It can be easy to delude yourself about unwholesome actions in relationships--and the litany of things is all you can imagine and more, from deceitfulness, manipulation, or selfishness. You can't have a relationship without trust and transparency--it's the only way we can thrive in one. Being dishonest with a partner, friend, or family member chips away at the basic foundation of confidence and faith that builds mutual understanding.
Here are three tips for building trust each day. They may not seem surprising, but sometimes, the true things rarely are. And if you ask me, they bear repeating.
1) Be Clear and Transparent. If you are keeping a secret because of something you feel is dishonest—such as dating multiple persons when each you have an understanding of exclusivity with someone—you need to make your real feelings known. In this way, you reduce the possibility of harming others and create long-lasting bonds of friendship.
2) Stick to Your Commitments. If you make a commitment to be somewhere or do something with another person, don’t back out at the last minute because something else seems more exciting or is more fun. Keeping your commitments is an important way of expressing how much you value a relationship.
3) Be a Good Listener. Listening to another’s life and concerns shows that you care about the relationship. Trust is built upon mutuality—the idea that a relationship is co-created. Taking an interest by genuinely listening to another is a wonderful contribution that establishes trust.
Donald Altman, M.A., LPC, is a practicing psychotherapist, former Buddhist monk, Emmy-Award-winning writer, and board member of The Center for Mindful Eating. His new book is The Mindfulness Code: Keys for Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, Fear, and Unhappiness. which was named one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2010 by Spirituality & Practice.