I started working with people in the mid-1970s and have had a little over four decades to make some personal observations about why we don’t trust each other, and also why we do. It may surprise you to learn that people don’t experience a lack of personal trust because you are not wealthy, talented, popular or highly educated or just really smart. That may come as a surprise to you because those are all good things, things we highly value as a culture, but those do not serve as the fundamental reasons for our personal mistrust of one another. Here are reasons I have observed.
You are unknown. It is very possible that the confidence you want people to have in you is not because you lack character. It is possible that people don’t know you well enough yet. Relationships take time. Trusting relationships take even longer. That is actually a good thing. It is not always wise to place deep confidence in someone you don’t know that well. Give yourself time to know someone better and give others time to know you too!
You are unclear. Sometimes what you perceive to be a lack of trust is actually a lack of clarity. I have met guys who say, “I am a man of few words.” OK, that’s up to you. But a lack of communication leads to a lack of clarity and gives rise to assumptions. It’s hard to have meaningful relationships with assumptions, isn’t it? A lack of clarity is the soil suspicions grow in.
You are undeveloped. This might apply if you are younger and haven’t quite defined what you “are all about.” That is okay. Figuring out who you are, what you believe, what is important, how you worship, politics, social issues and many other considerations make up the big bowl of soup we call “life.” If you haven’t decided on certain temperatures, ingredients or seasonings regarding your life, people might not know what they are sampling. So, keep on, keeping on. Time will help you learn, grow and transform into the person God created you to be!
You are unbearable. To be blunt, you talk too much, too often, with too many people. Two songs come to mind at this point. Joe Jones in 1960 released a song entitled, “You talk too Much” and in 2001, Toby Keith released a wildly popular song entitled, “I Wanna Talk About Me,” with the unforgettable lyric, “I like talking about you, you, you, you usually, but occasionally I want to talk about me!” If you are constantly taking advantage of people by talking about yourself, your life, your job, your kids, your health, your, house, your problems, your relationships and on and on, people find you overbearing and probably don’t know how to tell you. You ask, ‘How does that make me untrustworthy?’ Because it sends the clear, loud, repetitive and unmistakable signal that you are so preoccupied with yourself that you don’t care about others, doesn’t it? It is hard to have a trusting relationship with those who ignore, take advantage of and talk over top of you.
You are untruthful. When I was young, I heard a man say that “exaggerations were the skin of the truth stuffed with a lie.” Outside of exaggerations in humor, they are indeed untrustworthy declarations. But beyond that, there is no substitute for the truth. No one trusts a liar. Gossips at home, in the church, at work, at school or anywhere, generally twist the truth. People who lie have a huge faith issue. They simply do not believe God will take care of them if they speak the truth. Don’t blame others if you lie, exaggerate, gossip and find that people don’t believe in you.
You are unapproachable. Most of us want people to place confidence in us. But that cannot happen in any significant way, with any consistency, if you are aloof, detached, passive or dismissive. If you live like you are alone on an island, people will not connect with you, learn about you and trust you. Maybe you got hurt, burned or neglected. That is painful, I know. But you and I have to learn to love, to forgive, to open up, grow past the anger, stop making emotional hostages of others, to engage others and to pick ourselves up and move forward with empathy and love. God offers forgiveness to each of us, and we should do the same.
You are untuned (kinda outta tune) In short, are you crabby, cranky, ill-tempered, impatient, sour or sarcastic? Seriously, if you met someone like you, would you want a relationship with that person? Would you trust that person? It is almost impossible to trust an “emotional minefield!” It may not be your position in life that turns people off, it may be your disposition. So, lighten up some, find your joy, be thankful, count your blessings, work on kindness, see the best in others, and find deep meaning in a faith walk with Shepherd Jesus!
You are ‘unguilty.’ In short, it ‘ain’t’ always you! It is quite probable that you experience a lack of trust with individuals from time to time, not because of your personality or experience, but because of theirs. Life is a bumpy journey isn’t it? We all get bruised and scarred along the way. We have to keep in mind that there are certain personal leaves that are withered in each of us. Those leaves may have been withered long before you met someone. So, lets be good listeners, good learners, uplifting others and making it a mission to love others well! “God so loved the world that He gave His Son!”