As I mentioned in a previous article, science tells us that having healthy relationships gives our life happiness and is good for our health. Making and keeping quality friends as an adult isn’t always easy, but it is possible and it’s something that you should strive to do if you feel you don’t currently have strong and honest relationships.
Every relationship is like a bridge that connects you to another person, so it stands to reason that this bridge has to be strong if it is to survive the test of time. All bridges have one thing in common, and that is a strong foundation.
This is what allows them to withstand so much weight and pressure on a daily basis. It keeps them standing through the sunny days as well as the dark and stormy ones. Just like bridges that connect one thing to another, relationships also need a strong foundation to weather life’s ups and downs.
Trust is the key to a strong foundation that provides 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 someone asks of them if they trust that person and know that they care deeply about them. With that being said, I thought it would be helpful to list eight things you can do that will 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. Keeping in touch with someone on a regular basis allows you to keep up with all the things that are happening in their life.
You’ll know when they’re going through good times and bad times, and you’ll learn how they handle different situations they’re faced with. It also shows that person that you care about them and all the things that are important to them.
There’s no shortage of ways to communicate with people you care about these days. 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 talking on the phone are all great substitutes when in-person meetings just can’t happen. Mix it up if you need to, just make sure that you stay consistent and reach out on a regular basis. When you show someone you care about them, it allows the trust between you to flourish.
Always Be Your Authentic Self
An authentic person always shares their heartfelt feelings and emotions instead of hiding them away or changing them to fit in. They know that 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.
They don’t try to pretend they don’t have undesirable thoughts or qualities, and they don’t hate themselves for having them. They know that by being honest about what real life is like, they can help other people not feel pressured to feel perfect.
They are more relatable and trustworthy because they accept themselves and others for who they are without judgement. Being authentic means saying what you mean and meaning what you say. It involves staying true to your morals and principles even when others are having a hard time doing so.
It does not mean constantly talking about yourself, pushing your ideas onto other people, or trying to change others.
Offer Help When Possible
Helping people not only makes you happier, it’s also a great way to show others that they can trust you. Even the smallest of actions can make a huge difference in how people regard you. Little things such as bringing a friend a cup of coffee, helping them fix something, offering to pick something up from the store for them when they have their hands full, things like that.
Offering to help whenever needed and possible inspires trust. You don’t have to do things that are unpleasant or uncomfortable though, and you need to make sure you don’t lose yourself in the process of 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 then it’s fine if you give a little white lie every 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. It means representing yourself genuinely and in a clear and direct manner.
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 say things that aren’t accurate for our own 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 that 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 go back on plans you agreed to or tasks you signed up for if you just don’t feel like doing it anymore.
Just because we live in an age where this happens more and more 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 people who are reliable and dependable.
I understand that it’s easy to get too ambitious or overly excited about doing something and automatically sign up for it without honestly knowing if it’s something you’ll even do. You want to please people and it’s instinct to say yes but this is where developing and improving self-control is important.
Growing spiritually and truly knowing yourself can keep you from making commitments or agreeing to things you don’t actually 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 end up cancelling at the last minute.
Doing some introspection and being self-aware can help you identify these patterns and behaviors. Once you’re aware of them, you can then train yourself to stop and really think about things before committing to them. It helps you know which things you’re actually likely to go through with and which ones you won’t really be able to do.
This makes you live up to your promises better instead of being known as the person who “doesn’t do what they say they’ll do”. It’s almost impossible to trust someone who is constantly cancelling things they agreed to.
Show Your Friends You Appreciate Them
It’s human nature to want to be thanked and appreciated for the things we do. If you help a friend move into their new home, you want them to say thank you and you want to know that they really 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 actually EXPRESS it or they might not know how you feel.
Telling people exactly what you appreciate about them and what you value about them, how grateful you are for their help, etc. encourages them to keep doing the things that make them an awesome person.
It can make you closer because you’re being honest with your feelings and creating a deeper bond. It also encourages them to be 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 in order to feel empathy for them. All you really need to do is 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, 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 keep from 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? Being able to truly empathize with someone else makes them feel accepted and understood. It will make them more likely to show empathy to others and creates trust between you .
Learn To Apologize And Forgive
For some, saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t come naturally. There are times when you just don’t feel like you did anything wrong, or you believe you were justified in your actions and would rather not apologize.
However, saying those two little words can have a huge impact on how much people trust and believe in you. They also have the power to change a person’s whole mood or day when said to them.
They prove that you value their friendship and their presence in your life, and they can heal hurt feelings and strained relationships. Apologizing makes you more trustworthy because it shows the other person that you’re willing to put your ego aside for the good of the relationship.
Of course, don’t go around apologizing for things you didn’t do, or things that weren’t your fault, but if you know you messed up, don’t be afraid to admit it. Equally as important as apologizing is learning to forgive others. Holding onto anger hurts you more in the long run and limits your spiritual growth.
Whether someone is apologizing to you or you haven’t spoken to them since the wrongdoing, forgiving is going to lift a huge weight off your shoulders. 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’re building trust.
Imagine that each one of these actions is a leafy branch on a tree that provides shade and comfort to the people in your life, fostering your relationships. It’s these positive and strong relationships that create health and happiness in your life.