Individual Counseling, Couples Counseling and Sex Therapy

Building Trust: Don’t Be A Flake

As I sat recently in a restaurant waiting for an acquaintance to show up, I began to think about what it means to be reliable. And, as with most painful or interesting situations in my life, I attempt to make meaning out of it by turning it into a blog post. Or, more specifically, my husband will say, “That could be a blog post.” relationships, anxiety, trust

As I sat seething, because I had arranged my entire day around this meeting, I began to think about trust. About how so many of my clients complain that they can’t “trust” people. But have they ever considered how their actions may affect other’s ability to trust them?

See, you may think it’s no big deal to decide at the last minute you don’t want to go to dinner with your friend. Or not bother to call someone back. Or be 15 minutes late because you tried to fit in one last chore before you left the house. (Not that the actual reason matters; late is late). You may think that that person will understand, and you are probably right. But what you may not realize is that all of these little incidences of flakiness add up. They affect how people view you. They affect your reputation. They can make you seem untrustworthy.

Oh, don’t be so dramatic, you may think. Or “rigid,” as I have been personally accused of. But this isn’t about me. It’s about you, the actual flaky one. Have you considered how your actions may affect others? Even if they won’t tell you? Have you ever felt “judged?” Maybe there is a good reason.

If you can’t show that you are trustworthy with small things, then people won’t tend to trust you with big ones. So if you are consistently late, or otherwise unreliable, others aren’t going to think that you are a trustworthy person. Is that what you really want?

So, next time, before you consider blowing off your friend, think about what being “trustworthy” means, and if this is one of the adjectives you’d like others to use in describing you.

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