Something I have been trying to make more sense out of is the difference between reliability and trust. Many people may think that it is the same thing, but I beg to differ. I believe that these two concepts, though similar, stand alone in meaning. To me, trust is a matter of truth while reliability is a matter of follow through, and you don’t necessarily need one to have the other.
I personally value both of these skills differently because within my personal context of life, I strive to be trustworthy and am but am very often unreliable. To keep your word, to tell the truth, be honest with yourself and with others is to be trustworthy. To show up, not cancel last minute, keep in communication, etc is to be reliable. I value reliability in communication much more than physical reliability because I understand that circumstances with arise where you may not be able to follow through with plans, but if you communicate that you have done your part.
Communicating consistently allows for a demonstration of respect, loyalty and importance for who ever you are planning with. In my circumstances, I can’t always follow through with plans, and I have come to accept that as a fact. This doesn’t make me happy, I am not forced to stop making plans, but I do have to maintain a realistic self-awareness all the time and communicate that where necessary. Because of this though, I consider myself unreliable. It is the times that my health issues are debilitating, where I have no control over the situation, that I really consider myself unreliable. There is nothing I can do at that moment in time, but that doesn’t change the impact on the people around me and the things I need to do.
On the other hand, I pride myself on being trustworthy. I am a listener by nature, and have always been there to offer an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on and a hug to hold. I don’t give unnecessary advice, I don’t force my opinion on others. I don’t share what you tell me unless it is something that directly involves me and concerns me alone, at which point it is my information and I have a right to share with someone to keep myself sane. I talk to a very few people about the deepest parts of myself, but for the most part, everyone else gets the very surface and no one knows who said what to whom. I’m not a gossiper. I’m not there to pick drama and start a fight. In those actions I consider myself truthful, honest and therefore trustworthy…
But just because you can trust me doesn’t mean you can rely on me being around. I don’t usually run away and hide myself from social contact, though it does happen. I usually get swept up in the busy nature of adult life and time flies before I can’t even cast a second glance. Or more often I will be physically unable to be around, which is usually the cause of my disappearing and being a hermit, but I am up front and honest about that.
Trustworthiness and reliability are two very distinct skills and I honestly think that people need to start recognizing that and acknowledging that difference. It would save a lot of hardship and pain when people have to maneuver the expectations that are bestowed upon you at every turn and stage of life.