Trust: It's Importance in Relationships
5th October, 2010
This article looks at trust on a personal level. It raises and answers the following questions, how can we build trust, how do we know if we should trust others and what about the people we can’t trust.
Building trust is simple we do it by keeping our promises. Whether we promise to meet someone, call or text them, supply them with certain information or help them in performing an activity such as completing a report or organising a dinner party. Sometimes we can’t keep promises due to circumstances beyond our control such as illness or train strike.
These instances should be few and far between and any reasonable person should be understanding in these circumstances. The important thing is never to make a promise that we don’t intend to keep and to explain if we may have difficulty in keeping a promise.
It’s far better to decline an invitation politely rather than simply not show up.
If we think that we will have difficulty in keeping a promise then it’s important to explain this at the outset. You could say for example “I’ll meet you at six o’clock unless I have to work late”. Or “I’ll be happy to lend you that book if I still have it. I’ll check my bookshelf and let you know”. This way we don’t mislead or disappoint others needlessly. People always know where they stand with us.
Finding out who we can trust is simple too. Do they keep their promises? If they do they can be trusted. It’s important here to look not at what the person says but what they actually do. You can test this by asking the person in question to do you a small favour such as pick up a newspaper or item of shopping for you when you next meet. You’ll give them the money when they arrive. The person is unlikely to remember if your needs are unimportant to them. If they fail this time give them a second chance as they may have been having a particularly pressured day. If the relationship is a more impersonal one and may not include face to face meetings you could ask the person to email or telephone you with certain information, perhaps by a reasonable deadline.
Finally how to deal with people that we are not able to trust. The answer is not to cause ourselves disappointment and frustration by depending on them. By doing this we are to some extent creating our own problem.
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