Trust is the most important ingredient in a relationship. Without trust, the relationship doesn’t really mean anything. I mean, think about it… your partner could be telling you that they love you, would do anything for you, but if you don’t trust them, then their statements don’t really mean anything to you. Makes sense right?
So how do you build trust? We’ve compiled our knowledge from the most recent best-selling books and things we have personally found to work best and put together the best ways you can use to build or even rebuild trust in your relationship.
#1 Aligning your values
We often face very stereotypical situations in which lying or simply not telling the truth delays some sort of argument. A typical situation, is a girlfriend getting ready for a night out showing her partner her makeup and dresses. I do believe that many men lie in such situations, for the sake of making their girlfriend happy and avoiding stressful and uncomfortable arguments that, for women, can quickly escalate into the next world war.
The bottom-line is that when we tell those whom we love our honest opinions and thoughts, we give them a chance to make a better person for themselves. Even if they hate hearing it sometimes, being honest is a chance to show your authenticity. Disagreeing with your partner on what dress looks nice and how much make-up they put on, is a reflection of our true values. Being dishonest, causes our values to get muddled up and dominate the others. Dishonesty is highly toxic.
Value honesty over simply ‘feeling good’.
#2 Build a track record
There is a difference between being reliable and being trustworthy. Saying what we’re going to do, makes us reliable. Actually doing what we said we’re going to do, makes us trustworthy, as it shows those around us that our values align with our talk.
It takes three little things to build a trust track record. Consistency, time and patience. And patience is the one where most of us fail. To make us trustworthy we have to consistently do the things we talk about. Doing it once, will not allow a consistent behavioral trend to be seen. Doing it many times, does. And following through with it requires patience.
Nobody trusts a yes-man. For a relationship to be healthy both partners must be willing and be able to say no and also hear a no from each other.
Building a track record also helps to restore trust once it has been violated. Like when having cheated on your partner. Saying ‘it will never happen again’ is probably the least effective response one can give. It shows that the cheaters don’t have the right values required for a healthy relationship. They live by values that simply consume their self-respect. In this respect, re-adjusting our values and then actually showing them to our partner will help restore trust. Slowly though.
“Trust is like a china plate that once it’s broken, it can be glued back together. Yet the more often it breaks, the harder it becomes to glue the pieces back together and the more effort it requires. Eventually, it becomes impossible.”
#3 Drop your ego & show empathy
Highly trusted people, show empathy by consistently making the effort to understand the mental states of those around them. This allows them to find a solution or advice tailored to others needs and address their desires. It evokes a feeling of great care and affection towards a person. The remarkable thing that emerges when we give others what they really want, is trust. We make those who we give what they want, feel safe. From an evolutionary perspective, we instinctively follow those people whom we trust.
A simple example can be provided when considering our relationships towards our parents. The majority of you reading this may have enjoyed a more or less healthy upbringing. I say ‘more or less’ because no parenting in the world is perfect. From the moment we are born we’re basically a lump of flesh that can’t even hold its own head up. We begin to follow our parents because, over time, they have continuously nourished us and helped us survive. Building trust is no different. Caring for others allows feelings of safety and certainty to emerge, which causes those people whom we care for, to follow us. Not because they have to, but because they instinctively trust us.
#4 Hacking into your love chemical
As humans, we like to put a premium onto those who dedicate their time and energy towards us. Here is a simple example to prove my point – imagine inviting your friends over to your place. The next day, one of them sends a quick email thanking you for the invite. Three days later, a beautiful little post-card arrives from another friend in which they thank you for the invite. Which one makes you feel better? Of course, it’s the post-card. Why is this?
The moment you received the post-card you instinctively knew that it took more time and more energy to write and send it off. In these moments, our body secretes the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is also released during other simple acts. Acts like hugging, handshakes, acts of generosity or anything that has to do with dedicating your time and energy to someone for the sake of another person’s well-being. This can be done through time-to-time phone calls or even short visits. Anything that promotes the release of oxytocin helps to build trust. It deeply shows that you care.
Take-home message. Trust takes time to earn, and seconds to destroy. Trust is a true gift. It allows a person to feel safe and get a sense of belonging towards those it trusts. It is, therefore, something that should be treated with great care and valued every single day we have it. If you know people whom you can deeply trust, never lose sight of them. These are the ones, that will always look after you. 🙂