This past week we went out to Santa Cruz Island with a group of 10 people and amidst our trip we got to have an awesome talk on how and why building trust is important in lasting friendships and relationships. Here is the condensed written version that is a but hopefully you get the gist of what was going on! be on the lookout, this fall or this winter we would love to do another adventure retreat and we would love to have you!
Santa Cruz Island Adventure Backpacking Retreat
February 23-25, 2018
A guide to better relationships and a more awesome life
I'm not a fan of “finding your purpose” I am a fan of “living with purpose.” - Jon Acuff
Before we get started into our material I feel it is necessary and relevant to define some words so that throughout this workshop we are all on the same page. I’ve learned that effective communication is a must in any relationship. Trust- A firm confidence in someone else that has the same/similar beliefs as you. Reliable- The ability to do what you say you’re going to do on a regular basis. (Unfortunately, these first two attributes aren’t as linked as we might assume.) Relationship- The way in which two or more people or organizations think and behave toward each other. Excellent- The term that others might give to you when you are striving to be the best version of yourself.
Why Trust is Essential When Building Relationships
You might have heard about a guy name Simon Sinek, who has a little bit of a reputation when it comes to trust and why it’s important. He typically starts his talks with a story about how two people from across the world find they have something in common and BOOM some degree of trust is formed. However, more often than not this instant trust is not indicative of a lasting relationship.
Yes, I agree that person that you met while traveling abroad that was American could totally have similar interests as you and you could feel very safe listening or taking advice from them BUT that is not the type of trust that I am talking about and not the type of trust that builds into life long friendships and relationships. This kind of trust takes time. There is no right or wrong amount of time but it does take time. Those common interests are just scratching the surface of what it means to build trust.
You are here, at this retreat and so are several other people. Guess what that means. . . You have common interests or core values as other people here. Does that mean that everyone here is going to be your life long friend and confidant when you need one? Probably not, but it does mean you’d be likely go on a trip that they recommend or travel to a gym that they think is great. I want to take you from that base level of trust to a truly meaningful relationship with people. Do I expect that to happen with everyone here? No, but hopefully you take away some guidelines and tools to help you do this later on.
Three Interdependent Ways to Build Trust
Three things you need to develop lifelong and meaningful relationships: time, vulnerability, and the ability to listen. We are short on the first one, but Jon Acuff gives some good insight into how time helps build those relationships. He talks about what he calls “doing reps” in a friendship, which I immediately understood being a coach and athlete. Maybe you’re similar to me in that way. Boom, lightbulb. “Doing reps” means doing something over and over and over again. In my mind, I know that if I am doing reps of a movement I am improving that movement, even if all my reps aren’t out of this world great. “Doing reps” creates those opportunities for awesome reps and huge PR’s and improvements. What does any of this have to do with friendships? Maybe I am alone here but maybe not. I have had this notion that when I hang out with my GOOD friends or my BEST friends that we have to always be doing something epic or that we each leave filled after having an epic conversation, encouragement, or inspiration. I didn’t want to have just “reps” with my good friends. I thought everything was supposed to be PR’s. Spend more time with your close friends doing things you normally wouldn’t do together. Coffee, cook dinner, homework, sit around, or do nothing. You’ll find that “doing reps” is an easy way to a great relationship.
Next is something a little more difficult. Vulnerability. Some people have no problem pouring their heart out on a first date and for others it takes months, if not years, to let others see our deepest selves. Neither is wrong but we are going to give you the opportunity to be vulnerable in a safe atmosphere. We are going to do two things. First, we are going to spend 7 minutes with a partner in non-stop eye contact. Not talking, not distracted, just 7 minutes of looking at someone else in the eyes. Don’t worry this isn’t romantic, but for some this can be very uncomfortable. I bet you’ve never stared at one person for 7 minutes, let alone held eye contact for that long.
The second thing we are going to do combines being vulnerable with the ability to listen. With the same partner that you just had a stare down with sit down again and agree that the next conversation will stay between the two of you unless otherwise told (only by permission of the other). Each of you are going to share one thing that you are extremely proud of and one thing that you wish you had never done (If you’re a no regrets person, one mistake that you learned the most from). Remember three things: We are ALL human and have all done things that we aren’t proud of, the deeper you share, the more you will get out of this exercise, and this is for listening only, not asking questions or judging. After you finish with this conversation you are going to attempt a fun gymnastics handstand partner hold to push the limits of trusting your partner! You have to push equally to make the balance work. (Just like in relationships)
So in recap here are the major things that I want you to take away from this. First, that relationships usually begin with a base level of trust that is formed from commonalities between beliefs or lifestyles. Any great relationship has to move beyond that level of trust to truly connect with peope. Get out there and do that YOU'RE interested in and you'll find others like you. Second, great relationships take TIME, VULNERABILITY, and LISTENING. These are all interdependent and you must utilize all three. Being Vulnerable is a high risk, high reward behavior, I do believe caution must be exercised but the upsides of genuine human connection far out way the pains. Finally, I want you to realize that trust starts with self before it can extend to others. Start to take an introspective look at your life and see if you can improve in those areas before you branch out to others. Thanks for listening and thanks for joining us on The Road to Better Health.