Trust is the foundation upon which healthy relationships are built. If you make a promise, you should follow through. Trust in relationships is a lot more than just keeping your word, though.

Trust is about…

  • Being accountable when you make mistakes by owning up to them and apologizing for them sincerely.  When you take ownership for your behavior and the consequences, others can develop confidence you will learn from missteps rather than repeat them.
  • Communicating honestly and openly when sharing thoughts and feelings. This helps others develop confidence there is no hidden agenda or secrets that could betray their trust in you.
  • Expressing needs clearly, which provides others with information to help them meet your needs, (or at least discuss them) rather than guessing, getting it wrong, and disappointing you.
  • Being reliable so others know they can depend on you in the future.
  • Knowing your limits and sharing them in order to give others a sense of what you can and cannot do. It allows you to make realistic promises and avoid giving more than you can at a particular time. It also helps to avoid resentment on both sides: others are less likely to ask too much of you, and you’re less likely to feel that they’re trying to take advantage of you.
  • Facing challenges together, which builds others’ confidence that you can be counted on when times get tough and they need your support.
  • Placing trust in others, which makes it easier for them to trust you in return.

Trust is built and maintained over time and requires ongoing commitment by everyone in the relationship. If one person betrays another’s trust, the connection between them can be weakened or broken, and it can take time and effort to rebuild.

In healthy relationships, all parties strive to maintain trust in each interaction so everyone feels respected, valued, and secure. However, people aren’t perfect. As noted above, it’s best to repair mistakes as soon as possible through honest communication and accountability.

Adapted from