Photo Credit: Terry Johnston
All relationships have a buffer that protects them from damage. This is true of platonic as well as romantic relationships. I call this the “Benefit of the Doubt” buffer.
Have you ever heard someone exclaim, “Oh, I know her and she would never say that!”?
This is the benefit of the doubt. What the person is really saying is, “I trust that person’s character. What you have told me doesn’t line up with my previous experience.”
What Is the “Benefit of the Doubt” Buffer.
Our willingness to extend the benefit of the doubt to another person comes from our trust in them and what we already know of, and have experienced with, them.
Where does trust come from?
The Foundations of Trust
1. Expectations Met
When someone meets our expectations then how we perceive them matches our experience of them. This builds confidence with us. We know we can rely that how they behave will correspond to how we perceive their personality, motives and intentions.
2. Commitments Kept
Every time someone keeps a commitment, they also create greater trust with us. A commitment that is kept is like a loan payment on a note. It gives us greater confidence that they will continue to meet their obligations to us.
The bottom line for your relationships is this: If you build trust in your relationship, you are creating a buffer of protection around the relationship.
When the storms come–you lose your temper, you make a mistake of judgment, or you bring disappointment–they will blow over much more easily and the sun will return more quickly if there is a “levy” system of trust built around the shore of your relationship.
Your friend/spouse/partner/colleague can easily forgive a mistake when there is sufficient trust built up. The rationalization process will work in your favor. They will think, She rarely loses her temper. It must just be a bad day.
In essence, they are saying that losing your temper doesn’t jibe with the experience they’ve had with you. They look for reasons to excuse the lapse instead of reasons to believe the worst. This is the power of trust.
Now it’s your turn. What do you do to build trust into your relationships? How do you re-build trust if it has been broken?