By Manny Roman, CRES
I recently ran across an article about “15 magic phrases to make anyone trust you” by Marissa Laliberte. Whenever I visit a magician I am duly impressed so I thought that the article would include magical relationship advice. It is a fairly long article so I suggest that you “Google” it. It is worth the read.
So what am I going to write about? If you guessed trust you are correct. Specifically trust in general.
I once saw trust defined as behaving in such a way that causes others to feel comfort dealing with you personally. Others don’t really care about your titles or position, they care about the person in them. This is a good statement since it describes trust in terms of behavior and since behavior can be learned then trust can be learned.
Trust is a very personal concept. By this I mean that what trust means to me, is not the same as the meaning that you or anyone else applies to that word. So, the best way to describe trust is to speak on the degrees of trust. This way we can take into account the personal bias and modifications applied by individuals.
Trust is really a belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something. Being a belief, trust then must be based on experience, thus the learning part. So, if trust is a belief usually tempered by the personal experiences of the individual having that belief, the trust may not be well-founded. (Google “Ladder of Inference” to see why beliefs may be all wrong.) You often hear of people betraying someone’s trust in them. Why were they trusted in the first place? Were they actually deceived or was the trust misplaced?
We have all had that moment of immediate like or dislike for someone at first sight. We like therefore we trust. We dislike therefore we distrust. Our experiences, and the emotional tags we attach to these experiences, may lead us to trust someone merely because they look like someone we do trust. “She looks like my Aunt Josie. Aunt Josie was always good to me and kept her promises. I could trust her.” This is an emotional bonding type of trust.
There are many types of trust. There is unconditional trust, such as a child may have in a parent. As the child grows, that trust begins to diminish as their world of bonding and influence expands. If you have teenagers, you know exactly what I mean. Their friends get smarter and you get dumber, right?
There is conditional trust such as when your boss tells you that if you get this project done right and on time you will get a promotion. These conditions, and his authority, cause you to trust his bold promise. He then squashes you like a grape by finding a reason not to promote you. “I’m sorry, but all promotions have been frozen for the next 37 years.”
There is situational trust such as trust in a health care provider. He has a diploma on the wall from the University of Trust Your Doctor so you trust in him to make decisions in your best health interest. We don’t want to change the situation by a second opinion because we won’t know which one to trust.
There is the misled-by-information trust (I couldn’t come up with a cute title). This is where that commercial tells you that if you drink this brand of beer and eat this brand of pizza, you will be surrounded by great looking happy and adoring people. Trust them. They have videos.
There is necessity trust that happens when your car breaks down on Interstate 15 on your way to Las Vegas. You are stranded on the side of the road in the desert. A funny looking ’60s hippie guy stops and offers to take you to the nearest gas station. You trustingly get into his Volkswagen bus for the 200-mile ride to Primm, Nevada.
In the December Roman Review I wrote “Spending a few minutes with others in a non-threatening and personal conversation works wonders. The trust process can be enhanced by the mutual sharing of some minor personal vulnerabilities.” It is the escalation of this sharing from minor to major that forms strong bonding and trust. In my humble, yet correct opinion, this is the way to establish long and mutually shared trust by individuals.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, I am recommending that before you go blindly trusting anyone or anything in the future you determine a couple of things. First, determine why you feel that this is a situation where trust is needed. Determine the type of trust that is needed. Establish the degree of needed trust and what your belief system says about this particular situation.
Be a little more cognizant of the trust you give and you will have less anxiety knowing that you did your homework. They will still betray your trust, but you will feel less anxiety. You can trust me on this one.
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