I recently had a conversation with someone online that did not ultimately go positively.
They’d asked me a question about my personal experience, and when I replied, they picked at my reply, taking it apart, and then eventually offering THEIR counterpoints and suggestions on what I should do instead.
Which I did not ask for.
And I said so, and mentioned that I don’t trust them, and they don’t trust me, so sharing recommendations in that way seems silly.
They reacted poorly to the suggestion that they did not trust me, so I pointed out that I was asked to give my experience, and they disagreed, so they either:
- Didn’t believe in my ability to interpret my experiences.
- Didn’t believe that I was being honest.
Which is fine. After all, I didn’t trust them because I don’t know them, or anything about their character.
Also, I didn’t believe them. Since they read a situation (that they researched) entirely differently from the way I lived it (and they were willing to argue with me about it), they and I would disagree on things like that, so I did not think that they would make recommendations that would apply to me.
Which is fine.
I mean, I have friends who LOVE Olive Garden and Cheescake Factory, while the thought of eating in either of those two places turns my gut.
Doesn’t mean I can’t like those people for reasons aside from their appalling choice of food options.
Or believe them when they say that so-and-so gives them a bad feeling. Or take their word that they had such-and-such experience that might contradict my own, and make me rethink some of my perspectives.
But none of that is trust to me.
trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
Let me give you another example.
Ever been on one of those team building retreats, where you fall backward into coworkers (or whatever) and they catch you? Whether you have or not, I’m sure you’re aware of them.
So, in that case, you are relying on people to not let you fall to the ground.
Is that trust?
Not to me.
Because what someone does in a group in public is not a full measure of who they are, right?
I mean, hell, even the most malignant narcissist knows enough not to show their cards right there to everyone.
Which is why abusers get away with so much, so often. Because the face they show to the general public is not the one they show to the person they abuse.
Trust is a deeper concept (to me).
Hewn out of experiences together. Shaped and polished and nicked and shaped and polished again.
It is also a SINGLE thing.
It is not (to me) something that can be broken up and spread across a life like so many polished pebbles.
“Well, I trust them to play safe with ME…”
What does that mean? If you can’t “trust” them to play safe with others, what is the dividing point? They love you and they don’t love others? Well, then, your trust is tenuous, yes? Because when they don’t like you, you are now “others.”
Or, maybe that’s exactly who they are.
And maybe that’s exactly who those “others” thought they were at one point, too.
And what about those others? Is it OK for them to play safe with you and not with them?
Of course, I can’t answer the question of trust for you. I wouldn’t ever hope to. My own trust is enough for me to manage.
I can count the number of people I trust on my fingers.
People who I believe that in ANY situation involving me will think of my happiness, my benefit—as much as they do their own.
I’ve known all of them for years.
And I’ve known people for years (and loved them deeply) who I absolutely know will not think of my benefit, even in making decisions related to me.
And that’s OK.
To me, trust and love are very different things. They are not at all required to live together.
I like to pose the question now and again:
What is trust, to you, really?
What do you mean when you say you trust someone? When you give a referral or vett someone? When you make an introduction, or put your weight behind a person?
Do you say you trust them?
How many people would you say that of in your life, really?
A few other links on trust:
And one more question:
How do you assess trust differently (if at all) now, during this pandemic? Are people you originally trusted maintaining that trust? Are they losing it?