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  • Writer's pictureJason Kiesau

To Be Better, We Need to Think Bigger

To Be Better, We Need to Think Bigger

I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth repeating.

We develop relationships with others in four phases. Our security and comfort level in each phase will determine our desire to continue developing a relationship, our level of trust and openness. The more secure we feel, the more comfortable we are, the more trust we will have and open we will be.

The four phases:

- IMAGE: How someone looks (and all of our biases associated with how someone looks)

- PRESENTATION: How someone communicates (verbal and nonverbal)

- COMPETENCE: Whether or not a person is trustworthy

- FEEDBACK: Are people open to feedback and empathetic with feedback while working together


First and foremost, we judge others for how they look; from the color of their skin to the clothes they wear to how they style their hair. If we are comfortable with what we see, we will feel more secure and be more open to developing a relationship. If we are NOT comfortable, this will trigger stress or insecurity, leading to self-protection mode and the relationship will not develop.

I should note, this is the most primitive and immature phase of judgement.


When we are comfortable with how another person looks, we then pay closer attention to their verbal and non-verbal communication; we call this observable behavior. Some examples are…

- Some people show emotional and are relational, some people are more controlled and task oriented - Some people talk faster, some talk slower - Some people are faster paced, some people are slower paced - Some people act quickly, some people prefer to take time and think it through - Some people talk loudly, some people talk softer - Some people are more formal, some people are more casual - Some people make eye contact, some people avoid eye contact

You get the picture.

Depending on your needs and preferences, you are likely to be more comfortable with certain behaviors than others. When you are more comfortable, you’re more open to relationship development. When you’re not comfortable, you’re not; simple as that.

This is also a pretty primitive and immature phase of judgement, but one that a lot of people never get past. And, if someone else’s communication makes you uncomfortable, it’s as much about you as it is them. Both need to learn about each other.


This is the most critical phase and the one we should be paying attention to the most. Are people trustworthy? Do they have integrity? Are they reliable? Can you depend on them? Are they solutions oriented? Are they problem solvers? Are they creative? Are they resourceful?

Can we trust them based on their character and their actions?

This is the phase we should be more concerned about. If people aren’t reliable and don’t have integrity, they don’t deserve our trust, openness and relationship development.


Simply put, once we trust each other, how do we interact productively with each other. Just because you trust someone does not mean your interactions will always be comfortable. Learning about one another with objectivity, empathy and appreciation is key.


How much of the chaos around us… the drama in the news… is based on the primitive judgement of IMAGE and PRESENTATION vs what really matters in relationships like COMPETENCE and FEEDBACK.

Simply relying on human nature will hold us back from developing meaningful relationships with others for the right reasons. To overcome this, we need to learn more and check our judgment.

To be better, we need to think bigger!

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1 Comment

Patty Lam
Patty Lam
Apr 25, 2021

Thanks for the post. Very interesting post. This is my first-time visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog. Keep posting..

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