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  • Susan J. Leviton

What is Trust?

Updated: Jul 3, 2021

Trust is the foundation of any relationship, be it parent-child, teacher-student, employer-employee, or partner-partner. Yet many people were not given the tools to know whether they can trust someone or not. (People who suffered childhood abuse are particularly bad at judging trustworthiness.) So what is trust, and how do we know when we can trust someone?

Trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else.”

--Charles Feltman, Founder, Insight Coaching

These are things I teach my clients about evaluating someone's trustworthiness:

  • Trust takes time. Because trust develops through observation and the gathering of data, and you can’t find out all that much in one week! Especially if someone is deliberately trying to deceive you.

  • Look and listen. Does that person keep commitments? How do they talk about other people? (Do they never have anything nice to say? Or do they enjoy putting other people down?) Do their actions match their words? They may say they care about family, but do their actions support this?

  • Make note of how a person treats service people, the elderly, children, and animals. You can learn a lot about someone’s character that way.

  • Notice inconsistencies. Do they tell you they are doing well financially, but then always seem to be broke? Do they talk about wanting children but ignore any around you?

  • Be wary of people who rush you. For example, they ask you to move in with them after only a brief time together.

  • Pay attention if someone tries to change you, especially if it’s early in the relationship. Do they suggest you spend too much time with your sister? And that you could stand to lose a few pounds? And that it’s time you got a new car? And, and…

Brené Brown - The Anatomy of Trust

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