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Friday, 5 June 2015

Trust issues

There’s a beautiful Dutch saying which translates as follows: the innkeeper trusts his guests after his own character (NL: Zoals de waard is, vertrouwt hij zijn gasten). The English translation has been borrowed from a fellow Dutch blogger: The actual English equivalent of this Dutch saying is: “Ill doers are ill deemers”.

Actually I prefer the Dutch translation above the English equivalent as this translation paints a (historic) picture with only a few words. Just picture the innkeeper Basil Fawlty and his legendary trust towards his – especially foreign - guests in his esteemed “Fawlty Towers” (BBC video). My former French girlfriend also liked the graphic ways of Dutch sayings as these sayings contain a message and a - usually spot-on - example. The English saying “Ill doers are ill deemers” may actually first require the use of a dictionary. 

The reason for this blog is that I feel a lack of trust from a friend. She/he keeps on pushing and nagging on a topic which I had considered to be discussed and concluded. The mere fact that (s)he keeps coming back on this topic makes me rebellious and – worse – suspicious. Today I am supposed to go somewhere but I couldn't care less at this moment. I prefer writing this blog rather than paying that visit.

I am sensitive when it comes to trust issues. It doesn't really matter which side they are on: whether I'm granting trust or receiving trust. There's another graphic Dutch saying that translates along the lines of: trust comes by foot and leaves on a horse (NL: vertrouwen komt te voet en gaat te paard). The English equivalent is “trust is hard to gain and easy to lose”. Although the sayings are similar in its message, the striking example in the Dutch saying makes a real difference.

Apparently my former wife reads my blog too and now wants to reconcile. However, there is zero trust on my side when it comes to her intentions. As Sepp Blatter recently said after his re-election as FIFA’s Chairman: “I forgive everyone but I don't forget”. I advise her to first repair what she has broken in our kids, by using them as pawns in her relentless war against me.

How to restore trust once it has been damaged? Perhaps that's the most difficult challenge in life. The only thing that comes to my mind right now is this: actions speak louder than words. Communication helps but it's ultimately just a stream of words. And communication also requires some skills as else things even go from bad to worse. 

Moreover, reconciliation requires a bilateral purpose. Else it just becomes a unilateral redemption. At times, it's better to be acquaintances rather than forcing someone into a unilateral friendship. That doesn't mean I don't miss the counsel of my former BFF. One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood (Lucius Annaeus Seneca). Yet, "no one can be friends after being lovers but if they are friends again after being lovers, they are the best friends in the world” (unknown origin).

Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships. (Stephen Covey)