Friday, November 4, 2011

Slow to Trust

I probably don't trust you completely.

Don't be offended. The fact is, whether I know you well or whether we haven't met, I'm really stingy with trust.

No, this isn't a whiny lament about the cruelties of the cold, hard world -- about how I have been let down (though I have). It's just a fact: trust is something I don't dole out lightly. Trust, next to love, is the highest praise you can give another person.

Strangely, the few I do trust, completely (there are degrees of trust, of course), might not be the closest ones to me. For instance, there is someone I know -- someone I worked with for only a few years -- whom I trust implicitly. We rarely speak anymore, but she has my complete trust. She always will.

I'm not cynical about people. I don't try not to trust. My little mental record book had three pages in it and they are labeled "Pre-trusted," "Trusted" and "Not trusted." There are a very few people on the "Trusted" page and there are scads of people on the "Not Trusted" page. Everyone I meet goes on the "Pre-trusted" page, until I get proof, one way or the other.

There are people I love deeply -- people I would take the proverbial bullet for -- whom I can't say I trust, completely. I might love their company; I might be enchanted by their wit; I might prefer to spend time with them as opposed to anyone else, but that doesn't mean I trust them, completely.

Of course, the largest number of people I trust are also on my list of good friends, but, like I said, there are some mere acquaintances on that list, too.

See, because trust, for me, means that the person in question would not "sell me out" for any reason. That person is someone I would leave my children with, without question. That person is someone who has shown me, over and over again, that any test-trust I might have placed in him or her was cradled carefully in his hands. And, that person must never have used his or her trust in me to break the trust of someone else. That's big.

Trust is not automatic, for me -- not for friends, family or anyone.

One does not need to be a "perfect" friend to be trusted. Everyone makes mistakes. I have let people down, but never through betrayal. If I have let anyone down, my biggest crime has been absent-mindedness. (Sometimes, it has been honesty.)

I'm not angry. Just calling it as I see it. Because, whether you know me or not, I know I would be worthy of your trust. You'd need to learn this about me, of course. Because I would never throw a friend under the bus, I expect the same from others.

Trust is interesting. I value it just below love, really. The difference is, love is something that is propelled by emotion. For me, trust is all intellect -- all proof and logic.

I might love you. I might respect you. I might feel I can't live without you. But none of that means you have earned my complete trust. I don't see that as "over the top."

There are relationships based on lust and there are relationships based on love. There are friendships based on compatibility and there are friendships based on trust. Love and trust are the highest human exchanges. If that is so, neither should be doled out without extreme care, it seems to me.


  1. It's a good test of trust - whether you'd leave your children with them (and then, when your children become teenagers, it's a good trust of friendship, whether they'll let you leave them with them)

  2. 'test of friendship', that is.

  3. Yes, indeed. The latter might actually be a test of sainthood, I guess.

  4. There are at least 4 women now wondering "Was it ME?" lol.... and one of them, IS me. Wondering, that is.

  5. That hurt my head a little. Maybe I will have a contest: "Guess the Me"!

  6. There is a fairly short list... you already flagged the person as female; you worked for a 'short' time with the person, and the person is no longer there. You've been at St. Joe's a good while, so it must have been someone who worked there with you, but no longer does. (move over, Sherlock, I'm on a roll here)... and so I can narrow it down to literally a handful of names, one of which is my name. Now we can all suffer in wonderment and uncertainty. Bizarrely, I keep hoping it was me, just like the girl who prays to be prom queen. Ah, it probably wasn't me. Oh, well. ("And the first runner-up is....")

  7. Chris, do you think there's an element of trust to being a singer/performer? It seems to me that getting in front of people to sing, play music, give a speech, etc., entails a not-dissimilar leap of faith.

  8. Jeff -- I guess there is a similar element, the big difference being that the crowd doesn't know you, so if they walk out on you it is not personal. I guess either way getting on stage or committing to a relationship of any kind takes a certain amount of courage.