Why Rebuilding a Relationship Always Means Rebuilding Trust

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September 22, 2014

trustI read a good post from Seth Godin today called Two Elements of an Apology and it reminded me that when rebuilding a relationship, as we all have to do from time to time, is more than just saying you’re sorry.  Rebuilding anything takes time, care, attention and planning.  You have to be willing to look at the whole picture and accept that you have done things wrong.

This is where it gets hard.

I know that none of us like admitting that we could have handled something better.  It’s like being called to the teacher’s desk or principal’s office in elementary school.  You get this feeling in the pit of your stomach because you have to face something about yourself that you don’t like.

I think the older I get, the more I realize that if a relationship of any type (home, work or friendship) is not working, it’s not about the other person.  It’s all on me.  It’s about putting aside my own pride and owning how I could have treated that person better.  How I could have met them where they needed me.  How I could have been more helpful or supportive.

In the end, if you’ve done someone wrong and damaged a relationship, you have to demonstrate to that person that they can trust you again.  That may mean showing your vulnerable side to make it happen.  I think it will be worth it….

What do you think?

One Comment

  • I understand the principal office feeling, but you’re right – sometimes you have to make yourself vulnerable to mend torn relationships (personally or at work) and to grow as a better communicator and a better person. That’s what I like about the 2 parts of an apology post you referenced – it’s one thing to say sorry and mean it and another thing to say sorry, mean it, and learn from it. As organizations we can certainly take that advice, but as people I think that is getting at the core of self-growth.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.

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