Creating Greater Relationships By Creating Greater Trust

Trust is foundational in any relationship, but it takes effort, and some “R” rules to build

Romance needs trust to thrive, Photo by Christyl Rivers

Trust issues are all over the news. People do not trust the police. They do not trust the government. They do not always trust, even, their fellow citizens. We all have to wear masks, at least for now, because when doing so, we can trust that others are following guidelines and wishing one another health and wellness.

Trust is esesential, if as a society, we are to regroup and reset.

Building trust in our family, and romantic, relationships is just as vital, and putting our work relationships before our personal ones usually ends with unhappy, untrustworthy people.

Our personal relationship trust is fragile, because, like a fine crystal goblet, you have to treat it with a careful touch. For the crystal to do its job, it has to be kept both utilitarian — not like a museum piece — but also, very much valued and admired.

Relationships are the most important thing in your life

Work relationships rely on trust, but personal ones, often neglected when we take on too much, require it for a high quality of life.

Several vital “R” words come into play. These simple words and phrases can help you remember the importance of trust for every facet of your life.


How we relate to everyone else, is R number one.

Most relationships of the heart begin with false presentations of one another. That’s okay, as long as each person recognizes this is a normal phase of every new partnership. It may be called limerence, or the honeymoon phase, but it’s really just best to think of it as the time you showed your best self.

Keeping up an unrealistic appearance fades as people come to realize, and even appreciate one another’s imperfections. As this happens, communication, relating to one another clearly, becomes front and center.

When people begin to take one another for granted, communication often stops flowing. Each and every day, even if it’s just a momentary check-in, or update, reach toward partners. Communication flow, being able to relate to one another, shows trust, encourages more trust, and solidifies relationships. In all the ways that you can, relate on a personal level with partners, and precious family.


The relationship trust you build creates another R, Reliability.

Reliability builds trust because you show up. You show up for every meal and event. You make promises, and you keep them. This core basis for trust-building will work even if you cannot be physically together at any given moment. Be of your word, and use your words to check in with what he/or she, needs every day. Be present as much, and as openly, as you can. A ten-minute coffee chat, or an evening check-in, works wonders, but only if you keep it reliable.

Routines can be boring if we let them go to automatic pilot, but there are ways to keep interested and involved. Form some key sharing phrases: “What’s the best thing that happened to you today?” or “What did you learn today?” or “What’s the most surprising thing you saw/did/found/ate/experienced? What are you grateful for, today?”

You can switch up the phrases from time to time to keep it fresh. My partner and I do this routinely, and we are surprised how much we learn from it.

It will work, and even allow more reliability to grow into rich, fertile trust. Reliably.

Respect and Reciprocity

To stay trustworthy, each person needs to be regarded with respect. Respect doesn’t happen automatically, but through reciprocity. In evolutionary psychology there are two types of reciprocity, Direct reciprocity, (DR) and Indirect reciprocity, (IR). If you are trying to create an atmosphere of trust, you will need both types.

Direct reciprocity is showing that you are willing to help another. Indirect, simply means you must offer support to those who help others. Both forms go a long way in any team, or family, situation, because we evolved to create reputations of trustworthiness by being there for others.

Using reciprocity regularly, even offering help daily, will build trust if it is used carefully, and isn’t patronizing. Communication, back to R number one, relating to others, will allow you to be clear that you encourage genuine, not symbolic, reciprocity. Also remember that you too, must sometimes ask for help. If others perceive that you only seem to want to ‘manage them,’ and take no help, such a reputation erodes the trust you need. Offer help. Ask for help. Reciprocate. This is the way to create real trust.

Risk and Reflection

Earlier in this article, I talked about the employer/employee relationship as it is evolving with regard to remote work from home trends. Being present and reliable is especially challenging if you are trying to create both work trust relationships, and partnership/family relationships. The trick is to take some risks, in both arenas and then reflect upon what you, and your partner, learn.

Take a full hour for lunch and turn off all devices. Make a date that is reliable and mindful without distraction. Try something new and creative. Dress up, play, laugh at yourselves. Think zany. Think big. Think outside the boring boxes.

Creativity flows from being willing to take some risk. It keeps romance alive.

It keeps people surprising and delighted.

But we can’t be delightful all the time. To allow vulnerability also requires some emotional risk. You are both learning new ways to “show up,” even when you sometimes may be tired, or cranky, or sad, or mad. This means that you are human, Do not hide that vulnerability. Instead, harness it, share. And listen.

Actually, being present is what matters. When you do take a risk, identify it. When you appreciate that someone else is being vulnerable, identify it, and compliment them. It is only by being vulnerable, at least sometimes, with others, that we find our mutual humanity.

For many people, the basis of the faith is showing up, admitting that there is something greater than we are is reverent humility, not humiliation.


All of the “R” words we have gone over add up to Responsibility. Being responsible is the ultimate team builder and trust maker. Having doubts is normal too. You should diplomatically share them. This helps couples and families to admit they don’t have all the answers, all the time. It offers another way for us to reveal risk.

Doubt allows us to be more human, admit vulnerability and become responsible as a team together. When making important choices, trust your partner’s honesty and vulnerability. Don’t ever make crucial decisions under duress: storming out the door while threatening to “never come back.” Likewise, don’t say things you can’t take back. Angry words do not usually reflect what we really feel most of the time. Talk about them, later, instead. That is mature responsibility that creates and preserves trust.

In your mind, take some time to consider how these alliterative tools already affect every relationship that you are in from work, to home. They also apply in every relationship you are in from community, to sexual intimacy. Trust is created and protected only with our active consideration of how and why we both offer trust, and invite others, to trust us.

  • Relationships
  • Reliability
  • Respect
  • Reciprocity
  • Risk
  • Reflection
  • Responsibility

Then, you can add a final “R” word: Reward.

The rewards of creating trust support a higher quality of living.

Ecopsychologist, Writer, Farmer, Defender of reality, and Cat Castle Custodian.

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