This is a guest post from Mitja of Think Success Project.
“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” – George MacDonald
We as humans are all surrounded by other people. We have friends, families, acquaintances and we all have different kinds of relationships that are based on trust.
The more trust we have in someone and the more trust someone else has in us, the deeper the relationship.
But sometimes we do something that our friend doesn’t like.
We lose some trust points in his mind and it might happen that if I ask him to do something for me, he will hesitate. I am sure you’ve had similar experience before.
Trust as The Emotional Bank Account
We probably all know what a bank account is right?
We make money deposits into our account to build our money reserves. When we need the money to buy something or to use the money, we can make a withdrawal.
The emotional bank account is a metaphor where we can describe how trust in a relationship works.
So how does it work?
Well, if I want to make deposit into your emotional bank account, I can do that with honesty, kindness, courtesy, integrity, surprise. That is how I can build my reserve.
Trust you have in me becomes higher, our relationship becomes deeper.
Besides that I can later use those deposits. I can ask you for help and you would help me. I can make some mistakes in the relationships and those deposits will compensate for them.
Withdrawals work in exactly the opposite way. I can make withdrawals from your emotional bank account by being rude to you, showing disrespect, insincerity, discourtesy.
Those things make big withdrawals from the emotional bank account and if these things are happening more often than they should, then the withdrawals can exceed the deposits and it can happen that the emotional bank account eventually becomes overdrawn.
At that point, problems start to emerge in a relationship.
Tension starts to build up. We have to be careful at everything we do or say. The atmosphere changes from relaxed and positive to tensed and negative.
At that point every negative thing or additional withdrawal is even bigger than it was when, we had a positive emotional bank account.
That is the problem of many relationships.
Families, companies, marriages are all facing this problem. Marriages are particularly vulnerable to this and that is because marriages are the deepest relationship and these kind of relationships have to be sustained on a regularly basis.
It happens much too often that once beautiful relationship filled with love, respect, kindness and honesty, become a hostile one, where there is no room for respect or love.
Two people instead of loving each other, are arguing over silly things that don’t matter.
That kind of home can become cold and negative and the only positive light that is holding it together, are the children.
I believe that if a large reserve of trust isn’t sustained by continuing deposits, a marriage can deteriorate.
Most intimate relationships require our most constant deposits, otherwise, who knows what will happen.
Old deposits slowly disappear with the people we interact on daily basis.
Sometimes there are automatic withdrawals made from the emotional bank account.
These happen when we make mistakes and we don’t even know about them. Sometimes we do something that we think it’s a good idea, but someone else might think differently.
I’m sure that many times, you said to your children: “Clean your room! Do your homework! Take out the garbage! Help your sister! Do that, do this!”
You might not have thought about it, but your child has enough.
You have made it to the limit of your child’s emotional bank account. That can be a problem.
Maybe the next time you’ll want to tell him something important, or to help him to make a big decision, he might not listen to you and decide on its own.
Trust that is so important in a relationship, isn’t there anymore.
There are, however some major deposits that build emotional bank account, build relationships and bring them on a higher level.
You should listen to them if and put them to action immediately if you want to improve your life.
Understanding The Individual
Understanding someone may be the most important deposit you can make in a relationship. Understanding someone can make a difference between arguing and talking nicely. Someone can have a problem and seeks your help, but if you don’t understand him, understand his point of view, you can’t help him.
Understanding the individual is a great way to make big deposits, but you have to first understand someone, because until then, you can’t know what constitutes as a deposit.
What might be a deposit for you, might not be a deposit for someone else. In this case some bad things can happen. You thought you have made a deposit where in reality, you have made things even worse than they are.
To build trust by understanding people, you have to really understand them and let them know about that.
Little Things Are The Big Things
Little things are so important. Something very important you should know.
Little things in any relationship are big things. These little things like kindness, honesty, affection, little gifts that symbolizes your love for someone, make huge deposits.
Those little bad things, like showing disrespect in a bad moments or forgetting something important to do, can make big withdrawals.
I remember the valentine’s holiday that was just recent. I’ve made a big mistake once and on this year’s valentine, I’ve made another one.
The mistake was that I didn’t bring a little symbol of my love and affection to my girlfriend. My plan was to light some candles and spend a quiet nice evening with my girlfriend.
Mistake! That wasn’t enough. I am to blame. One rose would have made all the difference.
I have learnt two things from my mistake. First, little things are big things in a relationship that is intimate. And second, it brings me to my first big emotional deposit that is so important.
You have to understand someone, you have to understand his or her desires and wishes in order to make a deposit instead of a withdrawal to an emotional bank account.
