Trust: How to Build and Maintain Trust in All Your Relationships

Trust is important in all relationships because it gives a feeling of acceptance to all parties and they feel that they are accepted and appreciated as they are.

Trust: How to Build and Maintain Trust in All Your Relationships
Photo by Milan Popovic / Unsplash

A heavy word in itself, trust is the foundation of all relationships. It’s very hard to build but easy to destroy and trust is something that we all need to relate to others, and even with ourselves. I wonder, what if I never trusted myself to start a blog or that I would push it all along? Would I have built something or anything? Even more, what if you, my reader, didn’t trust me enough to keep checking on it and reading new content? Would I have been said to have succeeded? Probably not.

Why is Trust Important in a Relationship?

Trust is important in all relationships because it gives a feeling of acceptance to all parties and they feel that they are accepted and appreciated as they are. Trust also gives the assurance that each party in the relationship will hold up their end of the deal and won’t go back on the word. Ultimately, though, trust gives individuals the feeling that someone has your back and no matter what happens, they will be there for you.

Acquiring Trust

Trust is a big word. It’s one of those 4-5 letter words that say so much. Let’s start in the beginning; acquiring trust. In terms of relationships, acquiring trust is very much a process. Someone gives you their trust when they see that you can be trusted to be a good person and do what is needed of you. It’s the same with some careers like the armed services where the government trusts that you will execute your mandate per instructions and represent it and its will on the battlefield.

Being Trustworthy

Now that someone has given you their trust, you now have to maintain it and the best way to do this is by being trustworthy. You become trustworthy by keeping your word and your promise to do right by others, and do what is expected of you. You act like a runner with the Olympics torch and you run while doing all that is possible to keep the flame, trust in this case, alive. Therefore, being trustworthy entails understanding that you have a responsibility to keep your words and promises and deliver on what it is that is expected from you.

What Happens when you Break Someone’s Trust?

The worst-case scenario is when you break someone’s trust. Think of the military analogy. If you showed the government that you can’t be trusted, do you think they would ever trust you again with a mandate? The answer is no. When you break someone’s trust you automatically ruin the relationship or at least rip off its foundations for life. As such, when someone gives you their trust, it is the most precious gift of any relationship and you should try to move heaven and earth to keep it and be trustworthy.

What if You Break Someone’s Trust Unintentionally?

If you have broken someone’s trust unintentionally or due to unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances, please try and explain that to them. As much as the relationship may be on its deathbed, try and give all the information leading up to why you had to go back on your word, and probably that will help the other person understand where you are coming from. As much as this doesn’t salvage the trust or relationship, at least the person has a full view of your situation and circumstances and a cause for considering whether they may choose to trust you again in the future. Even so, when trust is broken, it can seldom be mended. It works as per the broken plate analogy.

The Broken Plate Analogy

The broken plate analogy states that the more a plate is broken, the harder it is to fix. i.e if you break a plate once, you can fix it easier than if you broke it over and over again to the point where it may even be unfixable as the broken pieces will be too many to put back together. This analogy is perfect for trust where trust is the plate and the more you break it, the less fixable it is. Therefore, if you break someone’s trust once, do everything you can to never break it again as after the first break the plate is already weakened and likely to break again easily.

Ways to Fortify Trust in Interpersonal Relationships

Avoiding Overpromising to ensure Trustworthiness

One of the biggest mistakes we make in relationships is to overpromise. When you overpromise, you give the impression that you can be trusted to do more than you can actually deliver on. It’s like telling the government as a military man that you can single-handedly bring down a village of bad guys while knowing very well that you can’t.

When you overpromise you build very high expectations that will likely lead to disappointment when you fail to achieve what you promised that you would. Consequently, the one who has put their trust in you may feel taken advantage of or like their trust has been taken for granted.

Manage Expectations

Instead of overpromising, it’s better to manage expectations and even underpromise. This way, when you go beyond what you promised, the other person will be pleasantly surprised and will feel proud and happy that they trusted you. It’s like single-handedly tearing down an enemy base as a military man when you had said that you could only bring down a tent or two. By managing expectations and overdelivering, then you build on trust and may even be rewarded with more trust on top of an actual reward or gift.

Be Honest

The best way to build and maintain trust is by being honest. When you’re honest and truthful, you set the pace for the relationship and encourage the other party to also be honest and not overpromise. You also remove any doubt from your mind or the mind of the other person that either of you may be lying and breaking each other’s trust.

Building and Maintaining Trust by Being Honest

In truth, when you’re dishonest and/or hiding something, the other person feels uneasy and will probably start having doubts about you and whether you can be trusted. The beautiful thing is, however, that when you’re honest and truthful, they somehow know that you are telling the truth and feel happy and proud that they trusted you in the first place. Being honest also encourages them to be honest with you and helps build trust and trustworthiness for both parties, further strengthening the relationship and its foundations.