Simon Sinek on How to Establish Trust When Building Relationships

In Chapter 4 of 23 in his 2013 Capture Your Flag interview, author and public speaker Simon Sinek answers "How Do You Establish Trust When Building Relationships?" To Sinek, trust is a result of something and cannot be given nor formed overnight. He notes the difference between lust and love and why the vulnerability associated with falling with love is synonymous with the vulnerability that comes with the emergence of relationship trust. Simon Sinek teaches leaders and organizations how to inspire people. Sinek is the author of two books, "Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Come Together and Others Don't" and "Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action". He is a public speaker, an adjunct professor at Columbia University and a Brandeis University graduate.


Erik Michielsen: How do you establish trust when building relationships?

Simon Sinek: Trust is the result of something. You can’t tell people “trust me”. Trust cannot be formed overnight, just as you can’t go to one date and decide if you wanna marry someone. You might have lust, but there’s no real trust. The best definition of love I ever heard is that you can give someone the power to destroy you and trust that they won’t use it, and that’s kind of what trust is, is this deep love.

And it comes over time, and it comes from taking lots of little risks, exposing yourself to more danger, making yourself feel more vulnerable, sharing something personal, putting yourself in a position where you have to turn your back and hope somebody won’t stab you or steal your stuff. I mean this is what trust is. It is the result of you making someone feel safe and then making you feel safe, and it’s that dance, and that’s what it is. It can’t be one-sided.

And, again, it’s like dating. It’s like getting to know someone. It’s like making friends that does not happen overnight. And it’s a dance of give and take, give and take, give and take, give and take, and when you feel that that person will make you feel safe, trust will emerge. It’s not an app. It’s not a switch. It’s not something you turn on. It’s something that evolves. You start to feel it, and then, one morning, you wake up, you’re like, “Oh my god, I totally trust that person.” You’re not sure exactly what happened to get you there, but you found yourself there.