Building Trust : Making Deposits Not Withdrawals

We need one another.

Almost no one in the modern world can survive completely on their own. There is almost nothing around us that isn’t there, in part, because of another person. We are connected and interconnected. 

All of that connectivity requires relationships and at the heart of all relationships is trust.

In building trust it’s good to think of the relationship as being like a bank account. The positive interactions and actions are deposits. The negative are withdrawals.

Trust grows as confidence and safety grows. Unfortunately, when you do something that breaks trust, that is significant withdrawal. If you haven’t built up enough trust, even a seemingly minor infraction of breaking trust – will bounce the account.

The trust equation looks like this :


  • Be approachable and friendly
  • Listen
  • Help when you can
  • Value the relationship and don’t take for granted
  • Appreciate and show gratitude
  • Be an active participant
  • Share feelings, thoughts, desires – open up at pace with the other person
  • Be supportive and considerate of feelings
  • Respect


  • Take time to make decisions and think before acting too quickly
  • Always be honest
  • Be accountable – admit your mistakes
  • Ensure your words and actions match all the time
  • Do what is right, be principled


  • Be true to your word
  • Follow through with your actions
  • Go above and beyond
  • Be dependable
  • Walk the talk
  • Model positive behavior

When a relationship breaks down it is typically because of these fundamental trust issues. Sure, some relationships fizzle out over time as our lives naturally change and evolve. Yet, it almost always comes back to some measure of these things and the equation gets out of balance. Make a withdrawal and it bounces the account and you’ve got trouble.

Building trust is something you can consciously do and should do if you care about the relationship and the person. Look at each of the above areas and evaluate which area you may need to put in some extra effort. Don’t take the relationship for granted or even that you have a strong enough foundation to weather an abuse of trust.

Relationships have to be tended to in order to stay strong.

For a meaningful and lasting positive relationship, trust takes time to build.

Be patient. 

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