You've hurt someone, and you want to regain their trust. Or, maybe there's someone in your life who's been hurt by someone else and seems reluctant to trust you despite your reassurances.
No matter the situation, trust must be earned. When someone has been deeply hurt or betrayed, it's understandable that they might have difficulty trusting again. They know the price of giving their trust to someone who wasn't worthy of it - they learned that lesson the hard way.
Whether you betrayed someone's trust or want to gain the trust of someone who is afraid to give it, there are some things you can do to earn their trust:
This first suggestion applies if you are the one who hurt the person whose trust you want to earn. You cannot begin to rebuild trust without acknowledging the part you played in eroding it.
Taking responsibility for your actions means more than offering an apology. If you've ever scoffed at the lame apology of a politician or celebrity, you know what we mean. If you say, "I'm sorry if I hurt you" or "I'm sorry I did that, but..." you're not really apologizing.
When you betray someone's trust, it's not fair to dilute your apology with excuses or distance yourself from it. Acknowledge what you did wrong and apologize, sincerely, for doing it. Skip the justifications - this isn't the time for them.
2. Understand why you did what you did
When you hurt somebody, it's not enough to apologize. The injured party may ask questions and you should be prepared to answer them after you apologize.
Here again, it's not fair to deflect the blame. There may be other issues in your relationship, but this isn't the time to air them. Now is the time to get to the bottom of why and how you hurt them.
It's also essential to understand why you behaved the way you did so you can avoid repeating your mistake in the future. A little introspection goes a long way.
3. Communicate clearly
One of the key components of trust is communication. If you play word games or keep your feelings to yourself, you can't expect to clearly communicate. People who have been hurt tend to be guarded and defensive. They may have a hard time expressing what they want because they think it makes them vulnerable.
It's your job to be as communicative and expressive as possible. Your openness and willingness to communicate demonstrates that you are worthy of trust.
4. Be honest
You can't build trust with someone who's been hurt if you're not willing to be honest. That means that you:
Say what you mean
Do what you say you'll do
Don't play games
Don't engage in passive-aggressive behavior or bullying
Your honesty is essential if you want to rebuild (or build) trust with someone who's been hurt. Any kind of deception can diminish their trust in you - and if you've already hurt them, a lack of honesty might be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
Mark Twain once said, "Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." Kindness truly is universal.
When someone has been deeply hurt, kindness is the one thing that may be able to heal their wounds. Honesty is essential, but coupling it with kindness ensures that others will be able to hear your words and accept them with open hearts.
Before you say anything, ask yourself if it is kind. If it isn't, then find another way to say it.
6. Be patient
Rebuilding trust takes time. If you are not responsible for hurting someone, it's natural to think they should trust you because you're not the one who hurt them.
However, you must be patient. When someone has been deeply broken, they can't and won't heal overnight. They need time to learn how to trust again.
Ultimately, your kindness and persistence can prove that you're worthy of your loved one's trust. You can't rush trust, but you can give it fertile ground to grow.