7 Ways to Destroy Trust During a Conversation

Our responses tell us a lot about our listening skills. Imagine you’re having coffee with a friend and your friend tells you:

“It is getting hard to keep things in balance. What I need is 30 hours in the day! I just don’t have time for work and family — there just aren’t enough hours. And the demands — they never stop. Seems like everyone wants a piece of my time.”


Here are seven typical responses that may destroy trust in the relationship.

  1. “You know that things will work out. Things will get better — they always do.”
  2. “You take on more than you should. You’re trying to do too much.”
  3. “You should look at the work demands, set some priorities, and commit to your family life.”
  4. “Have you thought about taking a time management workshop?”
  5. “You’re feeling guilty because you want to satisfy everybody. This is part of our desire to be liked.”
  6. “It’s really tough. I know how you must be feeling. I’ve felt that way myself”
  7. “I know what you mean. I had a situation like this about six months ago. I was overwhelmed it was terrible. Here’s what happened…”

In our desire to be helpful and want to fix things for people we often response as…

  • The Expert– offering unsolicited advice, guidance, correction, or telling them what to do…
  • The Cheerleader– Sympathize or minimize what happened…
  • The Shrink– Judge and assign cause to someone or something…
  • The Diva– talk about ourselves, tell our story, and make it about us

Listening is the key. And the skills are not hard. For example…

  • Acknowledge what you heard them say.
  • Ask questions for clarity.
  • Use simple words and supportive tones.
  • Withhold any advice for now.

Using these simple skills will change your relationships. Try it. Email me at clfields@snet.net and let me know how it went.