Hi! I’m creating a new blog. I hope you all will follow me over at that blog. I’ll post links to it here for a while before I stop posting altogether on here. The new page is spellboundscribbler.wordpress.com and please feel free to share it. I just posted my first blog at spellboundscribbler. Come on over and take a look!
Building a relationship is like watching a movie. Opening scenes are where the characters meet and start to learn about each other. This is where conflicts develop. It’s also when they start building trust. The characters have to share some small amount of trust to start overcoming those conflicts. A series of conflicts build tension and resolutions get more difficult to achieve. The more conflicts that are resolved, the more trust builds between characters. In the end, most movies have a Happily Ever After moment where the biggest conflicts are resolved and everyone leaves smiling. So how does this apply to a relationship?
It boils down to suspension of disbelief. This is very important in science fiction and fantasy movies. And let’s face it, some of our relationships look like an alien v. troll remake. The movie has to make sense based on what we know of science for a sci-fi film to keep us interested. As a writer, I know that if I establish a certain amount of gravity that disallows hovering or floating in the first couple scenes, I can’t have somebody floating through their house in the middle of the movie. It’s not possible with the gravity I’ve already shown you. It breaks you out of the story and then you don’t trust me to follow my own rules through the rest of the movie.
If you’ve seen a movie (or maybe several movies) by the same director/writer/producer that has had that effect on you, will you go see any more of their movies? Do you trust them to play straight? If you believe they are just going to continue the pattern, why should you trust them? What about another director/writer/producer who may produce similar movies? Will you trust them to stick to script or will you assume they will break your belief in the story line?
In relationships, once you see a pattern of people who break your trust, you start to doubt people will play nice. You develop a belief that everyone will hurt you, everyone will break your trust. So what happens when you meet someone new? Cue opening music, enter new character. Your initial conflict is already in place because you think this person will hurt you, too. You have a wall of disbelief that the new person has to overcome just to get a passing glance during the opening credits. Let’s assume we make it past the credits and get into a few more scenes. We have more conflicts. You have to suspend your disbelief if the movie is to proceed. The new character has to have a chance to prove themselves worthy of your trust.
The next time you meet someone and the opening credits start rolling, keep an open mind until the new character shows you who they really are. I think the band Saliva said it pretty well:
“…just sit back and relax and let me have your head for a minute. I can show you something in it that has yet to be presented”
What do I look like? Do you have any clue? Ever seen a picture of me, seen me on webcam, or cruised through the pics on my Facebook or MySpace pages? If you only know me from this blog it’s possible you have no idea what I look like.
That’s one of the pitfalls and joys of this cyber life we live. The internet lets us shrink the planet and have “friends” all over the world. But unless you can afford to drive cross-country or take a plane somewhere, what are the odds of actually meeting these people?
Don’t get me wrong. I love my internet friends. I could see most of the contiguous 48 states and at least three other countries if I took a road trip to find and meet them all. It would be one helluva fun trip. But, alas, it’s not very feasible for me to travel to meet everyone. At least not all at once.
So how do you know who you’re talking to? The truth of it is, you don’t. I could be anything at all on my side of this screen. Short, tall, blonde, bald, warted, purple, anorexic, 600 pounds, tattooed, pale, color blind, prosthetic leg, brunette, pudgy, male…. Do you get the point? It’s hard to know someone without meeting them in person.
That brings the next question: how do you build trust over the internet? It takes time, yes. And lots of conversations. Not just emails, but conversations on a messenger site or in a chat room. You have to ask a lot of questions and give a lot of answers. I call it 20 Questions even though I usually ask more like 100 or so. But I do afford most people the benefit of the doubt that they are going to answer honestly.
I’ve said before that you can ask me anything. But you have to be willing to answer the same questions yourself. That means you have to be sure you’re ready to answer before you ask me. I’ve been called The Queen of Brutally Honest. It’s true. I want to know how people tick and how they make decisions and why they do some of the things they do. I won’t ask you a question I’m not willing to answer. Chances are that I’ve already asked myself the question so I can find out what my answer will be.
Just for the record I am female, short, overweight like most of the nation, brunette, hazel eyes, with some tan left from this past summer. If you ask me I’ll tell you that I’m happily divorced, looking to meet new friends, hoping to find a new relationship of the romantic variety.
If we’ve talked online more than a couple of times then I have at least interest in you as a friend, possibly more. By the time we’ve talked a few times each week for a month, I would hope we would be starting to know each other better and have a certain amount of trust between us. Maybe we’ve traded pictures of each other, a major feat if you have some of my pics.
After 2 or 3 months we should be pretty good friends. Trust should be automatic. Even online. I have made a few romantic connections on the internet, met in person. The few I met a second time are now good friends. I think it is possible to find a partner online and to have a healthy relationship. But it takes a lot of communication on both sides of the screen.
At the very least be trusting enough after a month or so of conversation to tell me your last name. I’m not a stalker. To be honest, I don’t have the time to be a stalker even if I was so inclined. I think it would be much more fun to get to know you, plan a meeting for coffee maybe.
So the last question for now: how much do you trust me?