Trust is a difficult thing to gain and once you lose it, some say it is impossible to regain. While lies, betrayal and broken promises are painful, they don’t always have to be the end of a relationship. There may be some situations where broken trust simply cannot be regained. If the betrayal was too large or the betrayed person unwilling to forgive, nothing you can do will ever make up for it.
The wounds we gain from being hurt by those that we love, admire and trust run deep and they are not easy to get over. These wounds sometimes shake the very foundation upon which a relationship was built and threaten to destroy the relationship forever. However, there are some situations both in personal and professional relationships where you may be able to regain the trust you have lost due to a poor decision or action. So, how can you regain broken trust?
The first thing you need to know about rebuilding trust is that you cannot change or “fix” the other person. You can’t make them feel a certain way about you or force them to see things your way. They may be going through something in their lives that makes it more difficult for them to give you a second chance or their wounds from your betrayal may be so strong that they are not ready to forgive and forget. Patience will go a long way if you are serious about regaining their trust.
One of your first steps will be to learn why you lost the trust of the person in the first place. You can then take the proper steps to prevent this from happening again. Don’t waste time trying to over explain or justify why you did what you did to lose the trust. Instead you have to focus on the future and changing the way they feel about your credibility.
Here are some tips:
Apologize – Offer an apology as soon after the offense as possible. Be sincere with your apology.
Increase your credibility- Are you dependable? Do you do what you say you will do?
Don’t break promises – It’s important to remember not to make promises that you will not be able to keep as this will make you appear untrustworthy.
Listen- Sometimes the best thing you can do is shut your mouth and listen to the other person. This shows that you care about their opinions and feelings.
Empathize- You need to truly try to understand what the other person is feeling. Put yourself in their shoes and try to feel how they feel. This will help you gain trust with the other party.
Provide restitution- In some situations, in may be helpful to provide some sort of restitution to the victim to help regain their trust. While it won’t make up for what was lost, it does show your willingness to make things right again and this can go a long way in rebuilding trust.
Communicate openly and accurately- Always say what you mean and make sure you keep the communication open in the relationship.
Establish consistency and reliability- As you build your reliability and maintain consistent in your actions, it will become easier to trust you. Forgiving and Learning to Trust Again
What if you were on the receiving end of the mistrust and someone is trying to regain your trust? The betrayal of broken trust is a painful thing and it’s not easy to just forgive and begin to trust again. However, it is possible.
If you are in a situation where someone you love or care about has lost your trust and they want the opportunity to regain it, what can you do to help? As we said before, it takes the work of both parties for trust to be rebuilt. If you make the decision to try to trust again, you have to stick by that decision.
Be willing to work on rebuilding trust- You must be willing to work on the relationship. If you are not willing to do this, you should let the other person know right up front.
Don’t throw past events back at them. – If you say you have forgiven, it’s unfair to bring up past mistakes and tease or taunt the person. Let the past stay where it belongs.
Don’t threaten. – Threats and warnings such as “if you ever do this again…” or “you’re lucky I’m giving you another chance…” will not help the relationship. Be open about what you expect from them but in a simple and honest way.
Avoid ultimatums. – Avoid ultimatums such as “Change now or lose me forever!” However, you should be open and honest about your limits. For example, you may explain, “I was very hurt by your actions and it may take me time to heal from this
Communicate- It’s very important that you communicate properly with the person you are working to trust again. Listen carefully when they talk to you and be willing to share your feelings and emotions as well.
Reaffirm commitment to the relationship- You both need to reaffirm your commitment to the relationship and the desire to overcome the incident that led to the mistrust.
Be patient- Allow the person time to reconcile and prove themselves trustworthy again. This is a process that will not happen over night and may actually take a long time to regain completely. Remember that regaining trust is a healing process. You shouldn’t expect things to get better quickly. It will take time and effort on the part of both parties if you hope to carry on a healthy relationship and learn to trust again.