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On the train ride home today, I thought about a lesson the girl who I’m in love with has taught me. In the beginning of our relationship, I had gotten mad at her for seemingly not being open. I’d divulged some of my most embarrassing secrets, and felt that she had not responded in kind.

However, as we argued, she brought up the point that the type of trust I’d displayed was “merchant trust”. I’d divulged information with the expectation of getting information of equal privacy back. However, in order for the relationship to build real closeness and trust, we really needed to express ourselves to each other without expecting anything in return, which demonstrates real trust.

I realized that telling people your private things shows that them is one of the best ways of showing that you trust them. It’s this trust that builds the closeness between people.

Today, I suddenly connected this concept with the Howard Stern show. For those who don’t know, it’s basically a radio show where this person, Howard Stern, divulges his life without any filters. Nothing is shielded from his listeners and his entire private life is out in the open.

I remember the first time I’d seen his movie Private Parts – I’d thought he was a guy overly obsessed with sex and other superficial things. Yet, his show is wildly popular!

With this new insight, his success makes perfect sense to me now. By divulging his entire life to all of his listeners, he is basically saying to them “I trust all of you” with my most private thoughts. When people feel that this man is being genuine and trust them, they start to trust him. They may not approve of what he does or what he thinks, but they trust that he means what he says when he says it. They know that he is not trying to screw them over and that his interest isn’t just in making money.

While I don’t think Howard Stern is a great role model, in this particular case, he seems like a shining example of how trusting your fellow human beings resulted in great success.

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