During a call with a potential client I was asked “how do you trust people?” This couple has a child with a disability; and I got the impression they felt disconnected & isolated, although they knew they had family who would have their back. My answer may surprise many of you, but I had to be honest and say “I can’t, I’m still struggling with this”.
Don’t read too much into this, I did not (and do not) mean people are inherently untrustworthy. I believe quite the opposite – most people want to help and will do what they can. However, and this is where I will admit to bias and potential error in judgment; I believe first and foremost people will look out for themselves – and, in my opinion, rightfully so.
So I struggle with relying on anyone I do not have a contractual agreement with, especially if I am not paying them. Again, not because I think people are mean-spirited or liars; but I believe we ALL prioritize. And frankly, if you are being paid (or have paid for something) there is a deeper level of commitment than if you are doing a favor – whether it’s for family or not.
I don’t have solutions for this, it’s a struggle I’m facing every day. I have had things fall through, and I’ve done my best not to judge the individuals. But I am unwilling to give them a second chance, my son is to important to me – it’d be different if I was just asking for help with my pets (maybe, but as I write this I can feel doubt creeping in).
I’m writing this for the other side, those who don’t have family members with a disability who may be wondering why someone doesn’t go out more, or seems withdrawn. Speaking for myself, I get you want to understand and many have tried to empathize – but it falls flat. I don’t want to hear “I get it” or listen to you drawing a comparison (and I will admit this may be selfishness – I’m a work in progress).
Here’s my thoughts on what to do about this. Make a contract and agree on an amount to pay. This creates skin in the game for all parties, and raises the stakes to be considered if alternatives present themselves. It will also help those, like myself, who have trouble accepting people will do things just because they’re nice (again, I’m a work in progress). I’d love to hear other ideas, trust doesn’t come naturally to me.