Factor #2; Reliability.
Reliability seems like an obvious factor in creating and maintaining trust with others. It requires us to do what we say we are going to do. This means showing up – both when we say we are going to and when things get tough. This also means not over-promising. For example, saying we might meet up with someone when we know in all likelihood we probably won’t go. Or telling our boss we’ll be able to finish a project when we know we don’t have enough time to.
This is huge, both professionally and personally. People need to be able to trust that we will follow through and know what to expect from us. If we are consistently leading them on or letting them down, this will of course damage the relationship. Same is true the other way around. If friends, family or co-workers are unreliable the relationship is more likely to be conflictual and distant.
One of the biggest examples I see of this in my practice and personal life is when something bad happens to someone. Many of my clients have struggled with disappointment or heartbreak after experiencing a tragedy and finding that many of the people they thought they could rely on are no where to be found. These situations often show us who are true friends are (or aren’t).
This happened to me after having a miscarriage. Some of the people that I thought would have shown up and supported me were no where to be found*. There were other people that completely surprised me and showed up in ways that helped me immensely. You can imagine that these relationships have become deeper and more meaningful to me as a result. I feel like I can count on these people through the ups and downs in life.
As a friend I work hard to follow through on my word and show up when difficult situations arise. The goal with reliability is not perfection but overall effort. There are going to be times we drop the ball or miss an opportunity for connection. Acknowledge when this happens and keep showing up.
We all have struggles, tragedy and loss in our lives. Imagine how much better the world would be if we started showing up more for one another.
*Note: Stay tuned for factor #7 to learn more about how I handled this.
Acknowledgment: Brené Brown is a researcher and storyteller who found reliability to be one of 7 factors that creates and maintains trust.