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November 22, 2016

The 3rd Worst Piece of Relationship Advice Ever Given

This week we’re looking at the worst pieces of relationship advice ever given. Here’s the 3rd worst: “Trust is the foundation of every relationship.”

Look, I need to be able to trust you. I’ve been burned so many times before, I cannot open myself up to you unless I can trust you won’t hurt me. We can’t move forward without this, so I need to know. Can I trust you?

Makes sense, right? Actually, no. This very conventional line of reasoning does not make sense; it cannot even stand up to the laws of logic. Why? Because trust is not a real feeling unless there’s an entrusting action that precedes it.

Take the situation above. Let’s say this is a twice-bitten guy talking to a girl he really likes. He wants to “be able to trust” her before they move forward. But think about this: How is the she supposed to demonstrate her trustworthiness without having something entrusted to her? As Hemingway put it once: “The only way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

In reality, trust is an act of riskily entrusting something to someone, before you can say you really have trust in them. That means trust between people is never the foundation of a relationship; it is the rather the result of two people riskily entrusting more and more into each other’s care: personal information; hopes, fears, & passions; finances; time.

The only foundational trust is the one you have to have in yourself, trusting you will be okay even if this person you are daring to entrust yourself to ends up hurting you in the end.

Peace begins with pause,

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