The New Johari Window #2: Models of Interpersonal Awareness
I would like to contribute yet another example. This concerns the word “trust.” For some reason, there is only one word in English for the many different forms that “trust” takes in our society. Does this suggest that “trust” isn’t really valued in our society? At the very least, it means that the concept of “trust” can be very confusing to us. I believe that trust is a critical component in any dynamic model of human interaction; hence, I take the distinctions between different forms of trust quite seriously. Trust is the engine of interpersonal relationships. It provides both direction and energy for sustained human interaction. It provides direction by setting the goals for virtually any relationship. It provides energy by providing each member of the relationship with motivation to continue engaging in the relationship.
Most of us hope that our interactions with other people will increase levels of trust—even when we are trying to manipulate another person or are at war with this other person. If nothing else, we want them to be clear about our intentions—even if this means that we intend to do them harm. We rarely want other people to leave us with less clarity regarding our relationship or with less interest in engaging us in future relationships. When trust is considered in relationship to the Johari Window, its direction and energy become even more important and apparent. We will see throughout this series of essays that the dynamics of both disclosure and feedback are profoundly influenced by levels of individual and reciprocal trust. It is important, therefore, that we be clear about what the term “trust” means to us. In doing so, I will propose that this term actually has three different (though related) meanings and that “trust” has a distinctive impact on interpersonal relationships depending on which of these meanings is being engaged.