Writing Prompt: Is Trust Earned? Or Is it Given?

There is no right answer that applies to everyone, I think.

Every answer depends on how you see trust.


firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

That’s a dictionary definition. I’ve also read that trust is as simple as the ability to predict another’s behavior. Or just faith that a person will not harm you, or is not capable of crossing certain boundaries.

It’s all of these things to me.

And more.

And less.

For me, trust is given. Then it is earned. It’s a cycle.

On the other side, it works the same way. It is broken, then it’s taken away. Also a cycle.

But it’s more than just a transaction to me. It is a kind of faith. To be worth something—anything—it must withstand mistakes and challenges. When it is earned, however, it transcends. It grows exponentially. It becomes so much more than when it was given.

The Prompt

What about you? Is trust earned? Is it given? It it something else, something that just grows naturally, without any conscious attention?

How do you trust?

  • Do you trust easily?
  • Do people trust you?
  • What are the components of trust?
  • Is trust different on either side of the slash?

Feel free to write to me or in your own journal and link here (so others can read it), or just think on it or write on it and keep it to yourself, if you prefer.

I’ve posted a few thoughts. I have more, of course. I don’t want to influence anyone, though, as I love the idea of getting your honest and gut-instinct responses.

Write a sentence. Or a paragraph. Or an essay. Or whatever this is to you. Talk it out. Make it yours.

I’m looking forward to reading your responses!

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A Night Of Tears…

It was hard. It was painful.

Some of our truths are amazing, wonderful, fantastic, astounding… and some are hurtful.

You reacted defensively, and I was hurt more—beyond the topic, to the core of us.

Something changed, though. I felt it. You began responding to me with love and understanding and connection. I opened up. You took me in. You gave me of yourself.

We talked through pain. We talked through tears. Nothing was solved. It was not a solvable problem.

It was cathartic.

I felt good at the end. I felt positive in who we are and all that we do, even though neither of us know the outcome, and we both know it will hurt more in the future.

We have nurtured our love carefully, and it will continue to grow in our care.

This, above all else, I am certain of.

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Happiness = Complacency = Dead Relationship?

I read this article the other day:

Why It Pays To Be Grumpy And Bad Tempered

One of the quotes I found interesting was:

““Happiness functions like a shorthand signal that we’re safe and it’s not necessary to pay too much attention to the environment. Those in a continuous happy haze may miss important cues. Instead, they may be over-reliant on existing knowledge – leaving them prone to serious errors of judgement.”

In another post a while back (damn this crappy search!), an amazing comment came up about how the hardest thing we do in relationships is to continue SEEING each other for who we are, instead of collecting a mass of assumptions and treating our partners as avatars in our own minds.

And I agree with that.

And I’ve seen first-hand how happiness can blind a person.

And not in the ‘Imma-ignore-red-flags” way, but in the, “I’m happy, so everything must be fine” way, or the “I’m happy, so problems in the relationship are your problems” kind of way.

Happiness signals our brains that we’re safe. That everything is cool. That we’ve nothing to worry about.

And so, we don’t. And the details slip by.

  • We don’t worry about the birthday we missed.
  • We don’t worry about a regular date night.
  • We don’t worry that we are not as loving and romantic as we used to be.

Because, well, we’re happy.

Until we’re not.

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Kink, Like Any Other Relationship, Begins As A Simple Calculation

In a message this morning:

Why do you always turn me down?

He asked, so I gave him an honest answer.

I said that he has not made me feel that he is worth the time and effort of creating a new relationship with him. I’m sure he’s a perfectly good person (at least probably so), he has just not shown me that he has what I am looking for.

When it comes right down to it, kink, like any other relationship, begins as a simple calculation.

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If You Run Into An Asshole In The Morning…

“If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole.” -Raylan Givens, Justified

or you’re a proctologist, that’s always possible

But, let’s say you’re not a proctologist,and you’re not running into the kinds of assholes that proctologists concern themselves with.

Well, unfortunately, that means you’re the asshole.

