A few years back we had a plumber come to our home to give us an estimate for work that needed to be done. He spent a good twenty minutes or so inspecting the area and answering our questions before giving us a price. After he left my husband asked me what I thought, and I responded that we would not be using him because I did not trust him. When he asked why I felt that way I told him it was because the man had started at least a dozen sentences with, “To be honest with you…” or some variation thereof.
Now, I am not disparaging the plumbing profession (we subsequently had the work completed by a top-notch company that found ways to save us a substantial amount). Nor am I saying that you cannot trust anyone who ever uses a phrase such as “to be honest with you”, “if I’m being honest”, or “trust me”. If you feel compelled to repeat those expressions multiple times within the same conversation, though, then I am going to suspect that you are trying to sell me a bill of goods that I have no interest in buying.
Being able to trust people is a huge must for me. It plays a significant part in who I allow into my home and into my life. It is critical in my choice of healthcare professionals, too. Once I find a doctor or other caregiver that I establish this trust factor with I will be forever loyal to them (until they do something rude like retire, causing me untold anxiety while searching for a replacement).
A great example is the confidence I have gained in my eye doctor. While I wear contact lenses, I am extremely uncomfortable with anyone other than me touching my eyes. This has made for more than one tense eye exam. I switched doctors multiple times before visiting an eye clinic based upon a recommendation. This doctor listened to my concerns and made numerous notes in my folder. He promised me on that first visit that he would never try to flip my eyelids to examine underneath them (just typing those words sends me into a cold sweat). He took the time that day, and has taken the time every visit since, to let me know when he was approaching my eyes and what he would be doing.
You see, my eye doctor never had to utter the words, “You can trust me.” Rather, he showed me, and continues to show me some twenty years later, through his actions and by keeping his word. By proving himself reliable he earned a patient for life (or until he does something rude like retires). These days we just both hope that I never get anything stuck in my eye as he has concluded there are not enough sedatives on the planet to deal with that situation.
Trustworthiness is the first trait I search for in people. Once I establish that a person will not betray me I become a fiercely loyal friend (or spouse, family member, or coworker). It is of the utmost importance to me that I know without a doubt that if I divulge a confidence to another it will be closely guarded. It is equally crucial that others feel secure in knowing that what they tell me will go no further. Being able to trust another also means feeling assured that he or she will not knowingly, purposefully, or maliciously do anything to harm you either emotionally or physically.
Finding out that someone is not trustworthy can be a relationship killer. Learning of a betrayal perpetrated by someone in your inner circle is devastating and damaging. It is possible that the harm caused by loss of trust can be repaired, but it is a slow and painful process. It requires that the party who breached the trust be willing to put in extended work before the injured party is able to begin to consider allowing the relationship to continue and the trust to be rebuilt.
Be a trustworthy person. Keep secrets and promises. Earn trust through your deeds and your loyalty. Show the world that you are a reliable person of integrity. It will be worth it. Trust me.
How important is trust to you? Have you ever been able to reestablish trust once it has been broken? As always I welcome your feedback and comments. Please feel free to share your thoughts! Cheers! Karen
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