How To Build Trust In A Relationship

communication relationships tips trust Jan 07, 2022

Do you find yourself to be a trusting person? The key to any healthy relationship is trust. Whether we're talking about romantic relationships, friendly relationships, or professional relationships, all relationships need trust.  

We all know that building that foundation of trust can be difficult. It's hard to know where to start, especially if we grew up in a toxic environment. If we never experienced that strong level of trust in childhood, chances are we have difficulty earning, keeping, and giving trust. 

When we first enter a relationship, there are several things that we can do to begin building that foundation of trust. Trust in relationships helps in reducing and navigating conflict, as well as increasing positive experiences. Trust takes time and starts off as small steps. 

First, make sure that you are communicating honestly and effectively. You want to be clear about what you can and can't do and say no if necessary. When we are in relationships, especially new relationships, we have this need to please and say yes to everything that’s asked. Taking on too much can backfire, however. Trust is easier to break than it is to gain. Make your decisions and your commitments wisely so you can honor them. Don't make promises that you can't or won't keep.

Next, you will want to participate. Trust is a two-way street; To get trust, you have to give it. You need to open yourself up and show that vulnerability so they can have the opportunity to show you that they won’t hurt you or take advantage. If you can show your real and vulnerable self, that opens the opportunity for them to do the same. Communicating and giving feedback is important to show what you are asking and how they can help. Tell the truth, even if it is uncomfortable.

Then, you want to be genuine. You can have all the best intentions in the world, but if you are fake or showing a masked version of yourself, it will be harder for people to trust you because they don't know the REAL you. Even as children, we can sometimes get that gut feeling that someone is not being real with us. Building trust means that you need to take the risk of opening yourself up. To show your fears, your embarrassment and vulnerabilities, and trusting that the other person won't hurt you. Show authentic kindness and feelings.

Though building trust takes time and work, destroying trust can happen fairly quickly and easily. One of the biggest ways that can emotionally break our trust is by belittling someone. When we are condescending or talk to someone with content and a "lesser-than" attitude, it can have a severe impact on any established trust. Other ways that we can sabotage trust is by:

  • Refusing to take accountability for problems. This could be refusing to apologize, blaming other people, and showing no remorse.
  • Betrayal. Betrayal can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This can be cheating, lying, secrecy, and so on. Essentially this is going against the behavior or the mask that the person was originally showing.  
  • Being judgmental. When someone is opening themselves up to us, it’s important to remember that they are trusting us. They are showing us a raw portion of themselves and need understanding.
  • Flaking on your commitments, even if it's not to them. If you make a commitment and never follow through, other people will see that. They can apply how you treat other people as a way that you will potentially treat them.

It is also important to note that the more emotionally intimate the relationship is, the more important it is to show that you care and are aware of how you treat them. Sometimes we have to give the other person the benefit of the doubt and put aside our worries. For a lot of people, this can be the most difficult part. If we have been hurt in the past or working to rebuild broken trust with a specific person, giving them the chance to potentially hurt us again can be extremely hard. If you are rebuilding trust, don't push all your doubts and worries away immediately, trust takes time. You don't need to push every concern out of your mind, but if you want to rebuild that relationship, you will need to slowly begin giving them more chances to prove they deserve your trust again. 

When there is a lack of trust in a relationship, it can affect someones mental health. A lack of trust can lead to feelings of insecurity, always wondering if your partner is lying to you or if they are going to betray your confidence. This, in turn, can lead to higher levels of depression and anxiety. We can also begin to withdraw from our partner when we feel a lack of trust, both physically and emotionally. 

This is why it is so important to build and keep trust when in relationships because it can deeply affect your mental health. It is easier for us to live more openly, honestly, and authentically when we have trust in our relationships.