But, wait.

“I’m NEVER the asshole. Everything I do is 100% justified, totally!”

Yes. That’s true. Unfortunately, it’s true for every single other person on this hunk of rock hurdling through space.

Yup. EVERYONE does what they think is the rightest, bestest, most advantageous thing for them to do at every moment. So, of course, they are not the assholes, either.

Well, at least not in their minds.

And not in mine, either.

So, when a bunch of people are saying you’re the asshole, what do you do?

1. Get your ego out of the way.

This is tough, and for good reason. Egos act as a shield, and putting down your shield when you are under attack is, well, kinda dumb in most situations. But in this case, well, you gotta take a few hits to learn.

2. Examine your behavior.

This is hard, because of what I said above. OF COURSE your behavior is justified. Pshaw! But really do it. Look closely for any overreactions, escalations, and not-niceness.

3. DO NOT examine their behavior.

Their behavior doesn’t really matter, because you can’t control that. And looking at their behavior just leads to(imagine this in a blustery, yet pouty voice), “Well, THEY did X, so I did Y,” which is just going back to the ages-old comfort zone of justification.

4. Seriously. Resist the temptation.

Don’t examine their behavior. Don’t justify. Focus on your behavior. No blame, no excuses. Just do it.

5. Compare your behavior to your personal standards for niceness or whatever your standards are.

Think about those standards when it comes to people engaging with you. Is this how you would want to be treated, by anyone, at any time? What about on a day when everything is going wrong? Would you like it then?

6. Make a change.

Or not. You may still be 100% justified, in your mind, and everyone else may be assholes.

Or, you may find that you give yourself a lot more leeway than you give the people around you, and you want to change that. That would be cool, too.

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“Don’t Post Writings About How To Interact Online—It’ll Just Teach Assholes To Fool People.”

That’s utter shite. It’s exclusionary and smacks of high school.

I go out of my way to teach people to interact better. I WANT people to learn how to connect with others. Most humans can only be their best human selves in connection with other humans they can learn from and grow with.

Give them the chance.

Many will not take it. And that’s OK.

But to suggest that some people do not “deserve” to learn how to interact successfully? Ugh! What horrible snootiness. For shame.

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I Call Bullshit. That’s Just An Excuse Born Of Fear And Laziness

A conversation I have had in a zillion myriad ways over the years has come up yet again, and of course, I have to rant a bit.

Don’t mind me… I’m just like that.

So, the other day, this guy says to me:

I was one of the guys that actually did read profiles, and would only write to those that I thought were promising as far as compatibility. I’d take the time to write out what I thought were thoughtful, informative, letters, talking about what I thought we had in common and why I’d like to get to know them better. Often, this process would take 30 minutes to an hour. And all too often I’d not get any kind of reply in return.

I hate to think how much time I wasted on them.

Eventually I did start getting a “fuck that” attitude, and my initial contact letters got shorter and shorter. Why the hell should I waste my time if they can’t even be bothered to send a simple, “Thanks, but no thanks”? Of course then you start seeing all of the women that complain about the short, non-informative contact notes.

I call bullshit.

No matter what you are doing, no matter your goal, YOU choose your meaning.

Sending me a long letter, and I do not respond (I’ve been hit by a bus), then sending another woman a long letter, who also does not respond (she’s not been on the site, thanks to a sick mother), then a third (she’s just not interested), has NOTHING to do with the fourth.


Except that you have chosen to treat all women in exactly the same way out of laziness and fear.

You are willing to lower your standards of personal behavior (ie: long letters) based on their behavior, therefore treating all women the same and poorly.

And all women are NOT the same.

Pity, really.

My attitude, is that once I decide I’m interested in someone or set my sights on a goal, it’s win or fail spectacularly. I will never lose thanks to lack of effort. But that’s because I have my own standards of living that have nothing to do with the people in my life and whether they positively or negatively reinforce that.

Think about it. Do you really want to let others dictate your own personal standards for living your life?

