At a young age, we quickly learn to recognize lies. Someone may have kept their promise, or their parents threatened to fulfill their promise but failed to follow through. We then subconsciously build a wall around our emotions. This form of self-defense has evolved to help us survive, which is why almost all of us can see the ‘famous weeping wolf’ (Bonior, 2018).
As we get older, we learn to distrust dishonest people, which helps us adjust our expectations and actions and protect ourselves again from disappointment.
On the flip side, trust is a determining factor in relationships, friendships, and marriages. Relationships would literally collapse in the midst of these defense mechanisms we have developed over the years. It is then vital to readjust these setups for a more healthy relationship.
Well, I can confidently tell you that at the end of this post, you should be fully equipped with the right amount of information to ensure your relationship thrives in the midst of uncertainties.
Without further ado, let’s dive in…
How to Build Trust in a Relationship
Follow through with Your Actions
The whole point of building trust in the first place is to make your partner believe what you say. You literally want to remove any doubts from their minds when you comment on any issue.
Achieving this feat on the flipside isn’t just centered on fulfilling the promises you make, it also hangs on ensuring you do not make promises you cannot keep in the first place.
Consequently, keeping to your word sets a standard you want to preserve in the relationship. Automatically your partner would want to ensure they reciprocate, which often plays a larger role in the trust process.
Be Emotionally Vulnerable
This goes against our better judgment when trying to safeguard ourselves from being let down again. However, it is a major prerequisite for building trust.
Basically, building trust means you would need to open yourself up to the danger of getting hurt. Opening yourself up should include;
“revealing things that scare you or exposing aspects of your life you do not consider attractive.”
You literally weaponize them with the pieces of information that may hurt you but hope they do not.
Sounds like a very shitty tip to give, but hey, it’s the price you’ll have to pay to genuinely build trust.
Always Remind yourself that it takes time to build and earn trust
One of the most important aspects of building trust is first realizing that virtually every individual out there, including your partner, has been victims of broken trust. So, it’s almost impossible to earn or build trust in the shortest time possible.
Building trust demands daily commitment. It means that it is pretty important that you
do not make the mistake of expecting too much too soon
However, what you can do is take small steps on little commitments and as it grows, it will be easier to hit the big leagues. Just work on it gradually and give it time.
Think before Acting
Half the time, we get ourselves into difficult situations by agreeing to make commitments just to make our partners happy, even when it inconveniences us.
Yea, making sacrifices are a huge part of building a relationship but agreeing to make commitments you can’t follow through on is even worse.
You just need to realize that it is okay to say “no” on some occasions, knowing fully well that the other commitments you’ve made earlier may prevent you from seeing this through.
So, take time to think before making these decisions. Be crystal clear about what you presently have on your plate. Keep track of commitments that are still pending. This has less to do with being self-absorbed or selfish, and more to do with setting an example to help both partners make better decisions with a clear head.
Always be honest
This is a no-brainer because if the trust were an automobile, honesty is the fuel. It may sound like an over-exaggeration but it’s just impossible to effectively build trust in any relationship on lies.
The idea of lies, no matter how inconsequential, no matter how noble your intentions are, diminishes any hope of trustworthiness.
Furthermore, it is imperative that you do not say things that aren’t a direct reflection of how you feel. People can see through those.
Do not hide your feelings
People tend to trust you more when you are more open about your feelings. To a large extent, it shows that you really care about them and their opinions, which means you are less likely to hurt them. So those walls erected to prevent hurt and betrayal gradually falls apart. They gradually feel safe around you.
This is a basic ingredient for healthy relationships.
However, emotional intelligence is key to making it a reality.
It means acknowledging your feelings, learning the lessons that prevail, and taking productive action.
Acknowledging and appreciating your partner consistently breeds an atmosphere for trust in any relationship. It starts with recognizing their efforts and graduates to appreciating them even for the very insignificant contributions. It also showcases your leadership abilities and team spirit, which fuels trust.
On the flip side, self-promoting simply implies that you effortlessly try to take credit for everything in the relationship. And being selfish means only one thing; You cannot be trusted!
Admit your Mistakes
At least a good percentage of relationships suffer scenarios where their partners hardly admit their mistakes. You see them trying to come up with theories to defend the mistakes they made.
Well, this is only an off-shoot of dishonesty, because not admitting your mistakes means trying to make your look perfect regardless of the issue at hand. If you decide to go down this route, chances are, you may never get off the foundation, let alone attempt to build trust.
Respect plays a prominent role in this building process. According to Andrea Bonior, a clinical psychologist;
One of the most emotionally enduring ways we can be harmed by our partners is if they belittle us or look at us with condescension and contempt.
We see a basic level of trust in the relationship between a customer and a business owner. This comes with a level of respect which means it will be a little difficult to lash out at the slightest provocation.
But this is not usually the case between partners where that level of respect is more important on a higher level. Half the time, we do not take into consideration how significant respect is to those we love or what lack of respect does over time.
Although, we may not necessarily be polite at all times, every time you treat your partner badly, you literally damage the connection you have.
Give them the Benefit of Doubt
Our past experiences subconsciously mold our perception of people in general. These perceptions are usually negative ones.
To some extent, we may be right about them but it’s an entirely wrong move to judge people before they get the chance to prove themselves, especially in relationships. You would be missing out on a chance to really know them and your plans to build trust may never see the light of day.
On the final note, a component that cannot be overlooked is how you express your feelings. Emotional intimacy is built on your ability to constructively express your feelings without shutting down the conversation, attacking your partner verbally, or shouting.
I hope this post was helpful with regards to building trust and a healthy relationship altogether. Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Build Trust in a Relationship FAQs
What is trust in a relationship?
“To trust someone means to put your faith in them because you feel secure with them and know they will not harm or violate you.” According to Romanoff, “trust is the foundation of relationships because it allows you to be vulnerable and open up to the person without having to justify yourself defensively.”
Why is trust important in a relationship?
In relationships, trust is vital because it helps you to be more open and helpful. Because you trust your partner, you are more inclined to forgive their flaws or irritating behaviors because you believe in them and know they have your back.
How long does it take to establish trust in a relationship?
In general, roughly a year, unless there has been a significant amount of time spent together, in which case the time can be decreased to a few months.