Trustworthiness Skill #2: Reliability

This week we are here to talk about the R word, “Reliability”. 

Reliability is one of the most straight forward concepts of trustworthiness, but many of my well-intentioned clients struggle with it (I’ll explain why below).

It is the notion that someone does what they say they will, consistently. That they will show up when they say they will. That they won’t be fairweather humans in your life (they are consistent through good and bad times). That they are reliable in how they tell you information — do they over or under exaggerate their explanations or the facts? Reliability is the kid who only misses school when they are ill, the parent who shows up to every game if they promised that they would. The flip side of this is that many people struggle to be reliable when they are perfectionists or over-achievers. This is usually because they have TOO much on their plate to balance them all well, or put so much pressure on themselves to do everything well that the anxiety of perfection causes them to ditch things/prior goals altogether. Good enough is not good enough so, screw it!

Trustworthy humans know their limits and say no to the extra stuff so that they can say “heck yes” and show up consistently for the stuff that truly matters to them. Their egos allow for them to be imperfect and in growing/struggling stages so they can be honest and show up as imperfect people as they are achieving their goals (and paradoxically, more likely to actually make their goals come true even compared to perfectionists with more skills/natural ability). If you identify with the perfectionists or over-achievers, it’s important that you work on this not only for your own sanity and ability to make progress in your life, but also to gain the trust of others. If you see this in a friend, it’s important that you clarify when you struggle to trust them due to their reliability, and how you’d like to support them in this or set friendly (and sometimes I like to add humor to this) boundaries with them. For example, if a friend always struggles to be on time you may share with them that you won’t plan any events with them that rely on them being there or may “invite them at the wrong time” due to their pattern of lateness. It’s totally fair, Bill.

Until next week’s blog, I hope you can say no to the things in your life that are not a priority (like your kid’s school bake sale) and say yes to the things that are really meaningful to you. 

*(Bill is not a real person I am referencing, and bake sales are totally cool… no hate here, just humor).* “

Thank you!

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