Trust is one of the most important aspects of life. It is the foundation of all relationships, be it romantic, platonic, or blood relationships. And it is near impossible to live life without these relationships and without people you can fully rely on.
But what is trust? It is the firm belief in someone or something that they will come through for you in times of your need. Trust allows us to be vulnerable and open with each other.
It makes us feel safe and like we belong somewhere. As much as some of us want to be fully independent, the truth is that all of us want to belong to someone, and for that, we need trust.
According to anthropologist Margaret Mead, the very first signs of civilization almost 15,000 years ago weren’t clay pots and hunting tools. Instead, it was the femur bone. Normally, when a person breaks their femur bone, they are practically helpless and are quickly attacked by predators.
However, a healed femur bone means that that person trusted someone else to watch out for them and protect them till they healed and were able to protect themselves.
While something as powerful as trust can be hard to put into words, there are certain symbols of trust that are commonly used to relay the feeling to your loved ones.
Below are 23 of the most important symbols of trust:
Table of Contents
- 1. Freesias (European)
- 2. Blue (Universal)
- 3. Wax Seal (Universal)
- 4. Keys (European)
- 5. Claddagh (Ireland)
- 6. Elephants (Universal)
- 7. Rope Knots (Universal)
- 8. Chain Links (Universal)
- 9. Pikorua (New Zealand)
- 10. Bamboo (China)
- 11. Goldfish (Tibetan Buddhism)
- 12. Handshake (Ancient Greece)
- 13. Rectangles (Universal)
- 14. Nyame Nti (Africa)
- 15. Wolves (Native American)
- 16. Forget-Me-Nots (Universal)
- 17. Sunflower (Universal)
- 18. Anchor (Universal)
- 19. Dolphin (Universal)
- 20. Iris (Ancient Greece)
- 21. Succulents (Universal)
- 22. Lock (Universal)
- 23. Security Badge (Universal)
- Final Thoughts
1. Freesias (European)
Different flowers tend to hold different meanings, and they can be used to send different messages. If there is one flower that best embodies feelings of trust, it’s the freesia. Freesias are small African plants that tend to have bright and fragrant flowers.
Sending an arrangement of these to your friend or partner showed your trust as well as a sense of deep friendship with them.
In the 19th century, during the Victorian era, communicating through flowers, also called floriography, became a popular practice, and freesia was commonly used to show trust.
Besides that, freesias can also symbolize thoughtfulness and innocence, and depending on the exact color you choose, it can take on other meanings as well.
2. Blue (Universal)
Similar to flowers, colors can also be quite powerful as they hold different meanings. Red can instantly bring danger to mind, while green can remind you of vast fields and forests. Likewise, when it comes to the color blue, many people associate it with feelings of trust and loyalty.
There’s just something about the color that invokes these emotions. Its similarity with the sea or the sky reminds people of the unwavering faith and belief that true trust requires.
Moreover, this is also why many people use the term ‘true blue’ to describe a person who is extremely loyal and committed, making them a trustworthy person.
3. Wax Seal (Universal)
Even though wax seals are used all over now, they originated in Europe during the early medieval period. At the time, government officials would seal letters and notices in envelopes using melted wax.
Once the wax seal had dried, it was impossible to open the letter without breaking the seal. If someone who was not meant to see the contents inside broke the seal, it represented broken trust and betrayal.
As a result, a wax seal came to symbolize trust. It showed that that person trusts only those whom they might send the letter with the wax seal to.
4. Keys (European)
This is another symbol that has its roots in history. During the Middle Ages, many cities in Europe would be surrounded by high walls, and only people with the key to the gates could enter or exit easily.
Therefore, only the most trustworthy individuals were handed over the key to the city, and so, the key started being associated with trust.
It shows that the key-giver trusts them enough to give them complete access to their home or whichever place the key belongs.
Today, keys continue to symbolize trust as many couples tend to exchange their home keys as a sign of trusting each other after reaching a special point in their relationship.
5. Claddagh (Ireland)
Hailing all the way from Ireland, the Claddagh ring is a traditional ring that best symbolizes feelings of trust, love, and friendship. The meanings of the ring are clearly evident in the design.
Traditional Claddagh rings feature two hands holding a heart with a crown on top. The hands represent friendship, the heart symbolizes love, and the crown is associated with complete loyalty and dedication.
Altogether, the ring symbolizes one’s complete trust and faith in the other. It is called the Claddagh ring because it originated from a small fishing village called Claddagh in Galway.
Because of their symbolism, Irish people often use them as friendship rings, engagement rings, and wedding rings.
6. Elephants (Universal)
In the animal kingdom, elephants are one example that strongly represents trust and loyalty. If you have ever been to the zoo or observed elephants in the wild, you may have noticed how closely they stick with each other.
Elephants always remember other elephants or even humans at times, even if several decades have passed.
