March 24, 2009

Losing Trust

Buon giorno. I have talked to you about gaining and building trust. Today, I'm going to go in the opposite direction: How we lose trust. And in that negative, I'll make it positive. Trust me.

I need to point out something fundamental. Different people will have their own experiences and "emotional baggage" or psychological scars that they bring into a situation. Someone that has been hurt and betrayed often and/or deeply will be less likely to be trusting. For instance, I am very suspicious of people at the top of The Organization because of harsh experiences that I've had. (I'm also suspicious of that guy hanging around outside, wearing the dark glasses and a long coat, but never mind about that now.)

The opposite is true as well, that if someone has had successful experiences with trust will be more willing to trust again.

When someone wants to be trusted, they can be in for a disappointment when that trust is not forthcoming. You can demand trust all you want, but it won't help. Why? Because trust has to be earned. Slowly.

"Can you give examples, Cowboy Bob?"

Soitenly. Let me pick on one of the guys in my crew, Tommy the Knocker. Tommy wants to be trusted. We'll say that Tommy has climbed up my trust ladder. Then he lost my trust again. What did Tommy do that was so bad?

First of all, he lied to me. When I ask people what they consider the first item to ruin trust, they usually come up with "lies". This is not difficult. Lying not only takes away someone's ability to make a choice, it is demeaning and insulting. Further, if Tommy lies to me, it implies that he either has something to hide, or that he doesn't trust me, either. His loss, I'm a trustworthy guy.

Second, he lied to other people. When I see Tommy lying to other people (unless he's doing it on my instructions), my suspicions kick in and I wonder if he's lied to me. Then, I wonder if he is willing to lie to me in the future. Watching how someone relates to others gives you insight into their overall character, and you may find out what a true weasel he can be, capice?

Third, he stole something. Lying and stealing are evil twin brothers. If it was from me, that's very bad. If it was from someone else, the above principle applies, and I wonder when he's stolen from me, or if he's going to steal later.

Fourth, he wouldn't stand up for me. I want loyalty from my crew. And I give loyalty. As I've said before, I'm not casual about friendship and I treat it like a commitment. If you're loyal to me, I'm loyal to you. And I think most people feel that way.

Fifth, he used manipulating behavior. My articles on control freaks get quite a few visits, and I hope they help some people. Anyway, I know quite well about manipulating behavior. It involves lying, shading the truth, hiding the truth, using emotional influence to obtain obedience — it's subtle and insidious. It's difficult to put into words, but those who have experienced it know what I'm talking about. People who pull that stuff on me, or on my friends, lose trust points with me.

Sixth, he cheated me. First, it was at cards and shooting dice. Then, he tampered with the books. After that, he borrowed my car without permission, and didn't even have the good graces to fill the tank again.

Addendum: I was so excited about doing this article that I left something out: Seventh, he hangs out with people that lack good character values. In other words, these people lie, cheat, ridicule, steal, manipulate, burn down empty warehouses, don't tip their waiters and waitresses for good service or whatever else. If your friends and associates are lacking in character, they're likely to bring you down. After all, people with good character are dragged down; you seldom hear about someone with bad character being pulled up. Bad company corrupts good morals, you know.

I've been lied to and stolen from by The Organization. Then they have the nerve to tell me to act "with integrity and honesty", and to work harder. But it's difficult to give trust and respect when I've been stabbed in the back. At least, I can gauge my trust levels with my own crew. Even thought I'm picking on Tommy, I know he's a stand-up guy and would even take a bullet for me. (Nicky would also, and he shoots back very well.)

Just remember that the old adages about trust are true, that it takes a long time to build it up, but trust can be destroyed very quickly. And people remember when they've been lied to, stolen from, betrayed, cheated, hung around people with low character, and watched someone's lack of character.

Build up your own integrity and rise above that nonsense, willya?

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