Who’s Got Your Six?

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?

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14 Responses to Who’s Got Your Six?

  1. Dan Newman says:

    You nailed it. What an interesting perspective on the theory of partnering as well as the intimacy of Social Media.

    As always, very impressive!

    • tobeydeys says:

      Thanks so much, Daniel, for reading and commenting. I do find it fascinating how, for some, the inherent ‘barriers’ of Social Media seem to incite openness. I guess that’s why introverts love it.

      Thanks again and, btw, I’ve got your six ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Natasha_D_G says:

    People never believe me when I tell them – but like you I’m an introvert as well. I don’t let many into my inner circle – no easy trust here. How/why i trust? When you show consistently that I can depend on you – : to keep my secrets/confidence, to be there when I need you and not just there when its convenient.

    SM trust? Hmmm – time. There are a few people [@markwschaefer and @glennhilton] I’ve met here and not IRL yet but I know they have my back – at least in the sm world. We had great convo when I had two followers and would/still do today because I know they’re a tweet away!

    • tobeydeys says:

      Hey Natasha,
      There are so many great posts (check out @lisapetrilli and @mackcollier, if you’ve not already) on Introverts in SM. It is easy not to reveal too much but still have great connections. I do agree with you – it’s also a place to meet and connect more deeply. I know I’ve been blessed to develop some fantastic (and trust-worthy!) friendships on Twitter (that sounds a bit odd when I say it loud … but really very true ;-))

      Thank you for sharing – I’m glad I’m getting to know you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Mark Schaefer says:

      So kind of you to mention me Natasha! I think it is a matter of time before meet!

  3. You think folks do not believe you when you say you are introvert, try me saying.

    I discovered this year I am, learned it from Devora Zack when she was on Breakthrough Business Strategies radio. She wrote a great book-Networking For People Who Hate Networking.

    Never knew that the way to tell if someone is a introvert or extrovert is ALL about how they recharge, not how they act in front of a group.

    I learned the false sense of reality/security in a really public way last year, lesson learned. One of those occasions when you say to yourself-that nagging feeling you wouldn’t listen to has come to bite you in the butt.

    • tobeydeys says:

      Hi Michele,

      You are spot on -> “tell if someone is a introvert or extrovert is ALL about how they recharge”. Online, and sometimes off, I’m able to keep up the energy and do ‘extrovert’ for very short bursts but it really doesn’t feel genuine. I suspect I draw off others’ energy to keep at it. Even online, I feel the need to retreat and recharge – completely alone.

      I believe that most people desire to be true to who they really are so that they can be genuine with the world at large. And for some of us, slow & steady wins that race.

      Thanks so much for reading and for commenting. You are a wonderful support to me and it means so much! xo

  4. Kenny Rose says:

    Great post Tobey loved how you explained the concept of trust.

    I agree it is so difficult as an introvert to trust people. I think social media creates a protective layer that does allow for relationships to develop at a pace that is more comfortable for introverts. Personally I am not sure I buy the model completely as I tend to veer between the two extremes depending on the context and situation but I understand the relevance. Social media can feel like a care fest at times and for those of us who like to build relationships slowly or may have been burned in the past it can feel a little contrived. But ultimately I believe people do care we just have to interpret and acknowledge what they care about and try to communicate in a way that establishes a strong relationship.

    Thanks for sharing your insight.

    • tobeydeys says:

      Hi Kenny – couldn’t agree more with you about the protective layer (I visualize a shield where we can control the opacity ;-)) that social media provides. I like that I have time to think about my responses and, as you say, choose the pace at which relationships develop. In real life, that is more difficult and I tend to be far more introverted and cautious.

      “interpret and acknowledge what they care about and try to communicate in a way that establishes a strong relationship”. You make a great point; ultimately, we have choices in how we much we want to invest in our relationships.

      Thank you for your insight, Kenny – I appreciate it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Ken Rosen says:

    Tobey,
    Really lovely view of trust. Reminds me so much of Lencioni’s 5 Dysfunctions with Trust at the base. The other layers are so easy to develop, yet that base…is so much more challenging! I hope your optimism is always rewarded. It seems no coincidence that your other comments are all folks with whom I’m working well down that path.

    Cheers, Ken
    Performance Works

    • tobeydeys says:

      Thank you, Ken – optimism has generally served me well. Until I tip it over and spill it, I see my glass as half-full ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have yet to read the book but will put it on my list!

      Thanks again and look forward to connecting more often with you ~ I have much to learn!

  6. WOW…this is so much I could say about this post as it COMPLETELY pertains to EVERY aspect of life and several situations I came involved in.
    I love your ideas and perspective!
    I hope you know that I got your 6,12,18,24, 30….yada yada yada!
    talk to you in a few minutes I am sure!

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