When you think of trust in a relationship, you probably think of rebuilding trust after an instance where trust was questioned or lost. Some common reasons why trust becomes a problem in relationships are unreliability, dishonesty, and betrayal.
It is best to focus on building a foundation of trust from the beginning of the relationship. To avoid the pitfalls of the problems listed above, here are five practical and concrete ways to build and maintain trust.
Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
Your word is crucial, so it is essential to match actions with words. An example of practising this is honoring commitments. If you told someone you would help them move on Sunday; you should definitely be there on Sunday. It is easy to promise the whole world ( particularly in a relatively new relationship) because you care about the person. But you do MORE damage by making promises you can’t keep. Just make sure to inform your partner. Saying what you mean and, at the same time, meaning what you say lets your partner know they can trust what you say.
Communicate Your Intentions Clearly
Having effective and clear communication is vital in maintaining a successful relationship professionally and with friends and family. It is just as crucial in romantic relationships. Your partner is NOT a mindreader, so express your intentions and express them often. An example of practising this: if you want to have a movie night on Tuesday, tell your partner. Another example: if you are considering a major life change in the future, let your partner know (you don’t necessarily have to ask permission). Communicating your intentions will keep your partner informed of your thoughts, so they don’t have to make assumptions, guess and then, get caught off guard.
Admit Your Mistakes
Accountability and reliability are essential in all relationships. Your partner wants to see you admit when you have made a mistake. We all make them. Building trust in a relationship means manning up and taking responsibility for your mistake, asking how you can fix it and making a commitment that you will not make that particular mistake again (or at least make a plan to limit that specific mistake).
Value the Relationships That You Have
Trust often comes from continuity. We often trust people most when they are consistently there for us in good times and bad ones. Showing someone you are there for them regularly is an effective way to build trust.
Always Tell the Truth
This might seem like a given, but you would be shocked by how many well-intentioned people lie. Good-hearted people lie to avoid confrontations, get out of situations, and please the people in front of them. If you’re dishonest about small things (think of white lies), it’s hard for others to trust you in more significant matters. “I’m not sure yet, can I come back to you?” or “I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’d like to forget it and come back when I feel more grounded” are better choices than lying. Always telling the truth is the first step in establishing everyday trust in relationships.
Be Consistently Consistent
These five practical tips to building trust in everyday relationships will help start your relationship off with a strong foundation. If you are in a relationship now, it is essential to look inward and ask yourself if you practice these five tips. If you are not, pick one to work on actively. Practice each tip for two weeks before moving on to the next one. Gaining trust is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time and be patient. Your relationship will improve with it.
Let us know in the comments how you build trust in your relationship.