Can You Rebuild Trust if You Do Not Keep Your Word?

Keeping your word makes her much happier than failing to deliver.
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Trust from others can take years to gain but can be destroyed in just a few minutes. You can break trust by lying, stealing, omitting or concealing the truth, making promises you don’t keep or by cheating on your partner. Rebuilding trust requires multiple actions, and one of the most important is keeping your word.

1 Breaking Promises

You fail to do a favor you promised to do for a friend or, having sworn not to do something, you do it anyway when you think no one’s watching. Both betray the trust of the person you made the promise to. Breaking your promise can be interpreted as not caring about the person you gave your word to, according to therapist Jeanette Raymond in “Why Does Your Partner Always Break Promises?” for Your Tango. You might also create additional work for the other person if someone still has to do what you promised to do.

2 Integrity and Consequences

Trust requires disclosure of the truth, writes psychologist Carl Pickhardt in the Psychology Today piece “Adolescent Lying: What it Costs and What to Do.” Keeping your word is a sign of integrity and makes a great deal of difference in how people perceive you. Lie, fail to follow through on promises or conceal the truth and people won't believe you, even when you are telling the truth. If your original motivation was to placate or make someone happy with your promise, any advantage is gone when that person becomes angry over your failure to keep your word.

3 Words, Action and Body Language Agreement

People will gauge your trustworthiness by whether your words, actions and body language agree. Your sweetheart asks you if you were at swim practice last Saturday afternoon as you said you would be. Your eyes shift or you bluster and blow up. You might say “Yes, I was,” but your body tells another story. You come across as unbelievable instead of honorable and trustworthy, according to marriage and family therapist Kim Romen in “How to Rebuild Trust in Your Relationship" for the website Family Perspectives.

4 Even White Lies Hurt

Any amount of dishonesty destroys the trust you are trying to rebuild, according to marriage and family therapist Sheri Meyers in “For the Betrayer: 8 Things You Must Know and Do to Rebuild Trust After an Affair” for the Huffington Post. Don’t say you liked the pie if you didn’t or that you want to go to the movies when you’d rather go to the game with your buddies. Your dishonesty will eventually come out and could ultimately cause your relationship to crash and burn around you.

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.