Trust is difficult to build and easy to lose (although, it can be bought apparently
), and yet this fragile element is key to a functioning society. Friendships, investments, marriages, jobs, a casual stroll down the street — everything we do is governed by trust in ourselves and in others. Trust makes up the threads of our social fabric.
It can be difficult for some people to build trust, however — whether it’s because they had a past experience where trust was broken or priming that pushed them to devalue placing trust in others or being trustworthy themselves. Whatever the blockage may be, an inability to build trust with others can be socially and economically crippling.
Once upon a time, I used to be a huge fan of The X-Files — the show with the eery slogan: “Trust No One”. I remember reading it and always feeling it was a smart approach, not only for Agents Mulder and Scully, but for life in general. Around this time, I was figuring out how trust worked on a more sophisticated level than the grade-school playground. Trusting no one made all of the hard work of building the new latticework of a more mature social network disappear. Thankfully, I learned pretty quickly that, without the hard work of building trust, I could indeed go fast … but I wasn’t going to get very far.
So, how do we build trust?
I’ll be honest, I’m exploring this area because, as much as I learned in those earlier years, building trust is still a weakness. So, I don’t have a lot of advice to share. All I know, off hand, is that trust isn’t built through grand gestures or over short periods of time. Building trust is a bit like filling a jug one drop at a time. Building trust also requires constantly finding routes across lines of difference to find common ground. In fact, one way to build trust quickly is to mimic another person
, forming common ground rather than looking for it.
I hope these sources are helpful to you as you work to build trust (and make yourself more trustworthy).