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Trust is Hard


June 25, 2024

How do you do trust? What makes you trust or not trust another person? Why is it so hard to trust? 

Defining Trust

How do you define trust? Not from a dictionary, but your personal definition of trust. Everyone has their own definition of trust that they use in relationships.

For instance, mine is time and experience. I need time and experience with someone to determine whether I can trust them beyond the initial impression, and with deeper things.

Some people look for honesty, loyalty, or responsibility. Whatever your ingredients are for trusting someone, it’s good to know what you are looking for and that there are many possibilities.

How People Do Trust

People typically grant trust in one of two ways. They either wear their trust on their sleeve until someone proves to be untrustworthy, or they trust no one until that person proves to be trustworthy.

Now, one of those will involve more heartache, while the other appears more cold and aloof.

While working in a residential setting, My client was a 14 year old girl and her father. Her parents were divorced, with mom out of the picture, and she had gotten herself into trouble. At a parent workshop, dad was vigorously defending the idea of trusting everyone, just because. Then his daughter came home for a visit and broke his trust in every way. On the debrief call the following week, he said, “I get it now Todd. I see what you were trying to tell us. I trusted her too much, and in ways she wasn’t ready for.”

Don’t we all do this at times? We want to trust people that we are in relationship with. But sometimes, that trust can be misplaced.

What Is The Bridge?

You might have heard it said that love is the bridge between two people in any relationship. What if that bridge is trust?

Some might say they can’t love without trust. Others might say they can’t trust without love.

Either way, both love and trust are important in any relationship.

Trust Scales

I have taught my clients to use trust scales for over two decades. A trust scale is a measurement of trust in a given moment on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the most trust you could ever imagine having for that person.

This in-the-moment measure is great for letting someone know where your trust is with them in a certain time. And it can change from moment to moment depending on the circumstances, or what has happened in between.


And then there are scenarios where you may trust someone to do one thing, but not another. This doesn’t mean you don’t trust the person in general, just not with certain tasks or circumstances.

For instance, a parent may trust their teenager to drive their younger sibling to soccer practice, but not trust them to drive with a friend on a cross-country road trip. If trust is to be earned, it is earned with smaller things leading to bigger things.

As trust is demonstrated, more trust is given.

Trust Is Hard

Trust can be difficult based on prior life experience. Sometimes, relationships might teach you that it’s not safe to trust others. Then that can be extended to everyone, and now the whole world is unsafe. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Those impactful relationships from your past can be resolved. Healthier attachments and relationships in your present can be built. It’s not easy and it takes time. But in the end, it is well worth it.

Related: Boundaries Are Necessary

An excellent book on this subject is Trust by Dr. Henry Cloud. If you need help defining trust or learning to trust again, give us a call. We would love to help.

Todd Call
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