Trust Provides “Overdraft” Protection for Your Relationship Bank Accounts

Insufficient FundsInsufficient Funds—Maybe you’ve had that awkward experience when you’ve reviewed your bank account statement and discovered you made a purchase but didn’t actually have enough money in your account to cover it. Most likely you had overdraft protection on your account. That’s where the bank will advance you the money, allow the payment to be processed, but charge you an extra fee for covering your indiscretion. Overdraft protection is valuable insurance, because even though you may not intend to spend money you don’t have, sometimes you overdraw your account by mistake.

Sometimes we overdraw our relational bank accounts too. Careless words that hurt feelings, angry reactions that leave emotional scars, or broken promises that lead to disappointment…all examples of an overdrawn relational bank account.

Fortunately, we have overdraft protection for relationships and it’s called trust. I experienced this overdraft protection last week with a colleague at work. My colleague unintentionally said some things about me that were hurtful and not true, but since we had the overdraft protection of a high level of trust in our relationship, we were able to:

  • Address the issue directly – I confronted my colleague about what she said and was able to honestly share my feelings with the confidence it would lead to productively repairing the situation rather than making it worse.
  • Discuss the issue openly and honestly – Trust allowed us to talk about the issue objectively and without fear of reprisal. Our history of trust had demonstrated we were both committed to the value of the relationship and were willing to discuss the hard issues in a way that was respectful and honoring to each other.
  • Hear each other – It’s one thing to listen, it’s another to actually hear what’s being said. The trust we have in our relationship allowed us to hear one another. My colleague was able to hear how I felt about what she said and I was able to hear about what the intentions were behind her words.

Trust serves many purposes in a relationship. It’s the foundation of all successful, healthy relationships, and it’s also the fuel that powers relationships to higher levels of growth and intimacy. Trust is the lubrication that keeps relationships functioning smoothly, and thankfully, it’s the overdraft protection when relationships get overdrawn.

Leave a comment and feel free to share about your own experiences where trust has provided overdraft protection in your relationships.

9 Comments on “Trust Provides “Overdraft” Protection for Your Relationship Bank Accounts

  1. Trust does allow for people to see us, and us them, through a different lens in most difficult moments that are natural to relationships. Build up that account with debits.

    The more positive interactions we have or the more positive impact ones we have with someone or a group, the more that becomes whom we are to them. If we make a mistake, have a bad moment, and are humble and remorseful, quickly, in response, the more believable we will be received and more grace we will be shown in return.

    Negative assumptions will be temporary or not too strong.

    • You make an excellent point Michael. We enjoy more grace when we goof up if we have a high level of trust with someone.

      Thanks for adding your insights.


  2. Excellent article! The relationship bank account works at home as well, with spouse and kids. It was good that you went to him directly instead of allowing the issue to grow in “rumor world.”

  3. Hi Randy,
    I like this article a lot. To me reliability is a very important factor to build trust and to put the “overdraft tolerance” high. If someone – be in it business or in private life – who is normally reliable forgets to call back or something like this, it is not a problem because I know there is a reason and I will hear as soon as possible. On the other hand I tend to avoid unreliable people.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    • Hello Brigitte,

      Reliability is one of the cornerstones of trustworthiness. Maintaining reliability is like making deposits into the “trust account” of our relationships, and if the trust balance is high, it can withstand the occasional instance of unreliability.

      As always, I appreciate your comments. You have such wonderful insights to share.

      My best,


  4. Reblogged this on Luciano Del Monte and commented:
    I like this article because of the emphasis on ‘overdraft’ in our relationships. Just like we feel horrible when our bank accounts are in to overdraft, so our relationships take a hit when we go into overdraft.
    This article does a great job of reminding us of the need to manage our relational bank accounts wisely.

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