Their strong memories allow them to remain faithful and committed to their companions for a long time. As a result, they strongly represent trustworthiness and faithfulness between people.
Their commitment to their families and fellow elephants reminds and encourages us to remain loyal towards our own friendships and maintain that trust.
7. Rope Knots (Universal)
A common object, rope knots or knots in general, also encompass feelings of trust and commitment. A rope or knot often ties things together, and when you consider this metaphorically, this can represent the belief or commitment between two people.
When two people completely believe each other and have faith in each other’s commitment or capability, they establish a trustworthy relationship. Moreover, just like a knot in a rope is tied intentionally, trust also has to be built and earned with sincere intentions.
The tighter the knot in the rope is, the harder it is to untangle and, therefore, the harder it is to break the trust that it symbolizes.
8. Chain Links (Universal)
Similar to rope knots, chain links can also signify trust, loyalty, and commitment. The chain links intertwined with each other and very hard to break represent strong bonds of friendship or love based on utmost commitment and trust.
Trust is all about absolute faith and belief, and these chain links with their strength and sturdiness can accurately portray that unbreakable trust based on unwavering faith.
However, sometimes, these chain links can hold some negative connotations as well, such as restricting freedom.
9. Pikorua (New Zealand)
The Pikorua is a famous symbol that comes from the Maori, who are an indigenous Polynesian people from New Zealand. This is not an ancient symbol as the people didn’t have the right tools to fashion such a symbol at that time.
Nevertheless, it has gained traction now as it represents trust and life-long connections. The symbol features twisting loops intertwined with each other. Sometimes, there are two loops and sometimes three loops in ascending size.
The completely intertwined circles which are infinitely going around together represent the life-long commitment and trust that two people in a relationship have till the end of time.
Even if they face hardships, their complete trust and loyalty are bound to help them through.
10. Bamboo (China)
Bamboo is an important plant within Chinese culture for many reasons. It represents beauty, integrity, and even loneliness. Moreover, the plant is also associated with trust and loyalty.
Since the plant is essentially grass, its roots grow horizontally and intertwine with other roots underground to form a large and very intricate root pattern.
As a result, when storms or strong winds hit, the roots prevent the bamboo plant from getting uprooted. Likewise, the bamboo’s strength and resilience are similar to the kind of trust and loyalty that is expected in most relationships.
Ultimately, it is that deep-rooted trust which protects the relationship from getting destroyed during turbulent times.
11. Goldfish (Tibetan Buddhism)
Normally, goldfish are associated with wealth and prosperity. However, within Tibetan Buddhism, two goldfish together can represent trust and harmony in a relationship. According to their tradition, the vast sea represents life that is full of trials and tribulations.
The two goldfish together in that sea symbolize their strong connection, loyalty, and faith in each other as they take on life’s challenges together. These two goldfish are one of the eight famous symbols in Tibetan Buddhism.
According to Chinese tradition, different ornaments and vases bearing the goldfish symbol are a popular choice of gift for newlyweds to build the same trust and loyal relationship.
12. Handshake (Ancient Greece)
Perhaps the most obvious, and even bordering on cliché, symbol is the handshake. It is pretty much a universal way of greeting one another. However, its roots go back to ancient Greece, where it once represented trust and continues to this day, even if we might not realize it.
In ancient Greece, strangers would clasp each other’s hands to show that they are not hiding any weapons so as to build trust. Over time, during the Middle Ages, knights would shake each other’s hands vigorously to reveal or drop any concealed weapons.
The act continues to this day to show that both parties trust one another and to show that both are acting in good faith and honesty.
13. Rectangles (Universal)
This can sound strange, but rectangles somehow invoke a feeling of trust and stability as well. A rectangle has four straight sides, which gives it a simple and stable appearance. It easily registers in our minds and does not trouble the mind.
Moreover, many of the objects we use in daily life, such as our tables, phones, rooms, etc., tend to have a rectangle shape which further enforces that familiarity and trust with the shape.
This is why many brands include a rectangle shape in their logos to trigger those familiar feelings of trust.
14. Nyame Nti (Africa)
Nyame Nti literally translates to ‘by the grace of God.’ In West Africa, the symbol of Nyame Nti shows the Ghanaians relationship with God. The leaf-like symbol represents their complete faith and trust in God.
According to W. Bruce Willis, the flowy stalk of the plant represents the life of humans across cultures, and the leaves represent food that is crucial for survival.
The food was put on earth by God so that we could survive, and thus, by the grace of God, we are alive. The symbol encourages Ghanaians and others who follow the tradition to remember God and continue having faith and trust in Him to help you survive.
15. Wolves (Native American)
Another animal that strongly represents trust is the wolf. Wolves are known for traveling in packs, and a lone wolf is often considered to be weak and in danger of falling to predators.
