Thursday, February 25, 2010

Three sides of Trust.


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Trust can be a very difficult thing to understand let alone have.  In my experience there are three side to trust: The quality of trust (trustworthiness), the ability to trust (confidence), and the act of trust (entrusting).  I frequently hear the question, "Why don't you trust me!"  It is a painful moment when distrust has become a part of a relationship.  I hope to present some ideas about building trust (or rebuilding it if it has been lost).  Let's start with some definitions.  

Warranting trust; reliable.
trustworthy. (n.d.) The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. (2003). Retrieved February 24 2010 from

trust (trust)
1. Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.
2. Custody; care.
3. Something committed into the care of another; charge.
     a. The condition and resulting obligation of having confidence placed in one: violated a public trust.
     b. One in which confidence is placed.
5. Reliance on something in the future; hope.
v. trust-ed, trust-ing, trusts
1. To have or place reliance; depend: Trust in the Lord. Trust to destiny.
2. To be confident; hope.
1. To have or place confidence in; depend on.
2. To expect with assurance; assume: I trust that you will be on time.
3. To believe: I trust what you say.
4. To place in the care of another; entrust.
5. To grant discretion to confidently: Can I trust them with the boat?
6. To extend credit to.
trust. (n.d.) The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. (2003). Retrieved February 24 2010 from

con-fi-dence (kon'fi-d?ns)
1. Trust or faith in a person or thing.
2. A trusting relationship: I took them into my confidence.
a. That which is confided; a secret: A friend does not betray confidences.
     b. A feeling of assurance that a confidant will keep a secret: I am telling you this in strict confidence.
4. A feeling of assurance, especially of self-assurance.
5. The state or quality of being certain: I have every confidence in your ability to succeed.
confidence. (n.d.) The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. (2003). Retrieved February 24 2010 from

en-trust (en-trust')
tr.v. en-trust-ed also in-trust-ed, en-trust-ing also in-trust-ing, en-trusts also in-trusts
1. To give over (something) to another for care, protection, or performance: "He still has the aura of the priest to whom you would entrust your darkest secrets" (James Carroll).
2. To give as a trust to (someone): entrusted his aides with the task.
entrust. (n.d.) The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. (2003). Retrieved February 24 2010 from

I will be posting more on these three in upcoming posts.  Let me offer an introduction here.  Trust takes two.  What is more the responsibility for trust in a relationship is shared if it is going to be a healthy relationship. 

Both parties have a responsibility to behave in a trustworthy manner.  When there are inconsistencies in this regard it is destructive to trust.  Behaving trustworthy is something that is definitely within your control.  However, let me just say that it is not possible to be perfect.  Trustworthiness is always tempered by our own brokenness.  Brokenness is not an excuse to behave untrustworthy.  You have to make things right if there is going to be trust in your relationship.  On the flipside if you are waiting for perfected trustworthiness before extending confidence to someone you will be waiting a long time as no one has perfection this side of heaven.  Or if you do find someone to trust eventually they will let you down "Familiarity breeds contempt" and you will always be able to find reasons to distrust someone. 

If the relationship is going to be trusting then both parties have to reach a place where they place their confidence in the other.  This involves recognizing and accepting the risk of vulnerability in the relationship.  It involves the possibility and likelihood of being hurt.  No one can hurt us more than those we put our trust in.  Why would we do it then?  Well without the possibility of pain and suffering then we lose out on the possibility of true companionship, intimacy, and joy that comes from a trusting relationship.  Stated a different way you cannot have true companionship, intimacy, and joy from someone you have only a casual acquaintance with and for whom you have not placed confidence in. 

When a measure of trustworthiness and confidence have been established then the act of entrusting the other is the next step.  Trustworthiness is acting in a manner worthy of trust, confidence is an internal decision to trust, and entrusting is the action of trust in the relationship. 

Let me offer a non-interpersonal example.  I have a need of a checking account.  I have banked with the same bank since I started working some 20 + years ago.  Why?  First the Bank is trustworthy (by my estimation).  I cannot say they have been perfect, but they have always been honorable.  They are sound.  They are insured.  I have confidence in my bank's ability to provide checking account services.  As a result I entrust my money to them.   As a result I have a trusting relationship with my bank. 

I have much more I want to share on this subject, but I think this might be a good stopping point for this post.  More to come. 

God Bless You