Is Trust Given or Earned?

Trust is an integral part of all relationships. Whether it’s with a spouse, a close friend, or a business partner, trust is necessary for any meaningful connection to be established and sustained. But what comes first, trust or the actions that generate it? Is trust something that is given freely or earned through consistent behavior? Let’s explore this concept further.

The Nature of Trust

Trust can be defined as the belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something. When we enter into any relationship—professional or personal—we must make a conscious decision to trust the other person. We are essentially taking a risk by believing that the other person will live up to our expectations and not let us down.

To further complicate matters, every individual’s views on trust are different; some may view it as something that can only be earned over time while others may feel more comfortable in giving it away freely from the start. One thing is certain though; when trust is broken in any relationship, it often takes a great deal of effort to rebuild it.

Trust as a Given

In some cases, trust may come naturally. For instance, when two people have been friends for many years or when family members have known each other their entire lives, they tend to give each other the benefit of the doubt. This type of trust has been built over time through shared experiences and mutual understanding. It is important to note that this type of trust does not mean that anything goes; it simply means that you don’t need to worry about your relationship being broken due to minor disagreements or misunderstandings.

Trust as an Earned Quality

At work, in school, with strangers – these are all situations where trust must be earned. People will only put their full faith in someone once they know that person well enough to determine how reliable they are – meaning how often they fulfill their promises and keep their word. Furthermore, people must feel secure enough in the other person’s integrity for them to rely on them both professionally and personally. This type of trust takes time to build but is invaluable when it comes to strong relationships between people who do not share an intimate bond already established by friendship or family ties.

Trust in Friendships

Friendships are unique in that they require both giving and earning trust over time. You can give your friend some amount of trust right away—we do this all the time when we tell our friends secrets or rely on them for help—but true trust can only be earned over time through consistent actions. This means consistently showing up when needed, keeping promises, and being honest even when it’s difficult. When this kind of consistent behavior is present, then true friendship-level trust has been achieved.

Trust in Romantic Relationships

Romantic relationships require a different kind of trust because they involve emotions and physical intimacy as well as verbal communication. A lot of us enter romantic relationships with an assumption that our partner will keep us safe from harm; this assumption can be called “primary trust” or “blind trust” because it relies on our own judgment rather than experience with our partner to make sure that we are safe from harm.

As we get to know each other better over time though, we begin to develop “earned trust” which is based on our shared experiences together and builds slowly over time as we share more intimate moments together (both emotionally and physically). Earned trust allows us to feel secure enough to take risks without fear that our partner will let us down or betray us in some way. When both primary and earned trusts coexist within a relationship, then a deep bond develops between two people who know they can rely on one another no matter what happens in life.

What Does It Take To Earn Trust?

In order to earn someone’s trust, you must demonstrate consistently that you can be relied upon and trusted with important matters. This means having integrity and doing what you say you will do when you say you will do it. It also involves being honest and open with communication so that both parties can be on the same page regarding expectations and outcomes. Additionally, being supportive and understanding towards others helps build mutual respect which often leads to increased levels of trust between two people.


Trust is an essential element of all relationships—it serves as a foundation for connecting with others but also carries considerable risk if broken. The question of whether trust should be given freely or earned over time remains up for debate as there are no clear-cut answers for everyone involved. What can be said for sure is that when building trusting relationships in both professional and personal settings, demonstrating consistency in your words and actions is key to earning another person’s trust over time.