One of the hardest things to do, whether it is with a partner, a friend, a parent, or someone else, is to earn trust. Even harder is earning trust from someone who was hurt in the past. Even if they were hurt by someone other than you, people who have been burnt tend to have a hard time trusting, in general. Here are some things you can do to earn the trust of someone who has been hurt in the past.
First, what is trust? Trust is a person’s integrity, honesty, and effectiveness; in one word, it’s a person’s “character”. Trust can be easily built, but it can also be easily broken. Although you may have not been the one to hurt the other person, there are ways that you can prove your trustworthiness in many different ways. In doing so, hopefully the person who has been hurt in the past will see that you are not like the other person and that you are honest and trustworthy.
● Reliability – Do what you say you will do, always. This should hold true even in small things like showing up when you say you will, running the errands you say you will run, etc. Keep the number of promises to a minimum, but keep the promises you make. This will show you are dependable.
● Honesty – Always tell the truth. Although that sounds like something a parent would tell a child, it is so true in every relationship. Even at times where telling a little white lie doesn’t seem too harmful, you will get much more trust by telling the truth, even when it opens the door to unpleasantness. If you tell a lie, admit it. Confess it right away. If you get caught in a lie, admit it. Don’t lie to spare somebody’s feelings or to avoid a debate. Instead, focus on the good things about the person to help cushion the blow of the pain your truthfulness might cause.
● Openness – Never lie by omission, meaning not tell the whole story or any of the story in order to be vague or to spare somebody’s feeling. This will show that you have nothing to hide. As an example, imagine you had previously been engaged to someone and for whatever reason, your new boyfriend has a problem with that fact as well as a problem with your ex. This afternoon you stopped by a gas station and were pumping your gas when your ex pulled in to pump gas as well. Should you tell your new boyfriend? Absolutely. If you don’t, you are lying by omission. And what happens if your new boyfriend’s relatives were inside the store and saw you and your ex at the gas pumps? See where this is going? Always be open and never lie by omission.
● Keep Secrets Shared with You by Others – Never gossip. Never talk about somebody else’s life story or problems, especially if they have shared things with you in confidence. It is never a good thing, and it will come back, full circle, and you will lose the trust of that person. It’s possible to slip sometimes, but if you do, tell the person whose confidence you broke right away.
● Loyalty – This goes along with integrity and morals, which is important in any relationship. Be loyal, both when you’re with the person, and when you’re not. Trust is a no-brainer when the person knows they have your loyalty. Live by strong morals. Be objective and fair in your decision making. Have no double standards.
In the end, it is not your fault that the other person has been hurt in the past. Who hasn’t, right? If your relationship is struggling because your partner, friend, parent, or whomever can’t trust you and you have not given that person a reason to doubt your trust, that person may just not be ready for a relationship or friendship. You can’t beat yourself up over someone else’s issues. However, if you have been known to “stretch the truth”, lie by omission, or anything else that doesn’t earn others’ trust, it is your issue.
Taking time to speak to a professional may be just what you need to get through a trust issue, whether it’s your issue or somebody else. The staff at the Orange County Relationship Center are trained professionals who can help you with the problem you are facing. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us so you can get the help you deserve and move on to brighter tomorrows.