It’s a Catch 22.
If you do trust him, you’re opening yourself up to getting hurt or betrayed.
If you don’t trust him, you’ll never gain true intimacy.
Has this ever happened to you? You trusted someone who shouldn’t have been trusted…
Then decided the answer was withholding your trust until the next man proved himself worthy of it…
Only to lose him.
You don’t have to play that game anymore.
Up until now, it may have felt as if you only had two options:
Either you trust him, or you don’t.
But there’s another option. A better one.
You trust him EXACTLY as much as he deserves.
I’m going to share a simple model that will help you do that.
It’s called The Circle of Trust.
Before you ask, it bears only a passing resemblance to the gag from “Meet the Parents.” 😉
The Circle of Trust is a way to visualize how close you are to the people in your life.
Imagine a circle with concentric rings. At the heart of the circle, in the innermost ring, is just one person:
The most important person you can trust—the person you need to have 100% faith in—is yourself.
You should never trust other people more than you trust yourself. This protects you from manipulators who make you doubt yourself.
Ring 2: Inner Circle
In the next ring are those you are closest to. These are the people you respect, trust, and love with all your heart. Maybe there are just a few people here: a best friend, a sibling, a mentor.
These people have earned the highest level of trust you can give another human being. Ultimately, you want your romantic partner to be in this ring.
Ring 3: Friends
The next ring includes close friends and people you care about. Maybe these aren’t people you could call at 2am when you can’t sleep, but they’re good people. They are there for you as much as they can be.
Ring 4: Acquaintances
These are people you know, like, and interact with. They may include co-workers, people from your gym or church, or distant relatives.
Even though you may not be very close to these people, they still belong in your Circle of Trust, because you know you can trust them in limited circumstances. You can trust your co-workers to help you on a project, or that guy at the gym to spot you on the weights.
That’s what a very basic Circle of Trust looks like, but you can include more levels if you want to be more precise.
Everyone else—strangers, people you’ve just met—belongs outside your Circle of Trust. They have to earn the right to enter your circle by showing you they’re reliable.
So how does this model help you trust that guy you just met on Tinder?
Anyone you just met belongs outside your Circle of Trust, even if you’ve been messaging each other for weeks before the first in-person meeting.
If the first date goes well, then you might admit him to the outermost ring of your circle. He becomes someone you’re acquainted with, someone you can trust in limited circumstances.
He advances through your Circle of Trust by demonstrating trustworthiness. Does he respect you, support you, and take the time to get to know you? If so, he might become someone you’re proud to call friend.
And if his behavior remains constant over the long haul, you might want to invite him into your Inner Circle. You can trust him, and you know it.
But what if you want to put a guy you just met in your Inner Circle?
You LIKE this guy. Your heart is giving you the green light. Why should he have to jump through hoops to prove himself? Surely he belongs in your Inner Circle as soon as you know you want to be with him.
Giving a man your trust on the basis of how you feel isn’t as reliable as giving him your trust on the basis of how he behaves.
And it takes time to see if his behavior lives up to his words.
Here are some other things that don’t give a man a free pass to your Inner Circle:
- Doing something sweet for you
- Sleeping with you
- Saying everything you’ve always wanted to hear
- Promising you the moon
- Playing on your heartstrings
What do you do if you allow a man in and he betrays your trust?
You bump him out a level.
And if he does it again, he might end up outside the circle.
With the Circle of Trust, you’re in charge. You assign people exactly the amount of trust they deserve.
When do you let people into the innermost ring of your Circle of Trust? Let us know in the comments.