Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog is intended to give you a flavour of how I work as a counsellor. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links above.
How do we come to trust some people more than others? We might say of someone “I wouldn’t trust them as far as I can throw them”, or “I’d trust them with my life”. How to we come to make these judgments about people? What are the signs that tell us that it’s safe to trust some people more than others?
One of the main ways that we develop our opinions about whether or not we can trust other people is through a sort of “trust dance”. When we first get to meet someone we will most likely be a little cautious, and in our early conversations with a new acquaintance will be testing the water. So, we might perhaps make a slightly humorous remark to see if the other person smiles. Do they share our sense of humour? If so, we will feel that we have permission to relax a little and use humour more with this person. If not, we might be a little more guarded. Similarly we might explore other aspects of that person’s character, with a remark like “Fred’s driving me nuts today”. If the other person responds in kind : “Yes, he’s an annoying twit, isn’t he”, we will start to feel safer to express more of our opinions. If they disagree with us, or ignore what we’ve said, we’ll be less likely to open up to them in the future.
These are just a couple of examples of the sorts of things we might say to get an idea of whether we can open out with someone. There are many more, for example:-
- Do they keep confidences – things we tell them, and things others tell them?
- Do they confide in us?
- Do they fulfil commitments, such as arranged meetings?
- Are they punctual?
- Do they return things we lend them without prompting?
- Do they make fun of us, or of others?
This list is quite a personal thing – punctuality, for example, may be very important to some of us, but not at all important to others. And we will all set different store by different types of things – so that for some of us, repaying a debt will mean a lot, for others, keeping a confidence might be much more important.
It is apparent from this that building trust is (for most people, at least) a slow process. So what happens if it goes wrong? What do we do if, during this trust dance, our partner steps on our toes? Our reactions will vary, of course, according to circumstances. We may grit our teeth and pretend it never happened. We may invest in a pair of steel-toed shoes and attend the next dance session better defended. Or we may choose a different partner and start a dance with them. Or perhaps we may even decide that dancing is too dangerous, and shut ourselves away at home instead.
At the risk of stretching the dance metaphore too far, another option is to take some lessons, maybe with your partner, to get some expert input into what you might do to avoid crushed toes in the future. Counselling won’t restore trust immediately, but it can help you to build, or rebuild it more rapidly. And once you’re learned the steps, you can repeat them over and again.