Christian Living


Family Matters 05/03/18

The 10-Step Process to Rebuild Trust

Rebuilding trust with a friend

Scandals in the news, reports of infidelity, misuse of funds, friendship betrayals ... they all involve a loss of trust.

Trust is foundational to any relationship. It's about having confidence in someone or something, relying on someone and believing what he or she says is true. Trust involves honesty, integrity, and justice. It takes a long time to build and a moment to break it.

Relationships flourish when there is trust. Without trust, relationships are in trouble. So, how does one build trust in relationships, especially if that trust has been broken?

Here is a 10-step process to rebuild trust:

1) The person who betrayed you or broke trust must admit to the action. Take responsibility without downplaying actions.

2) If you are the trust breaker, be remorseful. Without remorse, doubt remains.

3) Once trust is broken, the person you betrayed should be free to ask questions in order to better understand what happened. The betrayer cannot complain about having to answer questions that might be uncomfortable.

4) Forgive the person who broke the trust. This doesn't mean you condone the action of the person, minimize the impact, or act as if the problem never happened. Forgiveness means you acknowledge the breach and choose not to allow it to fester in unforgiveness and bitterness.

5) Give assurance when and where needed. Once trust is breached, lots of reassurance is needed to help the person see your efforts to make changes.

6) Be empathetic to the pain caused by the trust violation. Often, people want to admit to their mistake and then move on without further consequences. But, pain is usually involved and takes time to work through. The violator needs to be empathetic to the time it takes a person to heal and be ready to try again.

7) Be patient. You can't rush the rebuild of trust. It takes time to see if the person is trustworthy again.

8) Don't use a trust violation as a weapon. What's done, is done. Focus on moving forward. You will remember the breach, but the pain will eventually go away. So, don't keep bringing it up the past and using it to make a point or fight.

9) No secrets. Relationships built on secrecy do not do well. Honesty is needed to rebuild trust, even when that honesty is painful.

10) Move towards reconciliation. Forgiveness takes one person. Reconciliation takes two.

If you are having trouble rebuilding trust, you may want to see a counselor to help move all parties through the healing process.

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