Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Building trust

I've been talking about trust lately. Last time, I discussed how I believe one can determine whether he/she is able to place increasing amounts of trust in a potential friend. In this post, I'll share my opinions and insights into how one can build trust with another individual.

Relationships are built on trust, so it is important for us, as individuals, to learn how to build trust with other people.

Honesty is the first element in trust I think about when I hear the word "trust". In order for someone to trust you, you have to be honest with that person. And you have to be honest consistently. It's usually easy to be honest about some things while it's difficult to be honest about others. For instance, your new friend asks you if you like the outfit she's wearing. If you love it, you can easily say something like "I love that outfit on you! It really brings out your eyes". However, if you hate the outfit on your new friend, it might be hard to tell her this because you don't want to hurt her feelings.

It is always best to be honest about your feelings, thoughts, and opinions with other people. This doesn't mean that you should be overly critical of others, demean their thoughts, or invalidate their feelings. You can be honest and tactful. In the example above you could say something like "To be honest, I don't think that outfit suits you. The color doesn't bring out your assets the way I've seen colors do for you".

Another aspect of building trust in relationships is consistency. Call every time you need to cancel or reschedule your plans with a friend. Make being late and/or cancelations infrequent. Don't make your friend guess as to how you will react to similar situations. Along with consistency comes consciensiouness, which should be extended to everyone in your life.

You also need to keep the lines of communication open. Openly share and discuss your feelings, thoughts, opinions, and experiences with one another.

Consistency, honesty, and open communication will allow you and the new person in your life to build a solid relationship on trust.

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