Relationships and Trust are one of the fundamentals of my existence as a human being. I struggle to put these terms into words. I think, relationship is how much I know a person and how much they know me. According to my limited understanding of these terms, it could also mean,
relationship is, mutual expectation, about a person reacting or responding which I can experience, see, or feel in each context based on my consistent and continuous interactions with her or him in the past.
Then what is trust?
Maybe, based on our consistent and continuous interactions, how much comfortable both of us are in understanding, being in each other’s company and predicting each other’s reactions and responses, as both are fully aware and aligned about the common goal both are trying to achieve.
This shows how closely knit these two fundamentals are to each other. If you do not have a mutual expectation or some idea of each other’s behavior for a future situation, then you don’t know each other . Then there exists no relationship. Relationship is always both ways. If you both are not comfortable of being in each other’s company, not aligned on common goals, understanding, and predicting about, how each of you could behave in a future situation, that means there is absence of trust. Relationship may exist, then trust may be missing. This means we can have relationship and not have the trust, then if there is trust which is strong, then there could be a strong relationship at play. ( think of some working relationships or personal relationship you have, you may spot the difference)
The most interesting words for me in these definitions of Relationship and Trust, is “consistent and continuous interactions”. This is something I feel, is important! Are we having these interactions consistently and continuously? Then, next question is what is the content of these interactions? Are we simply making it very task oriented or are we personalizing those interactions? At our workplace, we may be spending more than 50% of our day. In today’s virtual setup it may be close to 75%. Our colleagues may be on our speed dial, office interactions may be are on top of our mind while we are having other conversations, yes those flashy office WhatsApp groups.Personalizing does not need us to invade someone’s privacy. It can also simply start from just checking how other person is feeling on a given day and building on those little opportunities with genuine curiosity. Sharing some good news to our colleagues to get them know something more beyond mundane transactions. Or sharing a little word of appreciation to our fellow team member for delivering an assignment on time (Imagine, if someone does these things to us? How will we feel?). I guess, our brain likes social interactions coupled with personalization, and that is how we get a sense of belongingness towards a particular community or group, we feel a sense of safety. When these social interactions are removed from our life, it may lead up to lot of alienation, stress and potentially into a spiral of loneliness in-spite of being amongst crowd.
These little investments of personalization have a potential of developing deep rooted trust. Because we are putting in efforts to know a person at more personal level, understanding what matters to them, more importantly getting to know each other better and align ourselves better for something common between us. We cannot expect others to trust us, just because we are a manager or a Leader of the group or for that matter, we are a parent. It simply grows with time based on how consistent we are with our behaviors towards that person. How much open we are with another person. How much genuine curiosity we have in us to know the other person beyond the mundane working transactions. We cannot expect relationships to become strong with simple task level conversations or just by using designations. For relationships to blossom it may need these constant and continuous interactions coupled with personalization.
Other day, one of my friend called me up, I said, hello. My friend responded, “ I just called you, for no reason”! I wanted to simply chat with you. That conversation went for an hour. We both work together, we had met during the day for two meetings, we had exchanged work related WhatsApp messages. In-spite of all this, my friend just wanted to catchup. I wonder, how many of us have such conversations, how many of us have made calls and said, “ I just called you, for no reason”.
If you have people in your life whom you can call up for no reason and have long conversations without a fear, you have a trusting relationship.
If you do not get content seduced while your colleague is yelling at you, in turn you listen and inquire what is making her or him upset, you have a trusting relationship.
If you can walk to someone and share what is disturbing you and seek help, you have a trusting relationship.
Because in all the above situation you have a mutual expectation and prediction of a future behavior and there is some common goal which you both are aware, both are aligned and more importantly you both want to achieve.
(All views expressed here are the views of the author/essayist and does not represent the official standpoints of any organization the essayist is associated with)