Communication is the thread that holds relationships and organizations together, yet there are times when communication alone cannot resolve an issue. Have you ever acted in a manner that you later regretted or that caused a problem?

You look at the issue at a later date and wished you had done things differently. Your ego may have gotten in the way and you could have said something to or about another that was inappropriate.

The truth of the matter is all people act in a manner that makes sense to them at the time. Once the problem occurred, you may have tried to talk to the individual to explain your rationale, yet in most cases that will not resolve the issue. The person may be hurt and trust has been broken. The problem occurred because of the way you chose to behave, so you cannot talk your way out, you need to behave your way out. It is hard to regain the feeling of security when you are involved with someone who you believe has betrayed your trust.

In an honest relationship everything is aboveboard. You believe the other person has your best interest at heart, and they are straightforward in letting you know what they are doing and why they are choosing that action. They communicate openly with you and speak with candor. Problems occur when you find out otherwise and suspicion soon takes over. You tend to filter all your future interactions with this person to avoid being hurt again.

Although your first reaction may be to want to get even, this resolves nothing. Often your communication practices change because you now replay the other’s actions in your head to see if there is a hidden agenda or try to figure out what is really going on. Trust, once lost, may be impossible to regain. The only chance is for both individuals to be transparent and behave in a manner that reinforces their words.

If you have created the problem, you may want to:

  1. Be honest with the other person and if appropriate apologize.
  2. Ask what needs to happen to help heal the relationship.
  3. When you both agree on the next steps, communicate your intent and what the other can expect from you.
  4. Make sure your behavior is consistent.
  5. Keep your communication open, and behave your way back to a trusting relationship.

If you are a victim of a breach of trust:

  1. Try to determine if you in any way played a part in the situation.
  2. Be open and honest with the other person about your feelings.
  3. Allow the other person to change.
  4. If the behavior of the other does not change, assess whether the relationship has outlived its worth.

With work and time, you can behave your way back to a trusting relationship, but this takes consistent behavior coupled with regular honest communication.