Trust Equity

Every relationship needs “Trust Equity”. Whether you are in a committed relationship with the love of your life or you are buying a coffee at your local beanery, “Trust Equity” is vital to the success of the relationship.

What is Trust Equity? For a business, it is developed by providing consistent service and a high quality of product.  For your sweetie, it is expressing your love authentically in tangible ways. Trust is always developed over time.

Trust Equity in a relationship is not unlike equity in your financial life. Financial equity is the value of your assets minus the cost of acquiring them. It takes years of making wise, intentional financial decisions to build up enough equity to have the resources to achieve your financial goals in life.

In the same way, we need to invest intentionally in our relationships in order to see a return on that investment. I have found it handy to have some extra “equity” so that when I mess up – and believe me I do that regularly – I don’t “break the bank!”  In other words, if I have built trust and then make a mistake within a relationship, I have a greater opportunity to ask for and receive forgiveness. However, if we never invest and only withdraw, we lose equity.  Eventually, just as with a bank account, if we spend more than we deposit our relationship will soon be bankrupt.

It seems with the busyness of our lives today, that it is difficult to build the trust required to have a healthy relationship. On the surface it seems easier to walk away and start over again. However, I have found that it’s then actually more difficult to make the necessary investment to create health in the relationship.

Recently a friend made decisions, without considering how it might affect other people, including me. To be honest, I was just plain mad. I was hurt and really just wanted to walk away and say, “Oh well, whatever!”  Then I began to think of all the time I had invested into that relationship and how much I valued it. Thankfully I decided to choose relationship over offence. Because I had built a lot of “trust equity” with this person, I talked with him about the whole situation. To my amazement, he listened and even thanked me.

So how do we build Trust Equity?  Here are three action steps that may help:

1. Say what you mean; mean what you say.

Breaking promises is one of the quickest ways to lose trust. When I was young, someone in my family would promise all kinds of things and then never follow through. I hung on every word. But as I got older I didn’t believe a word of those promises.  Always keep your word, and you will build Trust Equity.

2. Listen to hear. What do I mean?

Seek to know not only what is being said but why. In other words seek understanding, not just information. My daughter sighed with frustration once because when she shared a relationship problem with me, I went into ‘fix-it’ mode. She said, “Sometimes I don’t want advice. I just want you to hear me.” (That is, understand her heart.) Oops! We agreed that from then on she would let me know if she wanted my advice.

3. Be Honest.

There is an old saying: “What they don’t know won’t hurt them.”  But it will hurt your trust equity and have a negative effect on your relationship. It’s best to come clean and work through things together. This will actually deepen your relationship. As I coach people, I find that dishonesty is one of the biggest factors when trust is broken. By contrast, honesty is a great source of healing. When someone is honest, it creates an atmosphere of transparency and trust.

Well there it is for now!  Remember to comment below and give us your thoughts on this subject. Until next time remember, “Relationship Matters”.