As I mentioned in a previous article, science proves having healthy relationships gives our life happiness and is good for our health. Making and keeping quality friends as an adult can be challenging, but it is possible, and it’s something that you should strive to do if you currently need solid and honest relationships. Every relationship is like a bridge connecting you to another person, so it stands to reason that this bridge has to be strong to survive the test of time.
All bridges have one thing in common: a strong foundation that allows them to withstand so much weight and pressure daily and keeps them standing through the sunny days and the dark and stormy ones. Relationships also need a strong foundation to weather life’s ups and downs. Trust is the key to a strong foundation for an honest and long-lasting relationship.
Without trust, you can’t have friendship, love, or meaningful connections with others. When trust is present, love and caring are also present, as well as the incentive to do things for others. People will do almost anything asked of them if they trust that person and know they care deeply about them. I thought it would be helpful to list eight things you can do to make you more trustworthy and lead to deeper and more meaningful relationships with those you care about.
Stay In Touch With Friends
You can’t develop trust with someone you hardly ever communicate with. Regularly keeping in touch with someone allows you to keep up with everything happening in that person’s life. You’ll know when they’re going through good or bad times and learn how they handle different situations. It also shows them you care about them and everything important to them. There’s no shortage of ways to communicate with people you care about.
Meeting up face-to-face is an oldie but a goodie because it relays human emotion so well, but it isn’t always possible if you lead a busy life. Keeping in touch on social media, texting, emailing, and by phone are all great substitutes when in-person meetings can’t happen. Mix it up if you need to; just ensure you stay consistent and reach out regularly. When you show someone you care, trust flourishes.
Always Be Your Authentic Self
Authentic people always share their heartfelt feelings and emotions instead of hiding them away or changing them to fit in. They know they’re not flawless and that life isn’t perfect, and they’re open and honest about showing their imperfections. They do this because they know they’re not alone and everyone has flaws. Authentic people don’t try to pretend they don’t have unpleasant thoughts or qualities and don’t hate themselves for having them.
They know that being honest about their actual life helps others not feel pressured to feel perfect. They’re more relatable and trustworthy because they accept themselves and others for who they are without judgment. Authentic people say what they mean and mean what they say. They stay true to their morals and principles even when others are having difficulty doing so. What they DON’T do is constantly talk about themselves, push their ideas onto other people, or try to change others.
Offer Help When Possible
Helping people makes you happier and is a great way to show others they can trust you. Even the smallest actions can significantly affect how people regard you. Some examples are bringing a friend a cup of coffee, helping them fix something, or offering to run an errand when they’re busy. Offering to help whenever needed and is possible for you inspire trust. You don’t have to do unpleasant or uncomfortable things, though, and you must ensure you don’t lose yourself in helping others.
Be An Honest Person
Being honest is similar to being authentic but a little different. Sometimes it’s easy to think that as long as you’re honest MOST of the time, it’s okay to give a little white lie now and then. The truth is, it’s not okay. Even little half-truths and seemingly harmless lies add up and can hurt your reputation in the long run. Being honest means saying the truth, no matter how it might affect you, and representing yourself genuinely, clearly, and directly.
Not hiding your true feelings in the shadows, hoping people will never find out what you really mean. Telling the truth isn’t the easiest thing to do for some reason. It’s human nature to hide the truth for selfish reasons, but that’s why most humans don’t trust each other. It should be different with your friends- you should be able to tell them anything and everything, no matter what, without worrying they’ll stop being your friend.
If they’re a true friend, they’ll be able to understand the situation without automatically writing you off. Liars might get away with things for a while, but the truth almost always comes out and has worse consequences than just having told the truth would have had. When your friends realize that you’re always honest with them, you’ll prove to be a valuable and indispensable friend in their life who they can trust no matter what.
Keep Your Promises
It’s become somewhat acceptable in our society to break commitments and not keep our word. It’s less taboo to ditch plans you agreed to or tasks you signed up for simply because you just didn’t feel like doing it anymore. Living in a time where this happens more often doesn’t mean it’s harmless or make it okay.
People who make it a point to stay true to their word become known as trustworthy, and they develop a reputation for being good, reliable people. It’s easy to get ambitious or overly excited and sign up for something without knowing if you’ll actually do it. You want to please, and it’s instinctual to say yes, but this is where developing and improving self-control is essential.
Growing spiritually and genuinely knowing yourself can keep you from making commitments or agreeing to things you don’t plan on going through with. It’s easy to over-promise things if you’re trying to impress someone or make someone like you, but then real life catches up to you, and you cancel at the last minute. Introspecting and being self-aware can help you identify these patterns and behaviors.
Once you know them, you can train yourself to stop and think about things before committing to them. It helps you know which things you’ll likely go through with and which you won’t be able to do. That makes you live up to your promises instead of being known as someone who “doesn’t do what they say.” It’s almost impossible to trust someone who constantly cancels things they agree to.
Show Your Friends You Appreciate Them
It’s human nature to want to be thanked and appreciated for our actions. If you help a friend move into their new home, you want them to say thank you, and you want to know that they do appreciate you, right? The same goes for those who help you. FEELING grateful and appreciative for what they did for you isn’t enough- you have to EXPRESS it, or they might not know how you feel.
Telling people exactly what you appreciate and value about them, how grateful you are for their help, etc., encourages them to keep doing what makes them awesome people. It can make you closer because you’re honest with your feelings and create a deeper bond. It also encourages them to show appreciation for the people in their life.
Being empathetic means feeling someone else’s pain deep in your heart as if it were your own. You don’t have to experience the same situation or circumstances as someone else to feel empathy for them; you only need to see things from their perspective and be as understanding as possible. Try to put yourself in their shoes.
Think how you would feel if faced with the same problem. I know this isn’t always the easiest thing to do because we’re so absorbed in our own lives that it’s hard to pause and take on someone else’s issues. It is, however, a worthy thing to do. The key to being empathetic is to avoid minimizing or judging the other person’s feelings and emotions.
Even if the problem they’re struggling with seems small and trivial to you, try to see it as they do and think of a time when you were struggling with something. What helped you or would have helped you in your time of need? Empathizing with someone else makes them feel accepted and understood, and it also creates trust between you and makes them more likely to show empathy to others.
Learn To Apologize And Forgive
For some, saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t come naturally. Sometimes you don’t feel like you did anything wrong or believe you were justified in your actions and would rather not apologize. However, saying those two little words can significantly impact how much people trust and believe in you. They also can change a person’s whole mood or day when told to them. They prove that you value their friendship and presence in your life, and they can heal hurt feelings and relationships.
Apologizing makes you more trustworthy because it shows the other person that you’re willing to put your ego aside for the relationship’s good. Of course, don’t apologize for things you didn’t do or weren’t your fault. However, if you know you messed up, don’t be afraid to admit it. Equally as crucial as apologizing is learning to forgive others.
Forgiveness is important because holding onto anger hurts you more in the long run and limits your spiritual growth. Whether someone apologizes or hasn’t spoken to you since the wrongdoing, forgiving lifts a huge weight off. Every conversation you strike up, every time you’re authentic, each time you help someone, every time you tell the truth, all the promises you keep, every time you show gratitude, and each time you apologize, you become a more trustworthy friend.
Imagine that each of these actions is a leafy branch on a tree. It provides shade and comfort to the people in your life and fosters your relationships. These positive and strong relationships create health and happiness in your life.