How to Rebuild Trust When Someone Has Broken Their Word

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Relationships and friendships require the respect of both individuals. When a friend or significant other has broken trust, it is often a challenge to repair the damage. Working to mend the relationship doesn’t have to be a painful process. Acknowledging the loss of trust is a strong start.

Acknowledge the Loss of Trust

When placing confidence in someone, you expect that honesty and respect is a given. That is not always the reality of the situation. When a breach occurs, the first step to repair the relationship is to acknowledge what happened, writes Lynette Hoy, marriage and family counselor on the Power to Change website. It is difficult to admit wrongdoing, but recognize that you and your friend are human. Avoiding the situation will foster feelings of resentment, bitterness and anger.

Get to the Bottom of the Problem

An underlying problem could exist in the relationship. Get to the bottom of the issue through honest and open communication. Discuss what led to the broken promise, but don't get defensive or accusatory. Open a dialogue in a safe environment or with a mediator. This can help uncover hidden issues or feelings of resentment.

Own Your Actions

If you are responsible, own your behavior. Admitting your faults is not an easy task. It requires strength to admit wrongdoing and rebuild trust. Acknowledging that trust is lost is not enough to repair the relationship. Owning your faults shows compassion, remorse and willingness to rebuild the friendship.

Apologize and Forgive

Make amends. Show that you genuinely regret the behavior. If necessary, you may also need to forgive others. Know that friends, family and loved ones will make mistakes. Offering someone a second chance shows that you are willing to work on the relationship. It may also help to create an action plan to change the behavior that led to broken trust. The plan should set realistic expectations.