9 Steps to Building Trust in Interpersonal Relationships

Trust is built over time. When we think about building trust, we might think about building trust with our significant other. But how can we also build trust in adult friendships, at the workplace, or with other family members?Trust is the foundation of all relationships – whether that relationship is between family or friends. When both sides of each relationship have trust, people are more open and likely to spend more time with each other.Having trust in someone means you trust that you can go to the other person or you trust that you can rely on them.

A lack of trust might exist because one person isn’t consistent, or someone has hurt the other in the past.

Whether you’re building a new relationship or rebuilding a relationship with broken trust, you can start the process of building trust with these 9 tips:

  1. Keep agreements and promises. When you keep your promises, you show the other person that they can depend on you. This is a key foundation of trust. If an agreement or promise is broken, there should always be an open line of communication explaining why, although, be careful that you’re not making an excuse for breaking trust.
  2. Listen without judgment. Create an environment where the people around you feel heard. Instead of judging someone for what they share with you, try to understand where they’re coming from and what they’re feeling. Find a way to show them you are engaged and present. 
  3. Ask what you can do to support them. When someone shares something difficult that they’re going through, it’s hard for us to know exactly how to support them. Open the line of communication and ask how you can support the people around you.
  4. Give praise when it’s due. Complimenting others is an incredible way to build trust when it’s authentic. Not only does a genuine compliment make the other person feel good, but you’ll also feel good when you see another person smile. When you give genuine praise, you can build trust and appreciation with others. For example:
  • “I appreciate how positive you are.”
  • “Thank you for being so thoughtful.”
  • “That’s such a smart way to look at things.”5. Be consistent. It’s easy to make excuses or reschedule plans for another day. One of the easiest ways to build trust is to be consistent. Show people that you care about them by being someone who they can consistently count on as a person of their word.6. Avoid gossip and negativity. One way to ruin trust is to gossip or talk negatively about others behind their back. People might start to wonder what you will say when their backs are turned. Instead of gossiping about someone, practice being upfront about them instead.

    7. Pay attention to your nonverbal communication. A growing amount of research shows that closed body language, such as crossed arms, can turn people away.

  • Simple body language changes, such as making eye contact or opening your body language, can indicate to people that you’re open, trustworthy, and welcoming.8. Share. Be curious about those around you and be willing to open yourself up as well. Trust will naturally build as people feel like they know you better.9. Be compassionate. Be compassionate about how others may feel. Check-in with how they’re feeling. If you’re rebuilding trust, apologize sincerely and find a way to come to a resolution together.

Getting closer to others helps us feel more connected. Feeling connected to the people around us strengthens our well-being and rewards us with knowing that we can trust someone else. These exercises are a great start to building trust and will help you feel connected and fulfilled with the people around you.

Dr. Debi, Founder, and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute

 

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