An important part of empathy is the ability to trust and be trusted. This is key to bullying prevention. When trust exists between individuals it allows them to take risks and be open with each other. As trust builds, there will be more sharing of information, feelings, and opinions. The more that is shared the easier it is to relate to one another and have empathy for another. This is what makes trust an important component of bullying prevention.
Building trust is something that takes time and effort. It involves everyone in the relationship, which for your students could be an entire classroom or an entire school! So how do you build trusting relationships in your program? It all starts with knowing the basics of how trust is developed. In this post we go over some of the key things that are required for the development of trust.
Learn to Trust Others
Someone’s ability to trust other people begins with their frame of mind. A lot of it has to do with the way they view people generally. Some people have an easier time trusting others, even when they don’t know the other person very well. Developing an attitude that gives people the benefit of the doubt is a powerful way to build a trusting environment. Ernest Hemingway once said, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” Developing this mentality in your students is the foundation on which to build trust in their relationships.
Earn the Trust of Others
Trust cannot be force, it is something that must be earned. There’s an old expression: “Say what you mean, and mean what you say.” Sounds simple enough, and maybe even a little obvious, right? But this is sometimes easier said than done. People often say or do things just for the sake of pleasing someone else. But being true to oneself and truthful to others is key to developing trust. This is really just about maintaining honesty in relationships. Having a policy of honesty and truthfulness in your program will help to ingrain these values in your student.
Share Thoughts and Feelings
As trust grows between people they will start to feel comfortable sharing with each other. This can take the form of thoughts, opinions, feelings, values, and things happening in their life. The sharing process is recripricol, the more information people share the more comfortable other people will be sharing in return. By no means should everyone share absolutely everything about their life. But opening up just a little will allow relationships to grow and trust to blossom.
Show Weakness and Take Risks
It is very difficult for people to show their weaknesses to others. This type of behavior opens them up and makes them vulnerable. But the ability to show one’s weaknesses to others shows maturity and takes a lot of courage. Taking this risk is a very powerful way to build trust between people. If you find that communication or trust is lacking in your program, encourage your participants to take more risks with one another. It can be scary to show one’s weaknesses, but the trust it will build is well worth it.
Many people have a difficult time opening up and sharing themselves with others. They are afraid of being hurt, rejected, or being left out by the group. One of the easiest ways to overcome this barrier is to be personable! Asking other people questions and engaging with them is a good way to loosen up and feel more confident about sharing one’s self with others. Being friendly and approachable is another important aspect. When your group is personable with one another, trust and openness will develop organically.