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The priceless quality of trust: once lost can it ever be fully regained?

Updated on May 14, 2012

What is trust?

A basic definition of trust is 'the firm reliance on the integrity, ability or character of a person or thing'. Such a simple sentence to encompass such a large remit. Trust is, quite simply, priceless.

Once it is gone you can never get it back, however hard you try. We trust the significant others in our lives not to play fast and loose with our hearts, we trust them not to betray the faith we have in them. And they do the same with us.

Often though, things go wrong and they fail us ... or we fail them. But however fleeting the lapse, the trust is gone and can never, ever be fully regained. There will always be that seed of doubt, that worm in the apple. In a romantic relationship this is very often the seal of doom and even if the relationship doesn't immediately founder it can only really limp on with a mortal wound.

For when trust is broken, it also, irretrievably, takes respect with it.

Trust is essential in all areas of life.
Trust is essential in all areas of life. | Source

The halcyon days of trust.

Okay, we all know about broken trust in relationships, it is relentlessly the stuff of soap operas. But what about trust in everyday life? We have all heard the stories of the good old days when our parents and grandparents used to leave their homes unlocked when they went out, when the door was open to all the neighbours and when you lent someone something the kindness was returned ... with interest.

Halcyon days, perhaps. And in some rare instances these conditions still prevail; the village I live in for example. But this is not now the norm.

Thoughts on the nature of trust.

Once upon a time when gentlemen made a verbal agreement and shook hands on it, there was an unshakeable trust that the deal would follow through. Any default and the defaultee was labelled a cad and a bounder and shunned by polite society. Nowadays they will always find a job in banking. Excuse my flippancy, it's just that I am selling my house and the overwhelming lack of trust shown by our buyers has made me truculent.

I like to think of myself as honourable at this late stage of my life. If I am given too much change, I return it. If I give my word, I stick to it even if I lose out by doing so. It has taken me many years to hone such scrupulous honesty and it really galls me that the buyers of our cottage seem so distrustful of us.

Oh, I know it is best to get everything down in writing. I know their conveyancer will be stipulating that everything is double-checked and that we are tied up with as much bureaucracy as possible. But it just makes me feel that if there is so much as a chip in the paintwork they will sue me on their moving in. I guess I feel aggrieved because they are getting a great deal from us and it feels as if they can't really see it.

Worse than that, it feels as if they think we are being underhand and devious in some way and I find this lack of trust incredibly painful.

The fiscal cost of the lack of trust.

So trust is fragile and easily lost. It need not be an extra-marital affair or a dodgy business deal that destroys it. It can be something as simple as a spelling mistake. If you have a website on which you sell items, just one spelling mistake can cut your online sales in half. And you know why? Because the buyers don't trust the website.

Spelling mistakes damage the website's credibility. And lack of credibility reduces sales ... by around 50%. Consumer trust, it would appear, is even more fragile. I bet you never realised that good spelling skills were so vital to trust and, ultimately, financial viability. Well, it seems they are.

And if you don't believe me, the research that proves it is here on this link

Final words on trust?

Never toy with it. Never treat it lightly. Always be aware that it is irreplaceable. It is a much underrated commodity ... until it's gone.


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