Trust. It's a crucial element of every successful relationship -- whether professional or personal. But, as important as it is, that doesn't necessarily mean it's easily granted.

Indeed, for most of us, trust is something that needs to be earned. It's not haphazardly doled out like free t-shirts at a sporting event. People need to prove that they deserve our confidence before we're ready and willing to hand it over.

That can be the tough part -- proving yourself as trustworthy. Fortunately, taking a cue from the habits of people who immediately inspire a high degree of confidence can help you not only earn more trust, but deserve it. Here's what trustworthy people do differently.

1. They follow through.

Perhaps the most important trait of all is the ability to follow through. Obviously, if you've dropped the ball in the past, people won't be ready and willing to count on you. Our tendency is to assume that history repeats itself.

So, before you can expect people to place their trust in you, you first need to prove that you can consistently meet any expectations and deadlines that are laid out for you.

2. They go above and beyond.

Beyond just meeting expectations, the most trustworthy people recognize the value in going above and beyond what's required. They don't just do what's needed -- they do it exceedingly well.

That willingness to go the extra mile makes it easy for other people to instill a high degree of faith in them.

Additionally, those who are exceptionally trustworthy don't wait to be asked for help or assistance. They jump in and offer a helping hand -- even before it's requested.

3. They avoid gossip.

Whispering snide comments or participating in that pesky office gossip will quickly sabotage any trust you've managed to develop.

To be trusted, you need to get rid of any smoke, mirrors, or backstabbing. If you're told a secret, keep it. If you say one thing to someone's face, don't turn around and say something different. Trustworthy people understand that what other people see needs to be what they get.

4. They maintain authenticity.

On a similar note, trustworthy people make an effort to always be genuine and authentic. They don't drastically shift their demeanor or attitude based on the people that they're surrounded by.

Maintaining a level of consistency in the way you react and respond to situations -- regardless of who you're with -- will inspire a higher degree of confidence in your overall trustworthiness.

5. They under-promise.

When it comes to infomercials or paid programming, those guarantees likely go in one ear and out the other, right? Those lofty claims seem too good to be true, so you just tune them out rather than give them serious consideration.

To be trusted, you also want to stay away from over-promising -- especially if you could fall into the trap of under-delivering.

Instead, be realistic and straightforward with the claims and promises that you make. It's always better to over-deliver and exceed expectations.

6. They own their mistakes.

Anybody who attempts to sweep their own shortcomings and blunders under the rug is bound to seem shady or slimy.

Trustworthy people know this. And, as a result, they're always ready and willing to not only admit to their mistakes -- but take the necessary steps to fix them and prevent them in the future.

7. They forge relationships.

If there's one thing that the people who inspire the most trust know, it's this: Trust isn't something that's earned overnight.

So, rather than expecting to receive people's faith right off the bat, they place their emphasis on forging beneficial and positive relationships that serve as the groundwork for a high level of trust moving forward.