I recently found myself in a situation where I saw those around me as confidants, friends – people I did life with. Many deep thoughts, feelings. laughter and fears were shared around the table. Several times a week. Something happened over the course of time that I’m still not sure of, but the trust that I held dear, was broken. What was once a stable, comforting environment became an environment of backstabbing, secretiveness and disrespect. Can anyone relate? Trust and dependability are an integral part of every strong relationship. If you’re wondering how you can be trustworthy, keep these traits in mind:
1. Be dependable
Do what you say you are going to do. When you promise someone something, you must honor that, no matter how small you perceive the promise to be. If you promised you would watch a friend’s football match, do it. Even if it means two hours of possibly the most boring game, order a beer, eat some nuts and make the most it. It might mean more to that person than you understand.
2. Keep Confidences
Sharing information that isn’t yours to share diminishes your trustworthiness with the person whose confidence you betrayed as well as with those you shared the gossip with. In addition, most people deal with a lot of tough stuff in their lives, and often, don’t have enough decent relationships to feel secure in sharing. If someone confides something in you, don’t expose them unless it is truly bad for their well-being, or life threatening.
Keep the promise and sit on the information they’ve shared with you. They will respect you immensely if you don’t go start spreading information that they’ve specifically asked you not to. Most times, people just need to entrust things with other people, to feel connected. To be more trustworthy, be the reliable and honest person that can keep a secret safe.
3. Be Honest
Telling the truth, and being straightforward, is at times, difficult to do. But they are essential if you want to be a more trustworthy person. A person that withholds information or doesn’t say how they truly feel makes it difficult for people to trust them. Sometimes the truth hurts, but if you honestly communicate with people, you are seen as more trustworthy because a person can feel confident that you aren’t withholding something important.
4. Be Vulnerable
It might feel risky to open up, but a study of workplaces found that people were more likely to perceive others as trustworthy when they felt they shared common interests, values, or goals.
5. Show Integrity
Trustworthy people hold strong moral principles, and stand by them. If you are constantly wavering on what values you deem important, and bounce all over the place, it translates into dishonesty and unreliability. Practice what you preach!
6. Stop gossiping
Pretty obvious - stop talking poorly behind people’s backs. We aren’t in high school anymore, if you have a concern or an issue with someone, be mature enough to address them face-to-face immediately. If it seems so petty that you wouldn’t want to speak to them about it directly, then you probably shouldn’t even be talking about it in the first place.
Gossiping isn’t just speaking poorly about people. It’s generally chatting about useless information. It doesn’t matter how many diets a co-worker has tried and failed. That should not be a topic of conversation over lunch. Truthfully, your co-worker’s eating habits are none of your business.
7. Show Your Gratitude
Research has shown that expressing your thanks can strengthen relationships. One study indicated that couples who took the time to thank each other felt more positive toward each other and more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.
The result is the ability to focus our attention on healthier relationships, which bring us happiness and leave negativity behind.
While the points above are significant, there are a few others you can add in. For instance, if you spend more time with good people, you will be less inclined to do untrustworthy things such as gossip, and go back on your word because you will be surrounded with people that won’t tolerate that. If you hang out with positive people that are also reliable and honest, you are more likely to reflect those behaviors.
Whether you want to admit it or not, perhaps you aren’t as trustworthy as you would like to believe, and in any relationship – be that with a significant other, family member, friend, boss or co-worker – being trustworthy can be one of most important values to uphold. The best that we can do is learn from our mistakes and try to improve ourselves as individuals. Being a trustworthy person is difficult, but it is often the kind of character that other people want to be around and aspire to be.
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