Trust is when you dare to say "no"

My mother reminded me yesterday of an incident that took place about two years ago:

We two had to pick floor tiles for our house. The sort of decision you only think is enjoyable when you don’t have to make it for yourself. When you do, you suddenly find yourself staring at hundreds of options all of which have one thing in common: they are not quite what you had in mind. Oh, and there’s also this absolutely gorgeous model over in the corner, which costs about 10 times as much as you could possibly afford.

So, there we were, roaming a shop, looking through samples, deciding. Finally, we found a tile model (for the main part of the ground floor) we both liked. So, we went along and planned, calculated, played with colour schemes, transitions and contrasts.

There was just one problem with it: we did not like it. Neither of us. We didn’t actually hate it, no, it was okay, but we didn’t like it either. I thought my mother likes it, so I played along; she thought I like it, so she played along. At some point, long down the road, one of us let a negative remark slip, and we were like “wait, you don’t like it either? But I thought…!”. So we laughed and got out of the shop.

We were tired of the entire selection-decision process, and didn’t want to prolong it unnecessarily by being overly picky and moody. As long as one of us thought it’s good, the other one would tone it down and go with what’s just “oh well, not that bad” for them. That’s a societal attitude, and it’s a good (sometimes even necessary) approach to be able to agree on things in a finite time. But it might get problematic, when both (or all) sides choose to pick the “follower” role at the same time.

Sometimes, to trust someone means to blindly follow, and to know that you’ll end up in a good place. But sometimes, it also means to stand up and say “no, I don’t like this; I’m going for it because I trust your sentence, but this would not be my preferred choice”. Sometimes we find it easier to entrust our life (well, not in the context of floor tiles, obviously!) than to entrust our honest opinion.


3 thoughts on “Trust is when you dare to say "no"

  1. cygnet

    Firstly, yes, tile issues. Know it well. We still don’t have the tiles. We’re sort of in agreement about what we want though…I hope!

    Seriously, the thing with trust is that a large part of it should be very much about honesty. I know all too well from experience that when honesty’s not there, the trust dies. Those I have the most trust in are honest and open with me, as I try to be with them.

    Yeah, okay, humans aren’t perfect beings. Sometimes humanity gets in the way, we worry about what people will say, if we buck a trend, or that we may get the blame should we step up and try leading rather than following…In other words those time when we don’t trust ourselves. Or we simply want to get the whole choice process over and done with. Or we’re just too polite….

    As an aside and an example of the latter, years ago, my best friend and I, during summer holidays would spend lots of time together. A lot of that time was spent saying “Let’s do something” “What?” “I don’t mind.” “Neither do I.”. We could have had whole extra afternoons of mischief had we been more decisive/honest/opinionated/less polite!


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