If I imagine that you’re about to reach for your gun, I’m not able to speak my intimate thoughts.
If I’m reloading my gun, I’m not able to hear you.
Therefore: Trust is what is required if we are going to be able to hear one another.
Therefore: Building Trust is the first thing that a group of people needs to establish, if they are going to hear one another.
And if in the course of communication, that trust should break down, then: the communication needs to cease, and all attention needs to be refocused on building trust.
The practical methods here are the methods of building trust.
I want to provide an example where even relatively low-key communication is interrupted by a lack of trust. I’m going to pull from a place where there is an extraordinary lack of trust in our society: conversations amongst men and women about the relationship between men and women in society.
One of the tools people need to use a lot, when talking about their experiences, is the generalization.
So a man might need to say, “Well in general, the man is asking for the woman to pay attention to him sexually, …” or something like that.
And if there is low trust, a woman might say, “You know, that isn’t always true – and women do a lot to get paid attention to. You can’t just assume that every woman, …”
This is a low- to no- trust situation.
There isn’t going to be any communication here; There’s just going to be territory held and defended.
Now, the man and the woman can define their terms and so on, and come to some basic agreements, in order to get some token messages passed back and forth, but on the whole here, there is not going to be anything seen or heard that either party doesn’t already know.
That’s because both parties are in an attack/defense stance with respect to one another.
What kinds of trusts are required here? I don’t know. I just made this up. We don’t even know yet what our fictional characters’ life experiences are. But as long as we’re playing fiction, here are some things that might be required:
Once people know, “This is what we need to trust,” then the question can be asked, “Okay, how can I develop this trust with you, that this is so?”
And then once whatever activities or communications that are required are present, then the ongoing questions are:
Because it’s ongoing. It’s not “here’s your ticket, we’re home free now.” No, it is ongoing and dynamic.
The question of diadic relationship arises: How can two individuals develop trust in one another?
I don’t tackle this one here, because I think: Too much depends on the specifics of the two individuals involved.
Perhaps amongst a community, perhaps, things even out. Further, I think most people in contemporary middle class society are not so accustomed to intimately communicating at the scale of an entire community, since we are nuclear family based. (My standards for what is an “intimate” communication are also fairly high; no slights intended.)
At first when I was attempting to answer this question, I thought, “If I could just figure out what we’re trying to establish trust around…”
And these are pretty good, but I kept finding places where X was necessary and Y was not.
So I’ve come to see the question as a living question – one to be asked with each encounter.
Just asking ourselves, “What do I need to be able to trust from you all? What do I need your assurances about? How can I test that you will meet these assurances?”
Don’t have time at this very moment to categorize; Just dropping this off really quickly..! Typed it up this morning on my laptop.
I can’t say that the example makes much sense to me. To me it sounds like a perfectly reasonable conversation, not a “low- to no-trust situation.” If the hypothetical man in this conversation trusts the other participants, he should be willing to consider constructive criticism from them; and in fact i would find it rather patronizing if someone intentionally withheld constructive criticism from me.
And unfounded generalizations weaken arguments. There might well be some degree of truth in an argument partially founded on unsound premises, but respectfully pointing out the weaknesses in the argument is not an “attack.”
Perhaps the conversation is not clear enough – when I put the ellipses (…) after the man’s opening statement, I had not intended to say that he said a bunch of stuff afterwards – rather, I had intended for the woman’s response to be interpreted as an interruption.
If you are trying to communicate something, and then your conversation partner interrupts you to scrutinize before you can finish your thought, then I do indeed consider that a form of “attacking.”
The man hasn’t said anything – he has only begun with a very reasonable, and in most men’s lives, very much founded generalization. If you don’t see this as a reasonable or founded generalization, please let’s discuss. If you do see it as a reasonable generalization, I ask that you please state this, because I’m not getting that from what you are writing.
The situation is low-trust, or no-trust. That may also be the case between you and I’s communication here. I am definitely getting a sense of aggression here. If you think that the hypothetical man is not willing to consider constructive criticism, – I think that shows a lack of trust on your own part. Again, there is nothing in the short snippet above that indicates that this would be otherwise the case – there are literally just two lines of dialog:
The man has not responded, because I cut the frame short. We don’t know if he’s going to get angry, we don’t know if he’s going to try to respond to her concerns, and if he is going to try to respond to her concerns we don’t know how. We don’t know if he’s just going to ignore her and talk over her. We don’t know if they are going to come to agreements or not. There have got to be at least 20 options for him, to take, at least. Why would you assume that he’s not going to accept criticism?
And then – what is there to criticize, except the use of a reasonable and founded-by-life-experience generalization? And still yet again, is there actually a contradiction between what he is intending to communicate and what she is intending to communicate?
I agree with you that the conversation is “perfectly reasonable,” but that doesn’t contradict that this is a no-/low- trust conversation. I ride the bus every day, and converse with the people on the bus many times. All of these conversations (necessarily) begin in a no-/low- trust state. It is very rare that such a conversation will escalate to a high degree of trust and intimate communication, though I suppose that it is possible. And people can know one another well, and yet have no-/low- trust in their communications.
There’s a concept that I reference a lot with people, – a “LineOfCredit.” If you don’t give anyone any credit, then you scrutinize everything that they say. If something can be interpreted in a hostile way, it is. If you give someone a long line of credit, then you give them time to explain, then you look for “what is valid in what this other person is saying?”, and the atmosphere can be friendly, even if you disagree here and there. There is a trust that differences can be hashed out, that conflicting ideas can be resolved, or that new ideas can be found. It is a related idea.