Choosing partners begins in kindergarten.
You’re sitting in the sandbox and just out of reach is your favourite dump truck. A freckle-faced kid picks it up and puts it in your hand. Something fires in your brain; this is an ally. A friend. A partner.
Partnership could be defined as the collaboration between two parties who cooperate to achieve mutually beneficial goals. Every connection we make could be defined, on some level, as a partnership. As a customer, you are in partnership with the vendor – both of you are working toward a mutually beneficial outcome. You get stuff – they get money.
Of course, most partnerships are much more logically and emotionally complex. There are so many elements that make up the best partnerships. Sharing basic sensibilities and common goals is important. Establishing effective communication that facilitates the exchange of ideas certainly matters. Complementing each others strengths and weaknesses should be part of the mix. All quite critical stuff. To my mind, the most crucial element in any relationship or partnership is trust.
Logically, trust is about loss and gain – based on the predictability of outcomes. If something, or someone, has performed predictably and you can feel relatively secure in determining the outcome then you trust. You trust the fire department (even if you’ve never been on fire), you trust your dentist (it hurts but you know what to expect), and you trust your mail carrier (right?). Predictability engenders trust. What kind of trust is that? Logical trust.
What about emotional trust? We can determine logically why we trust someone, or something – like our water heater – but how do you trust emotionally?
As an introvert, I tend to hold back emotionally and survey people as I would a situation. I watch for a while, then inch my way closer, opening up slowly and cautiously. Does this mean I have issues with trust? Perhaps but, were I to be completely honest (which is the only way to be), I do give everyone the benefit of my doubt. I don’t distrust – I’m prudent.
In our Social Media world of TMI and immediate intimacy, it’s easy to get seduced into a false sense of ‘reality’. The openness of Social Media feels like sharin’ and carin’ but I like to proceed with caution, one avatar at a time. My approach is onion-like (but much better smelling, I promise); I don’t omit anything but, rather, peel away my layers to gradually expose more of myself as I become more familiar with someone. (I suppose I could have used a ‘rose blossoming’ visual … ?) And there has to be an exchange – a partnership. In order for me to be trusted, I must make that leap, expose myself to the risk and trust.
Trust is about exposing your vulnerabilities and allowing others the opportunity to exploit and take advantage of them. Trust is knowing that they won’t.
I would love to know … Who’s got your Six? How do they let you know it? What makes YOU trust others?