Standard relationship advice is always going on about how trust is essential to a good relationship – but what does that actually mean?! And why should you care?

Ponder this question: 

What do you need to trust someone? 

Make a quick mental list. Now you may have considered this question before, but revisit your list with these tips and see if it changes anything for you.

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Here are 3 things you need to know about building trust in your relationship and one additional secret…

1. Trust means accumulating positivity points.

What is it like when someone consistently shows up for you in a positive way? Well, usually, we feel more connected; we want to be around them and engage in a more profound way. People will say things like, “you are a lifesaver” or, “thanks for having my back.” 

These positive experiences create what I call “positivity points.” What’s a positivity point, you ask? Imagine the person you trust asking you to do something new. Are you likely to do it?  Well, if they’ve earned enough positivity points with you so that you trust them, you may be willing to take that leap of faith.

Now, imagine that someone you don’t trust asks you for the same thing. Are you as willing? Probably not!

We feel differently about people based on how much we trust them. These are the positivity points I’m talking about. Over time, people that you trust rack up a LOT of points and can “spend” them with you more often. 

2. Trust means building comfort and vulnerability.

At the beginning of your relationship, you might not immediately feel comfortable with the person you’re dating. This discomfort may stop you from being open with your internal thoughts and feelings and leave you preferring to stay on the surface. 

As you learn more about the other person and see if you are compatible, trust will either rise or flatline. If it flatlines, don’t try and resuscitate it. 

Many people try to force things to be what they aren’t, and you wanna avoid that. 

But if trust goes up over time, eventually, you will reach a point where you want to know more and be willing to delve into more vulnerable places. When you can trust, your ability to be vulnerable goes up. 

This will be important to nurture as your relationship develops so that the more trust you build, the more vulnerable you can be, and then the more you trust them. It’s a happy little relationship circle of life.

3. Trust means fostering friendship, not just romance.

There is a difference between friendship and romance. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your friends, but if you think of the passion and desire that you have for your partner, it’s usually different than how you feel about your friends. Platonic versus romantic love. 

Friends and romantic partners fill different roles in our lives. Sometimes you just wanna spend time with your friends and vice versa with your partner. Both types of relationships need trust. It doesn’t necessarily matter to a friend if you are a good kisser or not because that skill, while awe-inspiring, isn’t applicable. 

Many times the breaking point of a romantic relationship is when the fire of passion dies down, and then you get to see if you are genuinely compatible. It is important to foster  friendship with your lover, not just fan the fires of romance. Well, how can you do this? 

Ask yourself, “If this person was just a friend, would I want to hang out with them?” If they weren’t super fine, would you want to be around them? 

Why ask this question? Well, if you’re in this relationship for the long run, then you are going to be spending a lot of time with them. You should like the person you are with. Now, this last tip is a secret you can use with any relationship, even the tough ones with difficult people.

The tip you didn’t know you needed: You can trust untrustworthy people.

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A common misconception is that trust is only reserved for the “positive people” in our lives when in reality, it can be important for the “negative people” as well. 

I hear many of you saying: “Why on earth would I trust a negative person? Then I’m just asking to be hurt!” 

Think about this: trust what? Can you trust your bully to bully you? Yes, it has happened multiple times. Then let’s trust that they will always be this way until substantial data proves otherwise! 

I have seen many people get hurt and triggered by family members and other negative people. This is because they forget past actions or give these people the benefit of the doubt when they haven’t earned it. 

Basically, this is you gaslighting yourself into believing that someone is who you “want them to be,” not “who they are.” If the person in front of you has shown themselves to be kind and has had your back, trust that. If they have been cruel and demeaning, trust they will be that way in the future too. 

Remember that actions speak louder than words. Just because a shitty person behaves well once doesn’t mean they have changed. 

So now think about your list of what trust means in a relationship. What’s different? Have you added or changed any of your items? Keep these tips in mind as you move forward in new or existing relationships, and you’ll be sure to build strong foundations  built on trust. 

Want to create better communication in your relationship? Grab a spot in my free Masterclass – How to Communicate: Relationship Edition!

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