“Trust is earned in drops but lost in buckets”

A wise woman once recited the above phrase to me while explaining the concept of trust. In layman’s terms, the above phrase explains how trust is earned slowly but lost entirely upon the discovery of a lie.

Currently, the average person meets someone and has the mentality that they won’t trust him or her until they’ve earned it. When one really dissects that perspective, it’s quite negative. Here’s why. When you proclaim how someone must “earn your trust” before you’ll trust them, it’s the same as saying that they’re guilty until proven innocent. Granted, no one should trust a stranger, but it’s much more fair to trust someone until they give you a reason not to. Just as someone is innocent until proven guilty. If there’s no reason not to trust them, then they deserve a fair chance to begin with.

When meeting someone new, it’s the best feeling in the world. It’s a fresh start, a clean slate and an opportunity to accomplish one of life’s most complicated goals: being with someone whom you can trust immaculately. The issue tends to come in once that trust is broken. But, before getting into detail, let’s first establish what ‘trust’ is.


In your latest app, trust is defined as follows:

1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence

2. confident expectation of something; hope

3. confidence in the certainty of future payment for property or goods received; credit

4. a person on whom or thing on which one relies

5. the condition of one to whom something has been entrusted

There are about 24 definitions listed, however most of the listings paraphrase the above definitions by appropriation, based on the word’s usage (noun, verb, etc). In short, trust is simply defined as confidently relying on someone or something.

As it relates to relationships, trust is defined as confidently relying on your counterpart to act in an appropriate and respectful nature while honoring your union. Again, in layman’s terms, trust is defined as being honest and dependable. While this concept is simply defined, it’s mainly difficult for most to uphold.

Why is trust important?

If you’re in a relationship, or even a friendship, one of the strongest legs of that bond is the fact that you know this person is in your corner. The reason you know this person is in your corner is because you know you can trust them to be there for you. It isn’t because they said that they’d be there, but because they’ve done so already. While others are random and unpredictable with their behaviors, one takes pride in knowing that they have that one friend/counterpart to depend on.

In terms of a relationship, trust is important because one invests their emotions into the situation. Attached to that are also the sacrifices one makes based on the trust that their counterpart is fully invested along with them. People trust that their counterpart is mutually invested and also willing to sacrifice the same things.

Usually in a relationship, the committed party will deflect interested candidates, sacrifice their time and opportunities as well as put forth an enormous amount of effort in support of the relationship. What one may/may not realize is that they’re choosing to do these things because they trust that when you commit to the relationship, you will remain committed. If this isn’t the case, one would prefer to know sooner than later so that they can discontinue unnecessarily investing and sacrificing.

How trust is broken?

Trust is fragile. Most would agree that lying is a breach of trust. While this is completely true, it isn’t the only form of breaking trust. If you’ve ever agreed to be somewhere or pick someone up and didn’t show, you’ve broken that trust. Reason being, that person relied on you (see above definitions). They instilled a confidence in knowing that you would do what you agreed to do. Of course, things come up. Cars break down, traffic develops and even (God forbid) hospitalization may occur. However, if your reasoning behind being absent is simply because you ‘forgot’, then you’ve damaged the trust between you two. Over time, the trust will likely diminish entirely if repeats occur.

Dishonesty is the most common form of breaking a trust. Although it’s rarely spoken aloud, once you’ve entered a relationship, you’ve agreed to a few things. Being trustworthy is one the top of that list. Needless to say, once you’ve lied, you’ve not only damaged that trust, but in most cases you’ve obliterated it entirely.

To be clear, there’s no such thing as lying to protect someone’s feelings. In reality, there’s no justification for lying at all. Your mate trusts you to be honest and that includes telling her if she looks fat in that dress (sorry ladies). While most would argue that telling a little white lie isn’t so bad, it’s still considered lying.

Fellas, if you didn’t satisfy your woman sexually, would you prefer that she lie and say that you was the best she’s ever had or would you rather she be honest and tell you what you could do to please her? Ladies, if you could stand to loose a few pounds, would you prefer that your man lie and pretend he doesn’t see those rolls on your stomach or be honest and let you know that you could lose about 50 pounds?

In both scenarios, trusting your mate to be honest should serve best and be valued. When it comes down to it, your mate depends and relies on you to be honest, especially if it comes down to your opinion of them. In most instances, it helps them better themselves to receive honest feedback.

Of course, and most notably, lying about dating or having sex with someone else clearly demonstrates a broken trust as well. Those reasons should be obvious.

"Trust rehabilitation"

In a broken relationship, there comes a time when not only the trust is broken, but attempts are made to rehabilitate that broken trust. In most cases, the attempts are unsuccessful. More commonly, the trust is repaired over long periods of time, and with much communication, but the trust will never truly be same. Here’s why.

Revisiting the above phrase, “Trust is earned in drops but lost in buckets”, once trust is gone, it’s usually gone for good. Regardless if the broken trust is forgiven, it’s never forgotten. And most notably, this is due to the fact that there was never any acceptable justification for breaking the trust to begin with. Simply put, you can’t convince yourself that 2+2=5 once you’ve learned that it really equals 4. Once a liar is exposed, trusting them again not only is foolish, but will most often result in hurt and pain.


When it comes down to it, trust, much like communication, is everything. Without it, a successful relationship is unlikely. If you’ve determined that the trust between you two has been broken, it may be best to re-evaluate the entire situation. One of the hardest things to do is to trust someone who’s lied to you. As they say, if they did it once…