The Trust Triangle — How to Build a Strong Relationship with Anyone

Have you ever been let down by someone?

Maybe you wanted to meet up for lunch.

You let them choose the restaurant, it’s their favorite. When they say 12:30 is best for them you make sure that you’re available and can attend.

One week later it’s 1:00 and you get a text message.

It’s them.

“Hey. So sorry I forgot about meeting you, reschedule soon?”

How do you feel?

Not so good, right?

“I never lose sleep over my enemies, it’s my friends that keep me awake.” — Carmine Falcone

I have found that there are 3 main parts of trust:

  1. Trusting that someone will do what is best for themselves
  2. Trusting that someone will do what is best for you
  3. Trusting that someone will do what is best for both of you

Trusting that someone will do what is best for themselves

In the book “Road to Character” by David Brooks, he shared the following study from Gallup Organization:

The Gallup organization asked high school seniors if they considered themselves to be a very important person.

In 1950, 12% said yes
In 2005, 80% said yes

The median narcissism score has risen 30% in the last 20 years.

That’s CRAZY.

But it shows us that people are quite good at the first part! They usually do what’s best for themselves!!

Trusting that someone will do what is best for you

This one is a little less common.

People are respectful and even kind fairly regularly.

But how often are people truly considerate of you?

How often do people prioritize you ahead of themselves?

It happens sometimes but people really need to take the time to get to know you to be able to do this.

It’s not often that new friends are able to do this effectively. But let’s be real, how could they? They don’t know that much of who you are yet.

I think that this is essential to be able to do what is best for the other person to be able to progress to the third part of trust and complete the trust triangle.

Trusting that someone will do what is best for both of you

This is the most important and most difficult and most rare part of the trust triangle.

I find that many people have a difficult time compromising.

Whether it is because they believe they are the most important person — and want to be — or because of something else, it’s kind of sad to see.

Back to that lunch meeting with a friend of yours.

Rather than “forgetting” what if they had contacted you earlier.

They could have texted you at 9:00 am when they found out that they were not going to be able to make it.

They’re likely going to eat lunch anyways that day; maybe there was still a way for you two to have met up.

To do what’s best for both of you they could have offered to meet later on in the day at a restaurant closer to their office — your favorite restaurant.

Wouldn’t that have been nice?


Perhaps it still wouldn’t have worked out but at least you would not have felt unimportant to them or like they don’t value you.

“Honesty is a very expensive gift, don’t expect it from cheap people.” — Warren Buffett
“Trust is believing without results, confidence is believing with assurance.” — Unknown

It’s different to have trust in someone than confidence.

I believe that it is impossible to have confidence in anyone unless you have a shared trust triangle.

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