That’s why it is so important for them to belong to a pack. However, this is only possible when the pack members trust each other. Members within a pack usually have very strong bonds. They trust each other for protection, survival, companionship, and other needs.
Consequently, wolves have come to represent similar feelings of trust and commitment to each other where one can not survive without the other.
16. Forget-Me-Nots (Universal)
Forget-me-nots are a pretty flower, but there’s more to them than just their beautiful appearance. Primarily, these flowers are associated with true love, so if someone gives you forget-me-nots, it means they truly love with all their heart.
However, these flowers also represent their absolute loyalty and trust in you. It shows their fidelity and unwavering faith in your relationship.
Therefore, these flowers are excellent when you want to show someone how much you trust them and are committed to them.
17. Sunflower (Universal)
Another flower that evokes feelings of trust and loyalty is the sunflower. The sunflower, with its tall stems and bright yellow petals, instantly makes you feel joyous and hopeful. It takes on different meanings according to different cultures.
However, due to the ancient Greek myth of Apollo and Clytie, the flower has taken on meanings of trust and loyalty as well. The story goes like this: Clytie was in love with Apollo, and he loved her too initially. But later on, he fell in love with someone else.
Clytie got jealous and interfered in their relationship. Apollo got angry and turned Clytie into a sunflower in anger. However, even then, Clytie continued to love Apollo and follow him in the sky as the sunflower follows the sun. Because of Clytie’s undying loyalty and faith, sunflowers can represent the same trust.
18. Anchor (Universal)
Anchors are a crucial object in the nautical world as they help vessels stay rooted to one spot. Besides their practical benefits, anchors are useful for showing your feelings of trust.
Since anchors help boats or ships stay in one spot, they show steadfastness and stability, even when the sea might be rough and trying to float vessels away.
Similarly, trust also requires that unwavering faith and commitment, which tends to withstand any trials and challenges faced in life. This is also why anchors or anchor-themed accessories make great gifts on occasions like Valentine’s day and anniversaries.
19. Dolphin (Universal)
The dolphin is one of the friendliest mammals out there. Its cheery disposition and playfulness can put anyone in a good mood. In different cultures, dolphins are associated with various stories and traditions and hold different meanings.
In Celtic culture specifically, dolphins are closely associated with friendship and trust as the cheery creatures strike a friendship with anyone and are quite trusting of people.
As a result, dolphins are a great symbol to represent someone who is easily trusting and friendly.
20. Iris (Ancient Greece)
The Greek word for Iris translates to a rainbow which makes sense considering the many colors the flower has. Each of the different colors holds different meanings, such as passion for purple, purity for white, etc.
The blue iris specifically is a symbol of trust, valor, and friendship. Additionally, the flower also represents hope and faith, both of which have strong ties with trust and commitment.
So, if you want to show someone you trust them or want to win over their trust, a bouquet of blue irises can certainly get the message across.
21. Succulents (Universal)
Plants always make a great gift, but when you specifically want to relay feelings of trust and loyalty, there’s nothing better than succulents. Succulents are a kind of plant that have thick and engorged leaves that allow them to retain more water.
Usually, they are a symbol of timeless love and endurance because these plants can survive for a long time even with the lack of desirable conditions.
Just like their enduring nature, succulents can represent your enduring love and continued loyalty towards someone as well and can be used to portray trust.
22. Lock (Universal)
Trust is about more than just being faithful and committed. Another aspect of trust is also keeping each other’s secrets and not betraying each other. This is where the lock comes in.
A lock can symbolize trust, as well as it protects your secrets from others. A lock is also used to secure something, and in this case, it can help secure a person’s feelings and love for each other to maintain trust in the relationship.
This is also why in some cultures, a lock is used to represent marriages as well.
23. Security Badge (Universal)
Finally, one last aspect of trust is finding trust online. Since most of our time, focus, and activity is shifting towards the digital world, we need to find trust online too to feel secure and safe. As a result, a security badge can be an important trust symbol today.
Many brands and websites feature a security badge on their page to show that you can trust them and conduct any transactions without any worry.
A security badge gives you the assurance that the right measures are in place to maintain that trust in the brand.
Whether you want to appear more trustworthy or inspire the same feelings in others, you know exactly which 23 symbols of trust to utilize to make it happen.
You can use these symbols for your platonic as well as romantic relationships. Ultimately, it will be trust only that will determine how successful and fulfilling that relationship is for everyone.
- 16 Classic Trust Symbols and What They Teach Us About Trust. https://www.trustsignals.com/blog/trust-symbols-freesias-rectangles-blue
- Plant Symbolism Guide: 31 Plants for Every Personality. https://www.proflowers.com/blog/plant-symbolism-guide/
- Finger-ring Lore. https://archive.org/details/fingerringlorehi00jonerich
- Pikorua Double Twist. https://symbolikon.com/downloads/pikorua-double-twist-maori/
Header Image courtesy: pikrepo.com