We often come across people who champion themselves as those who don’t need much time in helping someone trust them. Whereas in our case, the conversation does not flow beyond a small talk.
It is the mark of a great character when one is known as a person who is open-minded, trustworthy and someone who can be relied upon. But despite our best efforts to be this person, we might end up becoming someone who is often given a smile and told that everything is fine by the closest friends. In the end, such instances might make us feel a little lonely and helpless.
There are plenty of good reasons why someone may choose not to confide in another person. A confidant may turn out to be extremely sentimental, patronising, judgemental, moralistic or panic inducing. The dangers of being humiliated are also great. In order to confide, we need to know that the lister will be sensitive, non-judgemental, empathetic. But even if we are these things, how do we communicate these to someone?
What most people do is to let the other party know that one is safe with them, that whatever is shared remains confidential and that no judgement will flow in this conversation. And yet, such moves don’t result in great success, quite often. Then what can work?
Maybe, if we let our guards down. We could do so by admitting something difficult rather shameful about ourselves. It goes onto show that we, just like them, carry certain instances of which we are not proud. Instead of throwing a headline statement, when we share something close to our hearts, we let the other person know that we won’t turn on them incase they decide to share, just like they did not turn on us. We also let them know that we genuinely understand what it is to carry a secret inside one’s heart, longing to release it to someone worthy.
The process of building trust often acts as a transaction of stories. First one person shares a small awkward instance followed by the other person doing the same. Over time, the intensity of shame increases in the instances shared, till the vulnerabilities come alive, thrive and are valued.
The real message is that in order to gain the trust of another person, we need to let them know that we are also broken, and have flaws to ourselves. That we have done stupid silly things, that we carry these things inside us and that we are willing to share them by trusting another person.
To be a good companion one must not only be polite in communication but also be willing to share something risky, which can be used against oneself. So that the other person also feel trusted and gives in, so that they can also give us something that we can use against them. Under the shade of an umbrella of mutually agreed upon destruction, real trust and friendship can flourish.