t seen coming.
Now this person may have a perfectly good reason for backing out of our plans. The thing is, I don’t have a clue what that reason is. Even if I did offend, I would rather know that than be left guessing.
Certainly, I should and can forgive her. I would even make future plans with her, but I am left with a bit of a dent in my trust. Any future plans would come with lowered expectations on my part about her level of commitment and transparency.
You see, trust, the vital component in any relationship, is so easily damaged and sometimes lost all together when we fail to behave in ways that build and sustain trust.
It is therefore important for all of us to think about how we are impacting the trust levels of people around us.
So who can you trust?
- Someone who is honest and courageous enough to speak the truth, even when it makes you or them feel uncomfortable, but does it in a way that is kind, respectful, and wise—no hiding, no manipulation, no spin
- Someone who is aware of their own faults and failures and humble enough to admit it and seek forgiveness when they fail
- Someone who generally follows through on what they say they will do and offers a reasonable explanation when they are unable to do so
- Someone who demonstrates that they care about you and your feelings, your time, your belongings, your boundaries by treating them with respect
When someone behaves in these ways, toward me and when I behave in these ways toward others we are paying “cash” and earning the trust that is necessary for a relationship to thrive. Even when there is an incident that breaches trust, we can usually recover and move toward a healthy relationship when we are committed to being the kind of person others can trust.
How about you? What kind of a person are you able to trust? How are you working to be a more trustworthy person? What gets in the way of trust in your relationships?