Business associate, friend, family or lover - all relationships are built on the foundation of trust. And just like the foundation of your home, trust is built over time, going through multiple processes before it is strong enough to handle the stress of all that sits on top of it.

Cultivate behavior that incorporates open communication and healthy interactions to increase trust in your relationships. Refuse to make empty promises and make sure your words are stronger than any written contract. People need to know that you mean what you say and say what you mean.

Respect goes hand in hand with trust. People who lack respect for each other will have virtually no chance of establishing a trustworthy relationship. Disrespect comes in many shades and variations from being given the cold shoulder to personal attacks during an argument; gossip is one of the most damaging forms of disrespect. Trust will flourish when others know that you will always treat them with respect.

Hidden agendas and secrets are the antithesis of trust; transparency is the key. If you intuitively sense that something is being withheld, your sense of trust will be eroded. And if you're the one holding back important issues, you will assume that other people will do the same - effectively becoming distrustful. Working to share all aspects of who you are, what you think and believe, with authenticity, sincerity and honesty, will earn you trust in any type of relationship.

The ability to put aside your own needs for those of another, essentially giving more than you receive, will build trust. This doesn't just mean in the material sense, but in listening, focusing and staying in the present in every situation. Quality time is paying attention to every word and learning to understand what is implied. In the business world, it requires putting your customers’ best interest before your own. Likewise, consistently putting your partner at the top of your list in a romantic or platonic relationship will build trust.

A simple clique says it all - no one is perfect. That being said, always move quickly to apologize for actions you regret. Learn to handle criticism with grace instead of by getting on the defensive. Your willingness to dig deeper without getting defensive will certainly enhance the trust in the relationship. Skip the excuses and just take responsibility for your mess ups. Accountability is a sexy trait, especially when it comes on the heels of a disagreement.

Finally, living a principled life with consistency is the key to trustworthiness. Actively seek opinions and feedback, even if they're negative. Be willing to accept your failures, learn from them and win the trust of others.

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