24 Jan Healthy relationships: build them with trust
In the phone call example we gave in communication, the first answer (“You never called me last night! Why not? Don’t you care about me? How could you be so thoughtless? Were you with someone else last night?”) lacks trust. It immediately blames and throws the guilt at the other person. Without trust, even the smallest of mishaps such as a missed phone call can create havoc.
Healthy relationships are, among other things, built on a foundation of mutual trust. What does it mean to trust someone? It means that you believe that person will act in your best interest, that they will be honest and fair with you and look out for your well being.
Here’s the definition just to be clear:
How do you build trust? By being honest (next post), loyal (next post after that), respectful (yes another post) communicative (previous post) reliable and consistent. Think about the people that you trust – you trust them because they consistently act in a certain way. You can depend on them. If one day you hear Charlotte talking poorly about Lucinda, and the next day Charlotte is telling Lucinda that they are best friends, are you going to feel like Charlotte is trustworthy? Probably not, because her behavior is not consistent.
In addition, when you don’t give someone your trust, as in the phone call example, you create friction and fear. When you consistently question the motives or actions of another, you are sending the message that you don’t trust them. You may even begin to feel paranoid and your partner may feel like he/she is walking on eggshells all the time. That doesn’t make a person feel loved (liked), accepted, cared for or happy. This may also be an indication that you are not feeling worthy of trust – entirely your own issue and something to think about. For instance, some people don’t trust due to personal issues and past experiences that have nothing to do with the current situation/person. (See Your Past if you want to learn more.)
However, this is not to say you should trust somebody all the time no matter what. If your partner behaves in a way that is inconsistent, dishonest or mean, she has not earned your trust. Yes, trust is a delicate balance, it needs to be both given and earned in equal amounts.