Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Who Can You Trust?

Last weekend, I was out hiking with a friend, who kept telling me what was going on with her, at a very deep level, and then saying things like, "It's great to be able to share this with someone; I don't have anyone else to tell this stuff to."

It occurred to me that her major issue was not all the things she was talking about, but rather, trust. (There are some very good reasons for this, which I won't go into.) She's not alone, though -- trust is a big issue for a lot of people. So since then, I've been thinking about how you find out if you can trust someone at a deep level. (I'm not talking about more superficial issues, like showing up on time, or paying what they owe you. I've dealt with those issues here.)

It takes time to know if you can trust someone with your most sensitive experiences and feelings.  Listen carefully over a period of time to anyone you are getting to know, before sharing anything sensitive. Does this person
  • Complain a lot? If he complains all the time about just about everything, eventually, he'll complain about you, quite possibly spilling some of your 'secrets'. (On an energy level, there are no secrets. The energy spent trying to keep a secret weakens you, and takes energy from more positive pursuits. So transparency is your best protection in any case.)
  • Make many judgmental statements? If you hear judgments falling like drops from a leaky faucet, you must assume that she's judging you just as harshly as everyone and everything else, whether or not she says these judgements to your face. Do you really want someone judging you harshly? Do you even want to be around someone like that? Do you really want someone else's limitations circumscribing your life?
  • Ridicule people often? The ridicule can be in the form of put downs, or nasty, sarcastic humor (think Don Rickles here), or 'teasing'. An habitual ridiculer will use whatever you have shared to ridicule you, sometimes to your face. This is what really hurts, because what hurts you most  emotionally are judgements on things you already feel bad about.
  • Gossip? If she gossips, she'll feel free to tell your 'secrets', and leave you open to others' judgements and ridicule. Who needs that?
As you begin listening for complaints, judgements, ridicule and gossip, you'll find you rule out a great many people before settling on the few who don't do these things, or at least not as habits.

In the meantime, keep your own counsel. Journals are great for this, as long as they are not online, and preferably not even on a computer, which can be hacked. There are specific ways to keep journals which will help you clear your own issues, so that you don't actually need someone else to talk to most of the time. Maybe we'll get to that in another post...

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