Personal relationships are very crucial in our everyday lives. How you manage your relationships will determine how far you can go in life. If you take a close look at your progress to date, you can connect it to one relationship or the other. It is rather sad how people undermine their personal relationships by not building trust, which is a key ingredient in having sustainable, lasting and rewarding relationships.
Following our post on trust - ‘Why you need to build TRUST in your relationships’ – there has been an incredible response, and one of the dominant questions has been – how do I build trust in my relationship? Although, this topic was earlier planned – the demand has pushed this topic forward on our lists of scheduled articles. Hence, there is no better time than now to present this article.
In this article, as part of our series on TRUST, I will highlight some of the commendable actions that you should consciously take to build trust in your personal relationships. It is not enough to learn these actions, but put them to practice and perform an appraisal from time to time on how well you are engaging with them.
1. Be intentional about building trust
Building trust must be intentional. Although one can still build trust by one’s daily subconscious actions, it is far better to be intentional about building trust in your relationships. By so doing, you’ll be very strategic and purposeful in your engagement with people and how you manage your relationships. Being intentional will also help you to assess your progress.
"Honesty and transparency are very compelling character attributes in building trust."
2. Be trustworthy (yourself)
There is no way that you can build trust without being trustworthy yourself. First, you have to make sure that you make yourself trustworthy (reliable), for example, by not letting people down. Put yourself in the shoes of your friends/partners by becoming what you want to see in them. Maintain a high level of trust and faith with people.
3. Be completely honest and transparent in your relationships
Honesty and transparency are very compelling character attributes in building trust. It is far better, to be honest, and transparent in your relationship than to lie and destroy the trust that you have for one another. You can consciously tell the truth and open up to your partners when discussing. Avoid being deceitful, stop lying, and stop being two-faced.
4. Improve your communication by making sure that you are understood
Communication is not just about talking and listening but being understood is very important too. It is a good idea to check how you are understood from time to time. A simple thing as a misunderstanding resulting from miscommunication can erode or destroy trust. Sometimes you hear people say, ‘oh, I didn’t realize that I was not understood’ or the other way around, when people say, ‘oh, that was not what I meant’. Be very clear in your communication.
5. Don’t be secretive to your partner / very close friends
Avoid hiding information from your partner and very close friends. As earlier mentioned, transparency is the key to building trust. Hence, you want to avoid keeping secrets. Be very open in your dealings with your partner. One way to put check and balances to this is by asking people in your relationships if they consider you to be secretive and why? In the case of a negative answer, please consider talking things through as soon as possible, because this can erode trust.
6. Keep peoples’ ‘secrets’ when you are entrusted with such
Endeavour to keep peoples’ confidential issues or secrets whenever you are entrusted with such. You will not be able to build trust if you cannot keep information confidential as requested by your friend or colleague or partner. No one wants to confide in someone whose mouth leaks like a kaput tap. The same way you will not like your little secrets to be announced on the rooftops – keep your mouth zipped (when necessary). If not, it will be highly difficult for people in your relationships to trust you, let alone to confide in you again.
7. Be there for your friends when needed
Be there for people, especially your friends when they need you. By so doing, your friends or partners can build trust in your relationship with them. In some relationships, trust is eroded because people cannot trust one another to stand in for them or to be there for them when needed.
Also, don’t take other people’s commitment to you for granted. Acknowledge and appreciate the fact that it is a difficult thing to make out time and be there for people, especially nowadays. Value such commitments and build trust in your relationship with such people.
8. Minimize unnecessary gossips and backstabbing
I am not sure how many people will keep good personal relationships with people that gossip and backstab at will. I would suggest that to build trust in your relationships, avoid unnecessary gossiping and backstabbing at all cost.
9. Stop being apologetic and diplomatic in saying your mind
I’ll rather prefer someone who is very open in saying his/her mind to me than accommodate people who are always apologetic and diplomatic during discussions. Let people know you as that fellow that is always real and not the one that garnishes his/her thoughts to the
extent of compromising the truth. When and where there is truth, there is trust – can you now see why politicians are hardly trusted in our society. Tell the truth despite whose ox gets gored.
10. Keep to your words – say what you mean and mean what you say
Being a person of your word is an essential character that you need to develop in order to build trust in your relationships. Be the man/woman of your words, i.e. say what you mean and at the same time, mean what you say. Don’t double-talk. Always maintain integrity in every statement that comes out of your mouth.
11. Don’t jump into conclusions – hear people out and judge the intent
During conversations or discussions in your relationships, don’t jump into conclusions or better still, don’t draw hasty conclusions. Whenever you hear anything about anybody or something, try to hear people out and judge the intent of every statement. You’ll be surprised how much hasty conclusions can destroy trust in relationships.
12. Avoid working with speculation or suspicion in your personal relationships
Avoid working with speculations and suspicion in your personal relationships. For example, when you hear or see anything, always find out from ‘the source’. Don’t hear from the third party and make a decision out of such. Build trust in your personal relationships; this, in turn, will help you in situations that you need to sift what is real or not. Some relationships are just on the verge of survival because of suspicion or speculation.
"Although one can still build trust by one’s daily subconscious actions, it is far better to be intentional about building trust in your relationships."
13. Learn to trust your friends/partner
Building trust is bilateral; hence, you should also learn to trust your friends or partner. Don’t expect one party to trust the other and not vice versa. When you trust someone, and you also know that you are trusted, the relationship will be stronger.
14. Avoid infidelity in your relationships
There are different types of personal relationships but if we specifically consider marriage or partnership, maintain fidelity in your relationship. Infidelity or affairs can outrightly destroy relationships as fast as the act is done. When an affair or cheating is registered, the trust will be inevitably destroyed. Hence, avoid cheating in your marital relationship as a plague.
15. Resolve misunderstanding as soon as possible, especially at any instance where trust is tempered with
As soon as possible, resolve all misunderstandings in your relationship. This, on its own, can enhance trust in your personal relationship. It will not give room for doubt and for doubting the trust that exists between you/your friend or partner.
Turn these nuggets into appraisal questions, ask yourself, partner, friends, and others the level of trust that exists amongst you. Start today to work towards building trust in your personal relationships. While doing that, please watch out for a future post on ‘How to build trust in your professional relationships’.
Dazzling Insights will be happy for you to share insights on other ways that trust has helped your relationships in the comment section. Let’s dazzle together as we intentionally build trust in our relationships.