Relationships play a major part in our lives. People need people and trust is an important part in any relationship. The stronger the trust, the stronger the relationship. Here’s how to build trust in any relationship.
People struggle with trust issues to varying degrees and for different reasons. Sometimes something major happens in a relationship that breaks trust. Other times trauma has stolen someone’s innate feeling of safety causing major inherent trust issues.
No matter how you struggle to trust or be trusted there’s hope because trust can be built.
It takes time to build trust in any relationship but it can be built. The feeling of safeness can be achieved between people committed to each other. If we want strong relationships we need to be doing things that build trust.
Here are things you can do to build trust in any relationship.
1. VALUE WHAT THEY VALUE
Because we value a person we need to value, or care about, what’s important to them—even when that thing may or may not be important to us. This action will make them feel valued and that’s what builds the trust.
For example, your friend loves to play softball and you find it boring. Every year they join a league and invite you to come watch. Your response tells them how much you value them by how much you value what they love. Showing up and cheering them on, especially if they know you don’t like softball—shows them their value in your eyes.
2. PAY ATTENTION
Little things mean a lot. We hear this but forget it. Paying attention to how we communicate by being kind, courteous, and showing respect is important. This can stand out in a simple thing such as our tone of voice.
When you remember major dates like anniversaries and birthdays it says you’re paying attention. But when you remember more obscure ones that are important to them, it matters even more.
For example, your friend lost their dad last year and Father’s Day is on the horizon. It’ll be their first one without their dad so you let them know you’re aware this is happening and offer your support in whatever way they need.
When the people we love stop paying attention, trust begins to slip away and hurt starts seeping in. —Brené Brown
3. HONOR THEM
Respecting someone’s time and keeping your word are two big ways that show honor. Another is following through on a commitment. It’s wise to be slow to make a promise. We honor the other person and ourselves when we take time to consider before making a decision or commitment. Broken promises and failure to follow through break trust in any relationship.
Other ways of honoring others are to show up when you’ve sent a yes RSVP, sending the RSVP in the first place, saying no when you need to, and accepting the other person’s no.
4. HAVE INTEGRITY
When who you are doesn’t change with who you’re with it shows integrity. Acting like a friend to someone’s face but talking behind their back demonstrates duplicity. When you have integrity you honour the truth in your behaviour.
For example, keeping a trusted secret or defending someone who isn’t there to defend themselves.
One of the most important ways to manifest integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present. In doing so, we build the trust of those who are present. —Stephen Covey
5. PROPER COMMUNICATION
When communication is done properly it breeds understanding. This is done using active listening by both parties. Asking questions is also an important part to make sure you’re both on the same page. Clarify what you expect or what is expected of you.
For example, before our daughter got married she asked to move back into our house to save money. Prior to allowing this we sat down with her and her fiancé and discussed expectations and needs. Everyone had a voice and we discussed details. Because everyone had a say and knew what was expected of them, things went very well.
6. BE VULNERABLE
Be honest about your feelings. Don’t hide. Sharing of yourself demonstrates you’re trusting them. It’s easier to trust someone who trusts you. This takes courage but is a primary way to build trust in any relationship.
For example, your spouse has been working late a lot. At first, it didn’t bother you but now you’re feeling differently. Last they knew, it didn’t bother you and they’re raking in the overtime. Being vulnerable here would be sharing your feelings and letting them share theirs—talking it out.
We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy. —Walter Anderson
7. CHECK YOUR PERSPECTIVE
All we know is how we see. I see differently than you and vice versa. When a difficulty arises give the benefit of the doubt. Ask questions. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding. Look at problems as an opportunity to build instead of a reason to pull away.
Gaining the advantage of the other person’s perspective not only builds the relationship, it enlarges our world.
8. EXPRESS GRATITUDE
Nothing wears slowly on a relationship like taking it for granted. Expressing appreciation for the relationship and for things they do or say builds it up.
For example, a simple sentence from the heart like I’m so glad we spent time together today. Or another example is I haven’t seen you in a while and I miss you.
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. —William Arthur Ward
9. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
The responsibility I’m referring to here is when something goes wrong. Be willing to take responsibility when you screw up. Everyone screws up. Be sincere in your apology. This includes taking steps to not repeat the offense.
People can tell if an apology is genuine or self-serving. If they don’t respond with forgiveness either the apology wasn’t sincere and didn’t take the responsibility, or the offense has been repeated too many times.
10. GIVE GRACE
Nobody’s perfect. We have good days and bad days. We all make mistakes and screw up. If we’re not perfect then there is no perfect relationship. Grace is a powerful tool to help us in our humanity.
Be forgiving when others make mistakes because you want them to be that way with you. This doesn’t mean you let people take advantage of you (remember the previous section on responsibility).
Giving grace is easier when the trust level is high.