04/30/2014 08:19 am ET Updated Jun 30, 2014

7 Ways to Lose Trust

Trust is the lubricant for all relationships. People are perpetually evaluating our trustworthiness. When we have their trust we move through things quickly; we make progress. But once we lose someone's trust we attach a slowing weight to the possibility of ever making progress.

Some people may be more trusting than others but regardless of whom you are dealing with, here are seven ways to lose trust:

1. Be selfish:
The more you pursue your self-interest, the less I can ever believe that you'll take mine into consideration. And if you aren't looking out for me, then how could I ever trust you?

2. Be protective:
True trust reciprocates. Yet, if there is something that you have that you are holding onto as "yours" then that means it will never be "ours" which means we aren't sharing and we aren't in this together. If you want my heart, or my money, you need to first share yours.

3. Be ungrateful:
Granting someone the gift of your trust is a demonstration of incredibly vulnerability. And there is no faster way to cause someone to close off their heart to you then when you don't acknowledge their gifts and at least their attempts to satisfy you.

4. Be self-centered:
Selfish means "keeping things to yourself" but self-centered means "thinking only of yourself." Neither one works for building trust because if we are going to have trust then I need to know that you are considering my point of view and how the impacts of your choices will affect me. Trusting a self-centered person is a voided one-way street.

5. Be passive aggressive:
Having an issue and not confronting me on it directly isn't grace. It's betrayal. Betrayal is the opposite of trust. Trust isn't developed from the absence of conflict, but from developing a healthy process for resolving it. Show me you have the courage to work through our problems and you'll always have my trust.

6. Be negative:
If you know someone is always looking at the down side then it's hard to think that they'll ever give you the benefit of the doubt or that they'll support you and your dreams. Which is why negativity directly destroys our willingness to have faith in another. You can choose to be negative or you can choose to have my trust but you can't have both.

7. Be incongruent:
The foundation of trust is strong integrity. It is seeing someone live out and execute the things they say they will do, over and over and over again. A person with integrity is a person that can be counted on because once they tell you they're going to do something, it's as good as done. Always follow through and don't forget that every word and every promise matters.

Trust is the great accelerator to all of life's missions. It is the explanation of extraordinary success between two people and the root cause of monumental failure between two others.

There is no replacement for trust and no easy way to get it back once you've lost it. Trust me.

Rory Vaden, MBA is Cofounder of Southwestern Consulting, Self-Discipline Strategist and Speaker, and New York Times bestselling author of Take the Stairs.

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