The building of trust is essential for forming friendships. Here are 5 keys to building trust in friendships.
Keep your word
Becoming dependable is foundational for friendships. This happens as we communicate clearly. When I was a young dad balancing the demands of work and family, Adrienne would ask me, “When will you be home?” I would say about 4 pm knowing that that would be really helpful for her with the three small kids. I gave her the answer I thought she wanted to hear, but knew I would probably be home about 5, given my work schedule.
In a chat, it came out I was not only being unreliable but was also causing mistrust. I had to learn to say when and make it happen. I changed my schedule to be free from work after the kids came home from school and worked after they went to bed.
Do you say what people want to hear or say what you will do? Clear conversation builds trust.
The meat and potatoes of friendships are consistency. It’s not big gifts or exceptional things but rather, regularity and reliability. It’s doing what you say and saying what you do. Proverbs says “A friend loves at all times” – no matter what’s going on. It’s the good times and the bad times. It’s in sickness and in health. We need friendship in tough times and in good times. A friendship that endures through good times and bad. The repeated experience of consistency builds trust.
Being real is not easy in today’s culture where people post their best on social media. As a kid, I remember people saying that we don’t air our dirty laundry in public and I understand that we need to protect people and be wise with what we share. However, allowing people to get closer through some vulnerability is essential. When appropriate build trust by being real. Drop the mask. People will love you as you are and trust will grow.
Be a Safe Friend
Friends walk through difficulties together. They don’t attack or expose or criticise or gossip. These things make people withdraw from friendships because they feel unsafe. Only in knowing that they’re safe do people to place trust.
The art of conversation is not just taking turns to speak. Nor is it that when there is a gap bringing the focus back to yourself. Friends listen. Great phrases to use are “tell me more?” and “what else?”. One reason people don’t form friendships is that they expect they have to solve the friend’s problems. Actually, most of the time the best help is to listen. Listening is key to building your own happiness. When we listen, people feel heard. If they are heard, they feel valued. When they feel valued, trust is built.
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