I’ll say it here: Trust is overrated.
It’s wonderful when it genuinely blossoms from a deep connection. A solidly built trust helps to reassure one that you are making the right decision with any given person with whom that trust is formed.
Yet at the end of the day, the only person in whom you can trust without a doubt’s shadow is yourself. Everyone else you are trusting that you can trust. Sometimes that gamble is low, but it is never zero. But, you see, that’s okay.
I rarely curse, but I’ll make an exception for this one:
You don’t need to trust me to treat me like a fucking human being.
Sometimes trust is necessary for a relationship. I cannot have children with a man or woman that I do not trust. I make that choice for myself, but also because I owe it to my future offspring. If I choose poorly, and they ask, I don’t want my answer to be, “Well, I knew I didn’t trust them, but I decided to just not think about it.” I don’t want to teach them that what I wanted (being a mother) was more important than their future (growing up feeling safe and wanted in a house with both parents that they love). Nope, not doing that. Mistakes happen, you can’t tell the future. But I’m damn well not going to try to make it miserable for them, either!
But sometimes trust is nothing more than a nice luxury between two people who don’t like each other at all, but are still living on this planet together.
Trust is a nice luxury. But it’s a bit like love and religion. It’s only real when we believe in it. You cannot hold it, touch it, do anything with it. You cannot live in it. Oh, you can in the movies and such, but in the real world, we need cold currency for rent and food.
My partner’s ex loves to use this as an excuse. “You see,” her voice drips honey, “He, and I, well, we just don’t trust each other. Without trust, we can’t work together.” It’s a nice little phrase, and the mediator happily agrees with the bland statement. I wonder if she believes in this crap or simply wants to get paid for her time and leave.
You see, my partner doesn’t actually have to trust his ex to work with her. He will never trust her again. Nor should he. But he can still honor agreements. Can still communicate with her regarding the best interest of his children. There’s no trust, but that doesn’t mean you’ve got to squabble like babies while your children try to make up for your lack of maturity and self discipline. Contracts and lawyers. They make up for the lack of trust.
I don’t trust many people. But I can still work with them.
If I only worked with those I trusted, I’d be playing a boring game of hot potato. Passing money back and forth between me and five other people. You don’t have to like someone or trust them to make agreements and stick to them.
You can just work with them, for the sake of creating harmony in this world. So that other people suffer less hurt. You can smile at them and still trash them (in private!) behind their backs. Don’t do this for people you care about, of course, and try to limit those you treat in this manner.
But when push comes to shove? Let’s say you don’t trust your boss. You do, however, need a paycheck and your coworkers deserve a drama free workplace. So you smile and act polite to your boss (all while determinedly seeking a new job with a better company!)
The social contract. We abide by it for a reason. Just like with legal contracts, the social contract represents a sign of distrust. I don’t need that contract with my master, because I trust him…but he’s close to the only one I trust that much. But with most people I interact with, be it my co workers, my neighbors, etc? I don’t have the time and luxury of sitting around until our relationships are so perfect, I can simply trust them.
And it’s okay. I can be nice to them in the meantime. If I can swallow my pride and smile in the face of an abuser- because if I signal to them that I know the abuse is happening, the people I care about will be hurt- than I think most of us can do it with most people in our lives, regardless of how much we like and trust them.
Whatever the reason, whatever the circumstance.
You. Don’t. Need. Trust. to treat someone with basic kindness, decency, and respect. So let’s all grow up and do that, shall we?