Trusting in people does not happen overnight. Putting your trust in someone takes a while to build. Once the trust is established, it’s important to respect it. If not, the amount of time it took to build will only take seconds to crumble.
Often, you are able to rebuild the trust if you and the other person are willing to put in the time. But, in the back of your mind, you will always have doubts. In some cases, you lose trust in someone and decide it is not worth rebuilding. Moreover, you begin to have trust issues with other people.
Not too long ago, I lost trust in a really good friend. She managed to turn the many private conversations we shared into a public display. She promised to be there for me during times of need and never followed through. After accepting excuse after excuse, I realized the trust was one-sided. A similar situation occurred with a couple of family members. The information I would share with them was used against me. They managed to twist my words around. The moment I realized they took advantage of my trust, I decided to keep my distance. Even though I wanted to give it another try, I was unsure on how to go about it.
While attending a retreat on trust, I learned lessons that would have benefited me during those situations. I learned when it comes to rebuilding trust, it takes more than one person. It includes all parties involved in the issue. Sometimes taking a person’s word that he will work at being trustworthy again is not always the answer. There are ways that can help you rebuild trust or create trust with someone new in your life. The important thing to remember is it will take a significant amount of time to build.
Relationships — family, friends, co-workers, marriage or parent and child — should never experience a one-sided trust. Relationships of that degree do not function. Therefore, following these techniques can help build trust in your relationships:
• Eye contact. If you are a shy person as I am, it is normal not to make eye contact. However, being shy is not always the case. People tend to look away because they are unsure of a person’s intentions or because they have something to hide. Therefore, when you are about to open up to someone new in your life or give someone a second chance after a loss of trust, make an attempt to confront the person eye to eye. If the person responds to you by making eye contact as well while maintaining a calm demeanor, then you know there is potential for a trustworthy relationship.
• Get to know each other. Oftentimes teenagers assume their parents do not understand them and cannot be trusted with certain feelings. Instead of shutting down lines of communication, set family day. At this time, ask each other questions such as each others’ likes and dislikes or opinions on certain matters. By opening up to each other, parents and children will learn how to bring down their guards, understand the value of their relationship, and begin to feel confident to trust one another.
• Address the incident. Not everyone intentionally betrays someone’s trust. People make mistakes all the time without realizing what they’ve done. Instead of walking away from the relationship immediately, give the incident some time to simmer down and then speak about what transpired. Depending on how the person responds to the discussion, you will get a sense if he is genuine or not. If the tone is nonchalant or an apology seems insincere, chances are he has no remorse for his actions.
• Keeping your word. We find ourselves in relationships with people who continuously make promises they cannot keep. If we approach them with the issue, they have an excuse each time. But if someone honestly has your best interest at hand, he will keep the promise.
• Speaking from the heart. Opinions and advice from family and friends should come from a good place. When it does, they speak with concern and tenderness and free of judgments. They are careful with your feelings.
• Signs of improvement. If people are legitimate about wanting to change their ways and gain your trust, they will begin to show signs of improvement. Promises will be kept. They’ll be there when you need them. They’ll be honest. They will not repeat the same mistakes, again.
Once you break someone's trust, it will take time to rebuild. And in some cases, it can never be recovered. Trust is a vital component in any relationship and should never be taken for granted.
Mayra Bitsko is a freelance writer, the author of A Second Chance and The Past Beckons and holds a master's degree in business administration-accounting. Contact her at www.mrsmbitsko.com