In a recent episode with a friend, the value of trust in a relationship was revealed (again). The more I forge and nurture relationships, the more I respect the value of trust. It explains actions and thoughts without need of an elaborate explanation. Many words and actions either become redundant or, even more, take on a beautiful new meaning when looked through the glass of trust. It is also the foundation for robust relationships.
But trust does not come by itself, unlike some other characteristics. Trust has to be brought into a relationship by choice. And the only way to do it is to take risks. To become vulnerable. To give the other person a certain amount of control and power over you. If they misuse this ‘power’, get out of the relationship at double speed. If they become more watchful and cautious now that they have the power to cause harm, you know you have found a trustworthy friend. Just like, to know if a person is really humble give him/her some power and observe what they do with it.
Trust extends over both emotional and material stuff. The other day I was having a conversation with an American friend about extending monetary support to dear friends. I happened to remark that I have such and such amount extended as friendly loans. The amount was not trivial and my American friend said “I believe you would have done legal paperwork” to which I said “No”. He would not believe me. I am not against legal paperwork or the concept of keeping things clear. I look at money as a practical tool and am not too emotional about it. So, when I extended these loans I was very clear about when the money has to be returned and I do not hesitate to charge my friends a nominal interest rate (and the reason is not just profit, but also to rid them of unhealthy feeling of being obliged). The loans I had extended were significant, yet not enough to dent my total wealth if for any reason I lose every penny of these loans. I trust my friends to stick to their word and not once have I been let down (though minor disappointments have occurred). That does not mean I will never be completely let down. I am sure some day I will be, but that is a small cost to pay for the tremendous benefits that accrue from taking these risks. I am investing in my relationships just like I would invest in the stock market. And in both cases, there is a risk attached to the probability of ‘profits’. Further, if I am not cheated I win by making the relationship richer and if I am cheated then I win by getting rid of a ‘bad’ friend at the cost of a known risk. A win-win situation if you look from my perspective!
One of my most cherished and tender relationships is a friend with whom trust is complete. And our relationship is unshakable because we have already made ourselves 100% vulnerable to each other. That does not mean we share anything and everything. To the contrary, and this is what makes trust magical, we do not fear to say what we want to say. So, I can ask my friend anything without worrying too much and she can freely answer or refuse without worrying too much and vice versa. Beautiful! The inexplicable either gets explained without effort or does not need an explanation.
To summarise, the more you trust, the more adventurous you become. You do not fear from experimenting inside the relationship (because there is little or no fear of losing it), and that adds a lot of spice, eventually making the relationship tender, warm and strong.
Trusting trust is a win-win argument!