Interpersonal intelligence is about creating and accessing relationships as a way to negotiate the world, so it would be natural to think people who prefer this intelligence would necessarily be better at trust-building work. That is only partially true. Perhaps a more accurate statement would be that people with interpersonal intelligence see the world through the lens of relationships and use relationships to keep themselves grounded. In this regard, they may place special emphasis on trust, but they also may feel a special pain if an important relationship turns mistrustful and they may lose a sense of themselves. To get centered in order to reach out across a trust divide, a person with interpersonal intelligence can first reach out to others who are effective guides, mentors, and sounding boards. The work of the five-step pathway could include:
1. Sharing with a close friend or confidante the challenge of building a relationship with someone else, using this time to build (or rebuild) confidence in your own capacities. This would include what’s happened, what hurts or pain have been experienced, what desires and needs are unmet, all of which create a needed foundation for proceeding.

2. As part of this conversation, getting clear about why the relationship is important in order to get free of any win/lose dynamics, attachments or fantasies that could impair letting another person be exactly who he or she is. Often this involves surrendering any notion of altering another person’s values or temperament. Only by accepting __________ for who he or she is, can the relationship change.

3. Use the background conversation to also talk through and reveal the truth you decide to communicate and the good you see in _________. Rehearsing the conversation you want to have helps release past pain and clarifies your approach and intention by putting words to your vision of what the relationship could be.

4. Practice opening the conversation with your confidante, actually using the words that you feel will best convey your intentions for the relationship, what you appreciate about the other person and the truth you want to share, including your ownership for the part of the situation that belongs to you. As you do so, imagine the other person’s reactions and develop your tolerances. Practice the conversation based on several different paths it could take and get feedback about your versatility.

5. Also talk with your confidante what happens if your initial foray to improve the relationship does not seem to be reciprocal or does not achieve the goal you have in mind. How will you cope with the challenge then? How will you refrain from a defensive reaction based on fear – either to fight or flight – and stick with it?

Links to the other intelligences exercises:

Verbal Linguistic
Logical Mathematical
Bodily Kinesthetic
Visual Spatial