Don’t Just Ask “Can I Trust Them?”
“Can I trust them?” is an incomplete question.
When thinking about friends, business partners or anyone else, ask yourself these two more detailed questions instead.
1. Can I Trust That This Person Wants To Help Me?
If you have a problem, will this person want to help you, or will they make excuses and delay, perhaps while attempting to look like they are helping?
If you need to talk, will they answer your call or at least call you back?
Do they actually care about your wellbeing and investing their time and effort into their relationship with you?
Are they only trustworthy if it fits on their own calendar?
It’s become common practice for business people to ask “How can I help you?” as a polite gesture. If you ask for help, you may discover that the only help being offered are the services provided by their business, if you become a paying client.
It’s easy to say “I’m here for you.” and many people do. Actually showing up is entirely different.
2. Can I Trust That This Person Can Help Me?
Does your friend or business associate have the time, finances, experience or connections to help you?
Can they help you with your move, or are they working 9-5 and part-time evenings and weekends?
Could they send you a $1,000 bailout if you needed it, or are they struggling financially themselves?
Do they know how to improve your startup pitch deck, or do they think you want to play cards?
Do they have any business connections who can help you achieve your goals for this quarter?
Some people have the best intentions, but it would still be foolish for you to trust them.
Real World Example
I was recently involved in a business transaction that fell through. One party had shipped goods to the other but the product arrived in terrible condition. The receivers had to spend hours fixing the problem.
When they brought this issue to the attention of the shipper with a monetary amount they felt was a ‘fair’ reimbursement the shipper quickly sent them twice the amount they had quoted, taking a loss on this transaction.
In order to rebuild trust and quickly return to ‘business as usual’ the shipper had to…
Firstly, want the relationship to be repaired quickly and amicably, be genuinely concerned that his associates have lost time, and care more about his or her reputation more than the short-term loss.
Secondly, have a profitable business with buffer cash available in preparation for unexpected problems.
I would hardly consider this shipper trustworthy if they had dragged their feet sending a fair reimbursement or if they had recently bought a new toy and didn’t have free cash available to do so.
You can’t just ‘trust’ someone. Trust isn't static, so you won’t get the full picture just asking, “Can I trust him?” or “Can I trust her?”
Instead, when you have a doubt or hope about a friend, business partner or family member in a specific situation, ask these two slightly more in-depth questions.
Can I Trust That This Person Wants To Help Me?
Can I Trust That This Person Can Help Me?