Trust is key to every relationship. From the relationships that we have with our family, to our friends, to our coworkers and our romantic relationships, trust is paramount. Gaining someone’s trust can be difficult, even if we tend to be generally trustworthy people.
On the flip side, we all know how hard it is to extend our trust to people that we don’t know very well, like acquaintances, coworkers and even strangers. By simply changing our behavior, we can nonverbally prove how trustworthy we are on the inside.
Understanding Behaviors That Make People To Trust You
“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” – Stephen Covey
1. EXPRESSING EMPATHY THROUGH APOLOGIES
Apologizing for things that are beyond our control, like a rainy day or a crowded train, can show that you empathize with someone else’s situation, even if you’re not the one causing the problem. These are called “superfluous apologies,” which basically means “unnecessary,” with an added emphasis on being “more than enough”. If someone is having a bad day, or grieving a loss, saying, “I’m so sorry,” can express both concern and empathy, as well as increase the other person’s trust. A study done with a stranger asking to borrow another person’s cell phone was more likely to be a success when the stranger offered a superfluous apology.
2. MIRRORING BODY LANGUAGE
If you find yourself mimicking a person’s body language when you have a conversation, this is a good sign that you’re already well on your way to gaining that person’s trust. Studies show that subtly mirroring another person’s body language can help increase that person’s feeling of trust, without the other person being aware that you mirror them. This is especially good for negotiations and resolving interpersonal disputes.
However, make sure to do this subtly. If you copy every single move a person makes, it may seem a bit strange! Simply allow your body to follow their lead naturally. Indeed, you will see how much more open and trusting they become.
3. ACCEPTING A LITTLE EMBARRASSMENT
Being able to ride out the embarrassment with grace, and being able to accept it, is shown to be an acceptable trait when determining if someone is trustworthy. A study done showed a man reacting to a perfect test score first with embarrassment, then pride, made people who saw him react with embarrassment more likely to trust him.
Embarrassment is said to show that someone is more likely to be sociable, which inevitably leads to others wanting to associate themselves with that person. Everyone gets a little embarrassed, and being unafraid to show it can make others more likely to follow your lead, making them more relaxed around you and thus, more trusting.
4. WELCOMING SMELLS
What smells good to some people may smell neutral to others. However, science has shown that the way we smell may be a big influence on whether or not other people are likely to trust us. Lavender is a scent that is more likely to be considered welcoming than other scents, because it has a calming effect when we smell it. Other smells, like peppermint, can be more stimulating, which can put people on alert rather than relaxing them. If you want to seem more trusting, a switching to lavender scented shampoo or clothing wash may help you achieve that goal.
5. HAVING MUTUAL FRIENDS
People are more likely to trust the people that their friends are friends with. This is a phenomenon called “triadic closure.” This term means that two people who have a third person in common are much more likely to become close. In a study done with social media, people were much more likely to accept friend requests from people on Facebook if they had mutual friends in common. Much more likely, in fact! 80% of people accepted a friend request if they saw that they had 11 or more friends in common.
While being trustworthy is hugely about showing that trait through actions and words, it can also be affected by these subtle behaviors. Science has proven that there are several behaviors and habits that can help us gain the trust of the people around us, which makes for a longer-lasting and happier relationship. These are simple, daily things that can be done to help express our inner trustworthiness to the people around us.