Nothing builds more trust in another human being than willingly, faithfully, and consistently showing up.
It’s really that simple: I’ve seen ad hoc groups come together – committees, support groups, or for that matter, bowling partners – and even though the members of the new group were perfect strangers before, within four or sometimes just three meetings a bond has formed, a special sense of oneness, an appreciation for each other as individuals and as a team that no resume, no amount of experience, no personal charm or charisma could ever create. Take the most ordinary people and have them attend the same gathering every week or every month and in no time at all the camaraderie will be palpable.
We just returned from a weekend camping trip we have been attending with the same group for the last eight years. It’s the same time of year, the same campground, same format, and the same few families, with some add-ons here and there, each year. There’s very little program for the weekend other than a big potluck dinner on Saturday night; the rest is just free time to chat, hang out, or recreate together. But here’s the clincher: we have very little contact with these families during the rest of the year. Almost none. Nevertheless, they feel almost as close as family as we have watched our kids grow up, shared parenting stories, counseled each other, and journeyed together each year for this precious 48 hours. They are practically adopted aunts and uncles to my kids.
I hear of folks in their 50s or older who have continued meeting with high school buddies or fraternity brothers or fellow Peace Corps volunteers for not years but decades! Not because these colleagues are extraordinary people. But because of . . . well . . . trust. Trust that only time could nurture. Some become closer than family members. That alone makes the commitment worth it.
But it begins with just three to four sessions together. Of just being in attendance. And it’s never too late to start. Just because you have long since lost touch with any and all childhood friends doesn’t mean you can’t have a go at this. Because it’s not the institutional affiliation, the personality match, or the common interest that makes for trust. In the end, it’s just showing up.