“Do you trust me?” he asked, half expecting that this was a rhetorical question and half holding his breath as he really didn’t know what answer to expect.
This is one of those questions I answered so easily. Come to think of it, how easily the answer flowed was reason to panic. But to be honest, it really never did hit me. Sometimes, it still does not.
A while back, I lost a very close friend of Mine. This girl always told me when I trusted too quick or too much. And to be honest, I really did not know what to make of what this friend was saying. I had a million and one unanswerable follow up questions:
- Is trust not abstract or at the very least an intangible concept?
- How do I trust halfway?
- Where are to brakes to put enough pressure to trust at a slower rate or with much less intensity?
- …Too many questions, not enough answers..
I was one of those people, the kind that are too easily trusting. For the longest time, I automatically granted everyone I met trust. Just like that. And I was justified in doing so, in my opinion, as these people had really not done anything for then not to deserve to be trusted.
In retrospect, they also had done absolutely nothing to deserve to be trusted so my initial premise on matters trust was flawed as it only looked on one side of the coin without considering the other.
Has life not taught me how flawed that way of thinking was? The frogs I have kissed that did not turn to princes are one too many. And in as much as they did make decisions that did hurt and in that lies the duty of care that they neglected (Do I sound like I paid attention in my Law of Torts Class?), I must admit that these very people had not been qualified to have had me trusting them as much as I did.
The friends I have had to get away from because of many reasons, one of them being trust are a whole load. Literally.
I have made it my business to sit with people who are actually on my side, people who have morphed into mentors. People who do not fear that I shall get infuriated when they tell me that I am wrong. One of these people is my mum’s brother, Uncle Pete. As I was going through a hard time recently, I broke down ranting about how people just enjoy treating me badly and using me, and all these friendships of utility, he told me just one statement, “Trust is a receipt”. And I got back at it, this rant of mine and he repeated it once more, “Trust is a receipt”.
“Trust is a receipt”
After I was done, he looked me dead in the eye and told me that people will treat me how I show them I should be treated and as such, I should deduce my place in their life. This is to say that you cannot elevate someone in your life if they do not show you the receipts as to why they should be in your life and at such high status.
For example, If you have a new employee under you, they earn your trust especially with financial matters. For instance, one’s general factotum (mfanyi kazi, worker- doer of many things and generally called a domestic worker) has to earn the trust of their employer for them to keep their job. So on one day you send them to the store with KES. 1000 and they buy whatever is required and bring back a receipt and one’s balance. They do this consistently over time and just like that we learn to trust them.
The lesson here really is Trust is consistency over time. Should one not be consistent with how they treat you or should they consistently give you reason not to trust them, then no trust is due.
Promote or demote accordingly.
And that is where I am at. I have been taking stock of the relationships I have. In so doing, I have been promoting or demoting them as such. I am honestly, truly happy.
I do agree with my friend, I did trust too much and/or too fast. I just wish she was here to see my growth.