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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 20, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 12
INSIGHTS & PERSPECTIVES: HOW DO WE TRUST?
Section One
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INSIGHTS & PERSPECTIVES: HOW DO WE TRUST?

by Michael Raitt - SGN Contributing Writer

Have you ever taken the time to think about how you trust? Most people don't give it a lot of thought yet 'trust' is at the top of the list of traits that people talk about when they are talking about friendships and romantic relationships. It is worthwhile to give it some thought.

To begin with, most people generally approach trust in one of two ways. The first group of people come into relationships already trusting the other. They generally see people as good and the idea that another is unkind, not truthful, or is out to hurt or use them doesn't enter their minds. Trust is given.

For this first group, if negative interactions happen in a relationship, they become less trusting. It is as if their trust in the other is being worn away.

The second group of people is the opposite; they tend to be wary and trust in another has to be earned. These people come to relationships where they become more trusting as they can see over time that the other isn't going to hurt them or use them.

This second style of trusting is the approach where trust has to be earned.

Neither of these approaches is right nor wrong. They are what they are and when you are aware of which you tend to most, you can more closely look at relationship dynamics that occur around trust.

In addition to whether we give trust or trust has to be earned, we generally have criteria that we look for that makes us experience trust or not.

Some people look for consistency in words and actions to feeling trusting. When these people start to experience inconsistencies they begin to question the trust in the relationship.

Other people look for the ways in which they feel connected to the other to feel trust. For example, if these people have a lot of things in common with the other and they spend a lot of time together, they feel more secure and trusting.

Another group of people are actually provocative in the way in which they do trust. These are people who antagonize others into a conflict and when the other finally expresses enough frustration, the antagonist feels they can trust what the other is saying.

All that I have talked about so far is about how we create trust between ourselves and others. This is the most common way in which we look at trust. You often hear it when people are saying things such as, 'I don't trust him' or 'She isn't trustworthy.' That is about the trust between two people.

Surprisingly, most people don't think about trusting themselves. The number of people who break their own word or go against their own values is eye-opening. When I work with couples where there has been infidelity, I always ask, 'How much do you trust yourself?' If you can't trust your own commitments and actions, how can you build trust with another?

Take some time to reflect upon how you do trust and whether you can actually trust yourself. Look at how your style works with the style of your spouse or friends.

Michael Raitt, MA, LMHC, is a therapist and a contributing writer to the SGN. If you would like to comment on this column, ask a question you'd like him to write about, or suggest another topic of interest, please contact him at Michael.Raitt@comcast.net.

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