Trust: the Heart of Relationship

Trust is the foundation of connection. Developing trust involves discernment. You learn how to tell who is trustworthy and who isn’t by being optimistic, risking vulnerability and experiencing how your friends respond. That first step towards trusting a new friend is a leap of faith. But the risk is worth the reward. When you find a safe relationship, you can share your deepest hopes and fears.

Brene Brown explores the Anatomy of Trust in this illuminating video (click here). Building on her powerful TED talks about vulnerability and shame, Brown explains the components of trust, highlighting behaviors to look for in others and to cultivate in yourself.

Imagine a map of your friend group in terms of trust. There are 5 or 6 concentric circles getting larger in size as you go out. You are in the middle of these circles. In the circle closest to the center, imagine the people you feel closest to, your dearest friends. When you’re struggling, they are right there with you. When you’re triumphant, they celebrate you without envy getting in the way. This circle is small, with a few special people, usually 5 or less, because these friendships require cultivation and time. These friends are your chosen family. From there, fill the remaining circles with people you enjoy but don’t feel as safe with. In the outer circles, imagine your acquaintances and weaker connections.

As you consider your friend circles, is there anyone in your inner circle who hasn’t earned your trust or has violated your faith? If so, tend to this relationship by giving this person feedback or sharing less in the future, bumping them to an outer circle in your friend map. Is there anyone in an outer circle who you’d like to connect with? Take a risk and share something vulnerable with them to see if you can deepen that relationship.

Focus on being trustworthy. Be a safe friend. When people confide in you, listen with an open heart, without judgment. Avoid gossiping. If you’ve violated trust, sincerely apologize and attend to your relationship skills. Earn trust from those you care about most.

By building your understanding of trust in yourself and others, you are developing essential relationship skills that will offer life-changing benefits.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • oh, I completely agree! You need to trust your gut too.

    I should’ve trusted mine as my partner was cheating on me for quite a while, it took me months to find out though as he was being very protective over his phone! Once I had access to it, I wasn’t surprised to find the messages to his ex partner …

    I really liked this post and I COMPLETELY agree, trust your heart and also trust your gut!

  • Yes, I agree with Susan! Trust is so important. My last partner cheated on me too and I really wanted to try and forgive him and carry on, I did believe that he was sorry and regretted it. I think he did really love me, but it didn’t matter, I couldn’t trust him and that was never going to go away. It’s hard to let go, but I don’t know how any relationship can survive once trust has gone.

  • loved this content. Thank you for this content.

  • Thanks! It’s my first relationship and we are both 20 years old. We learned a lot and love each other and you guided us to making this good relationship even better!


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