What actually happened here is this. I thought I was making a deposit, but in reality there was something missing. What I thought was a deposit, wasn’t a deposit in my girlfriend’s eyes, because she was expecting something else and more for that matter.
I was aware of my mistake immediately after I saw her face.
I won’t ever make this mistake again. A little act of affection and love can make all the difference in relationships.
Make sure you attend to the little things. You’ll make someone happy and for that reason you’ll be happy.
Keep Your Promises
Keeping commitments or promises is a huge deposit.
Breaking promises is a huge withdrawal. If you make a commitment or a promise you should do your best not to break it. If you break a promise that is important to someone, the next time he won’t believe you.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you see that there are too many variables that are on your way to fulfill a promise, it’s best not to make a promise.
But if you do make one and later see that you won’t come through, you should do your best to explain what happened.
Clarify Your Expectations or else
There are many problems in any relationships because of the unclarified expectations.
Each of us has certain roles and goals that other wish they are taken care of one way or another and unclarified expectations will lead to conflicts and withdrawals of trust, sooner or later.
It is said that expectations are implicit. That means they haven’t been explicitly discussed or stated, but people still expect that they should be fulfilled.
Expectations are important in intimate relationship. When we are with someone for a long time and we get to know one another, we start to make certain expectations that are based on understanding of someone.
It is not necessary the right thing to do, but that is what we as people do.
Sometimes we expect someone to do something that is trivial to us and when the expectations aren’t met, that means a withdrawal has been made.
Similar situation could happen at work. If you and your boss’s expectations aren’t clear, the two of you could encounter some problems, for example, you won’t complete the project on time.
That could make a withdrawal. That is why is so important to for you to bring all your expectations on the table right from the beginning.
Don’t be afraid to stand up and say what you think. It’s better to say something in the beginning, than being sorry later, because things aren’t going in the way you wanted to.
Show Personal Integrity
I believe integrity is a virtue that is absent in many people’s heart. Integrity isn’t just being honest. Honesty is telling the truth about certain situation.
Integrity is more than that. It’s telling the truth and being realistic about situation. It’s describing something how it is and not how we think it is, with no judgment involved.
Integrity is treating people by the same set of principles.
It’s said that we can make deposits into our emotional bank account with integrity. We can, but people have to recognize us as a person with integrity.
We can gain integrity by standing up for someone that isn’t here right now. Maybe a few people would criticize him, behind his back, what he did wrong or anything. Standing up for someone makes deposits.
One other thing. If you see someone criticizing someone behind his back, what do you think about a person that is criticizing?
I always wondering that, if he is criticizing someone about his back, is he doing the same to me? Is he talking nicely to me when we are together, and then bad-mouth me behind my back?
So, you see, this is how to make withdrawals. I know some people that are exactly like that. We understand each other fine, but I feel things aren’t as good as they could be.
Another example would be, if I wanted to build our relationship and told you something I shouldn’t have.
Like a secret.
I might say: “I’m going to tell you something that I shouldn’t, but I will because you’re my friend”. That is a very poor way to build relationship, telling the secrets of other to someone else.
You might think: “Aha, he is telling the secrets of people to other people, he is not be trusted”.
Instead of building a relationship and making a deposit, we make another withdrawal.
Being the person who knows what is right and wrong and treating people by the same set of principles is a way to go.
Apologize Sincerely or Face The Consequences
When you make a mistake you should apologize sincerely. Don’t apologize simply because you want things back they were. You should apologize sincerely.
Sincere apologies make deposits, repeated apologies interpreted as insincere make huge withdrawals that are not forgiven over night.
Mistakes that we do, like forgetting something, being late or a being responsible for some worthless argue, are the mistakes that happen by events that we sometimes can’t control or by misinterpreting something.
Not seeing the right picture. These mistakes are forgiven fairly quick and don’t leave big scares.
Mistakes by heart, like apologizing insincerely are the big mistakes and these are not easily forgotten.
We all know when we do something right or wrong, when we make a good or bad thing. We feel joy, happiness, satisfaction. If you make someone else happy, those feeling are mutual.
These feeling are the deposits that we can make in our relationship to build trust.
The idea for this post actually came from a book that I highly recommend.
The book is called: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. If you hadn’t read this book yet, I highly recommend you do.
What do you think about all of this? I would love to hear your thoughts about this topic.
Mitja is the man behind Think Success Project.com. Mitja comes from Europe where he decided to create a website focusing on becoming successful and learning the habits of successful people, and then write about them on Think Success Project.