IRS scandals, reports of infidelity, misuse of funds, friendship betrayals… all involve a loss of trust.
Trust is foundational to any relationship. Trust is when you have confidence in someone or something, rely on someone and believe what he or she says is true. Trust involves honesty, integrity and justice.
It takes a long time to build trust, but only a moment to break it.
If you’ve been hurt by broken trust, here are 10 suggestions on how to rebuild it:
1) The person who betrayed you or broke trust must admit to the action and take responsibility without downplaying actions.
2) Be remorseful. If you broke someone’s trust, remorse needs to be evidenced. Without remorse, doubt remains.
3) Once trust is broken, the person you betrayed should be free to ask questions in order to better understand what happened. The betrayer cannot complain about having to answer questions that might be uncomfortable.
4) Forgive the person who broke the trust. This doesn’t mean you condone the action of the person, minimize the impact or act like it never happened. Forgiveness means you acknowledge the breach and choose not to allow it to fester in unforgiveness and bitterness.
5) Give assurance when and where needed. Once trust is breached, lots of reassurance is needed in order to help the person see your efforts to make changes.
6) Be empathetic to the pain caused by the trust violation. Often, people want to admit to their mistake and then move on without further consequences. But pain is usually involved and takes time to work through. The violator needs to be empathetic to the time it takes a person to heal and be ready to try again.
7) Be patient. You can’t rush the rebuild of trust. It takes time to see if the person is trustworthy again.
8) Don’t use a trust violation as a weapon. What is done, is done. Focus on moving forward. You will remember the breach, but the pain will eventually go away. So don’t keep bringing it up the past and using it to make a point or fight.
9) No secrets. Relationships built on secrecy do not do well. Honesty is needed to rebuild trust, even when that honesty is painful.
10) Move towards reconciliation. Forgiveness takes one person. Reconciliation takes two.
If you are having trouble rebuilding trust, you may want to see a counselor to help move all parties through the process.