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I Am More Comfortable Seeing You As I Want To See You

There. I said it. It’s true.

It’s human to see people and judge them, and put them in their labeled box and be done with it.

I am human. At least most of the time.

And even when I’m not indulging in that particular comfort, it’s tempting.

Oh, come on. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. You do.

It’s tempting to characterize someone who hurts me as mean.

It’s tempting to label someone who disagrees with me as stupid.

It’s tempting to call someone who finds me unattractive as brainwashed by the media.

And so on.

VERY tempting.

I resist. Most of the time. I push past my comfort zone. I work out my ‘seeing muscles’ as diligently as I work out my body (and it’s just as fucking miserable, a lot of the time—it hurts to grow).

I do this so I can see you as you are, and not just see the assumptions that make me comfortable.

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Any Problem You Can’t Discuss In Your Relationship…

…is two problems. Or more.

1. The problem itself.
2. The problem of not being able to discuss it.

Lately, the topic of relationships black holes has come up in several conversations. I take that as a sign I need to write and think about it.

Let’s say you have a problem. You talk about it, and it doesn’t work, so you put it away, and avoid talking about it again. (1)

Now, a new problem pops up, and you start to talk about it. Unfortunately, too late, you realize that it’s related, and the topic comes back to THAT WHICH WE DON’T DISCUSS. You put it away, too. This problem has just become a part of the relationship black hole. There will be multiple problems like this. (2)

Unfortunately, the nature of a black hole is to suck things in. Now, even a problem that wasn’t related to the first problem, but is related to the related problem is now a potential powder keg. Luckily, by this point, you’ve gotten more savvy, and you avoid talking about it, just put it away as soon as you see it. (3)

And, then, the final stage, when the black hole takes over your whole relationship. This is when anything that pisses you off, causes resentment, or makes you feel sad brings you right back to the original problem, because it’s been festering so long. (4).

Let’s look at this in an example:

You forgot my birthday. It’s a BIG deal to me, and I get upset. You are intractable, and I feel like you just don’t understand. We have a huge blow-up. No one gets what they want, no resolution is found, and it just gets put away. (1)

Unfortunately, two weeks later your bestie throws a surprise party for their partner, which sets us off again. That’s when we realize that every mention of birthdays will be an issue. We pack it away, dry our angry tears and go to the party with our friends. It’s not brought up again. (2)

A few months later, when a sort of truce on birthdays has been created by just not talking about them or acknowledging the issue at all, I see an over-the-top romantic video online for an anniversary. I send it to you, suggesting that MAYBE you won’t forget our anniversary, too. It’s only three months away. Now every celebration of love, affection, and appreciation is a part of the relationship black hole. (3)

The relationship goes on, limping along, until a few weeks before my next birthday, when you forget to take out the trash, and it becomes, “You never remember anything that makes me happy! That’s why you forget my birthday!”

Now, everything that upsets me or pisses me off brings up that core hurt (and possibly others) because it’s never been resolved, and because I’ve gone over it again and again in my mind, so I’m familiar with the pain, and can access it instantly. (4)

So, would you rather have one problem to talk about or two problems that multiply exponentially?

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Top Of the Heap

Everyone has priorities. Work, life, kids, pets, friends, family… Everyone.

Some people have more priorities and others because they have more in their lives. More people, more opportunities, more work.

They have a heap of priorities.

And few people who have so many options in their lives are looking for things they can add to that heap. Because, well, it’s already a heap, and it takes a lot of time and energy to keep it from growing out of control.

Which means when you interrupt them with your message on this or another social site asking for their time, their attention, their affection, their play, their sexuality…

You’ll only get a positive response if your offer seems worth being put at or near the top of the heap.

And by worth, I don’t mean in your view. Of course you think it’s worth it—it’s your request. Worth being put at the top of the heap by the person who has the heap to begin with.

People with heaps of priorities and opportunities understand that attention is a priority. Once they pay you their attention, they can never take it back. That time and effort is gone.

So, ask yourself before your press ‘send,’ what are you going to do to earn it?

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