July 2017
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trust: what builds it and what burns it, for me


icon: "analytical (a close-up photo of my eye in bright sunlight, showing the green and grey and roots-looking patterns)"

How do you define trust in your relationships? Do you believe it is a black and white issue or a grey area one in that you can trust people in different ways?

Trust comes in various levels, for me. I start everyone at about 60%: assuming that they respect me, they want to avoid hurting me, and they're not going to lie to me.

Things that add to that trust are:
- not hurting me often (which requires them to be careful with their language and actively practice removing slurs and stereotypes from their thinking),
- being remorseful and productive instead of defensive when I have told them that they hurt me,
- telling me as soon as they can when I do something that upsets them so that I can adjust my behavior,
- being willing and able to share their feelings and experiences with me (self-aware and open),
- taking action to care for our relationship,
- sharing freely with me without me needing to prompt them,
- showing curiosity and thoughtfully engaging with things I share,
- practicing good self-care, especially in such a way that they can have more quality time with me,
- openly (especially publicly) admitting when they made a mistake or realized a change they need to make.

There are probably more actions that build trust for me, but that list alone would bring someone up to 90% at least.

Things that lower my trust in someone:
- deceiving me,
- hiding things from me that they know I would want to know,
- not telling me when I bother or upset them,
- showing that they don't respect me or others,
- showing that hurting me doesn't matter to them,
- using slurs,
- mocking people for anything that is related to their status as an oppressed person (seriously anything),
- making fun of anything that is part of who someone is (like their laugh, their name, their style, their body shape, etc),
- trying to push someone into doing something (ANYTHING) they don't want to,
- affirming stereotypes,
- trying to 'win' in an argument or agreement,
- showing a lack of self-awareness,
- showing that they value me more than themselves,
- disliking all conflict,
- avoiding giving direct answers when I ask direct questions.

Any one of those things would drop my trust at least 10%. Not all of these are things I think are bad, but they are all things that show I cannot be very close to that person.

Things that have little to no effect on my trust, usually:
- keeping plans we made (all I care about is desire and effort, not success)
- being on time
- being available when I am in need
- remembering anniversaries/birthdays
- responding in a timely manner
- backing me up in a conflict
- showing me that I am more important than others
- staying consistently in my life

I notice many people expressing desire or need for these things but frankly, that stuff is mostly stuff that only neurotypical people can do, or stuff that creates a hierarchical relationship. I have had maybe two relationships with neurotypical people and they were ages ago. I don't really forsee myself being in any of those in the future and if I did, I hope I would not become reliant on those things as markers of trust. They have not at all correlated with people who remained nourishing, non-damaging connections for a long time.

So overall, yes I trust people in different ways. I trust Topaz probably about 98%, Kylei, Heather, and Hannah about 92%, and other people vary from 0% to about 88%.


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on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.