Trust

Early Morning on PlaygroundIt was one of those synchronistic moments—she and I had chosen a long list of exactly the same presentations to attend as part of our freshman orientation, but then it surpassed a funny coincidence.

We couldn’t stop talking. She asked me about my family, and though I answered with the usual bits of info (number of my siblings and their ages), she immediately told me about the beloved father she’d lost when she was fourteen years old.

I was taken aback. We were still almost strangers, yet she’d confided in me with a trust that made me look more closely at her, wondering why in the world she’d felt safe enough to do this.

She told me over lunch the next day that she felt we’d already been friends forever, and were only just getting reacquainted. We met when we were both eighteen and she has become one of my best and dearest friends. It all began because she took the risk to trust me.

I had another friendship filled with intense conversations, laughter, and heart-to-heart sharing. She and I had so many things in common: our early education of homeschooling, our views on God, our need to achieve and work hard.

Then I began to see a pattern: if something bad was happening to my friend, she wouldn’t tell me about it until after it was over. She’d endure a miserable situation for months and months, but she wouldn’t tell me about it until things had boiled over.

She’d stopped letting me in. And here I’d been telling her everything about me, as I lived it, trusting she’d do the same. Of course, we can’t all be expected to share everything with everyone, but I knew that she’d allowed me to give and give to her without returning the gesture.

It left me cold. I’d finally hit the wall that I’d somehow not seen, and I knew she was standing on the other side, content to keep things that way. Perhaps it wasn’t my fault and she never allowed anyone to cross there. This discovery ended a precious friendship. I knew if we couldn’t share equally, we could no longer be as close as we’d once been.

Trust, or the lack thereof, is a powerful tool for bonding or separating two people. How do you treat others with your trust? Are you very trusting, in general, or would you label yourself as cautious?

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

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