How to Earn Other’s Trust

Two men shake hands, symbolizing the journey of rebuilding personal and professional relationships after incarceration, forging paths towards trust and renewal.

Upon your release, you may find that your relationships with friends or family members have changed. Parents, spouses, employers, and friends may feel as though trust has been broken, depending on your situation. New people you meet may be hesitant to trust you once they find out about your past. Employers, landlords, colleagues, and potential friends or dates may form an opinion about you before getting to know you. Trust is an important building block of any solid relationship, so you may need to work harder at earning other’s trust. With consistency and the right approach, you can build strong relationships and prove that you are trustworthy.

Start Small

As you begin to build new relationships, start small. At work, for example, show up on time, complete your assignments, and be respectful to coworkers. Once you prove to be dependable, move onto tackling larger projects. The same goes with all relationships in your personal life. For example, if you had substance use issues in the past, new friends may want to spend one-on-one time with you but may not invite you to a party with all their friends. Little by little, trust can be earned, and you can unlock different levels of trust once you demonstrate that you deserve it. If you are applying for jobs or housing, provide references from people who can attest to your character and dependability in a positive way to help encourage some initial trust. In all relationships, it is important to show up on time and do the things you say you will do. Continually following through on your word, no matter how big or small, is a way to build trust. The timeline will vary between relationships, so be patient and stay consistent.

Admit Your Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. The first step of earning trust is recognizing and admitting your mistakes. A little bit of humility goes a long way, and if you take responsibility for your actions, people will see you as someone who is trustworthy. When you make a mistake, give an honest apology that includes recognizing your wrongdoings. Ever hear of the phrase action speaks louder than words? Others will want to see that you are committed to change.

In the case of employment or housing where you may have to divulge your criminal history before forming a relationship, be honest and let the person know that you have learned from your mistakes. Read here for tips on how to address your past in an interview. In dating and friendships, it is up to you when, and if you think it is appropriate to share your past. Keep in mind that your record may be available online, and others may feel deceived if they find out you have been keeping information from them.

Respect Boundaries

Some people may not be ready to trust you immediately or may want distance upon learning about your past. If this is the case, respect their boundaries. Trying to force a relationship when it is not welcomed can make the situation worse, and potentially ruin the chances of a healthy relationship in the future. If someone doesn’t want a relationship with you because of your past, don’t take it personally. It is important to surround yourself with people who accept you as you are and believe you deserve a second chance.

Practice Communication

Sometimes circumstances out of your control may get in the way of you keeping your promises. For example, if you are going to be late due to traffic, let the person you are meeting or work know as soon as possible. Communicating ahead of time and being honest shows that you respect the person. If you feel comfortable sharing, communicate openly about your incarceration to help others understand you and see that you have learned from your past.

Trust Yourself

Lastly, it is crucial that you trust yourself before you can expect others to trust you. If you doubt yourself as a friend, partner, tenant, or employee, you may be subconsciously sabotaging yourself. If you believe you are a good person who shows up for yourself and others, you are more likely to succeed in earning other’s trust. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, keep the promises you make, and find healthy habits you enjoy to build your confidence.

In most cases, trust is not earned overnight, but by following these tips, you can begin earning trust with those in your life. Some people will be hesitant, and some might prefer to support you from a distance—all you can do is respect their boundaries and focus on building a new life and support system for yourself. Once you earn someone’s trust, stay consistent and follow through on your promises as trust is easier to break than it is to earn.

Published On: June 20th, 2023|Categories: Relationship Building Resources|

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