Tips for Building Trust in Relationships

Become a reliable and accountable partner

When you think of trust in relationships, you probably think of rebuilding it after an event where trust was questioned and/or lost. Some common reasons why trust becomes an issue in relationships are dishonesty, unreliability, and betrayal.

Let’s focus on building a foundation of trust from the beginning of the relationship. To avoid the pitfalls of the problems listed above, there are four practical, concrete ways to build and maintain trust.

  1. BUILDING DAILY CONFIDENCE

Say what you mean and mean what you say. Your word matters, so it’s important to match actions with words. An example of implementing this is fulfilling commitments. If you say “I’ll be there to help with your move on Saturday” you should make sure you’re there on Saturday. Making promises (especially in new relationships) is extremely easy because you care about the person. But when you make promises you can’t keep, you do MORE harm. Be sure to convey this to your partner. Saying what you mean and making sense of what you say lets your partner know that they can trust your words.

2. CLEARLY SHARE YOUR INTENTION

Having effective and clear communication is essential to maintaining a successful relationship professionally, with friends and family. It is equally important in romantic relationships. Your partner is NOT a mind reader, so state your intentions and state them often. An example of how to implement this: If you want to have movie night on Wednesday, pass it on to your partner. Another example is if you are considering making big changes in your life in the future, let your partner know. Communicating your intentions lets your partner know what you’re thinking so they don’t have to guess, make assumptions, and be caught off guard.

3. ACCEPT YOUR ERRORS

Reliability and accountability are important in all relationships. Your partner wants to know that when you make a mistake, you will admit it! We all do them. Building trust in a relationship means taking responsibility for your mistake, asking how you can make it better, and committing not to make that mistake again (or at least make a plan to limit it).

4. ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH

This may seem so simple, but you’d be surprised how many kind-hearted people lie. Good people lie to avoid conflict, get out of situations, and please the other person. When you’re not honest about the little things (think white lies), it makes it harder for others to trust you when it comes to bigger issues. An alternative to telling a white lie is to give yourself time to think about the problem. “I’m not sure yet, can I get back to you?” or “I’m feeling emotional about this, I’d like to get it to the table and come back when I feel more grounded” are better options than lying. Telling the truth at all times is the first step to building trust in relationships on a daily basis.

BE CONSISTENTLY CONSISTENT

These four practical tips for building trust in everyday relationships will help you start your relationship with a strong foundation. If you are currently in a relationship, I urge you to look at yourself and ask yourself if you have followed these four tips. If not, choose one to actively work on. Practice the tip for two weeks before moving on to the next tip. Building trust is a marathon, not a sprint. Be patient and take your time. Your relationship will be better for it.

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