A thread breaking apart
Your propane colleagues share how broken promises & deceit undermine the foundation of relationships

Trust is the foundation of any relationship, whether it be personal or professional. It takes time and effort to build, yet it can be shattered in an instant. Here are some of the quickest ways individuals lose trust, as shared by a diverse range of voices in the propane industry. From broken commitments to blatant dishonesty, each insight offers a glimpse into the fragility of trust and the importance of authenticity in our interactions.

In this column, adopted from the familiar “Heard on the Street” format, we offer our responders a chance to answer the question posed in the title. These are their replies reported verbatim.

The Value of Keeping Your Word

Trust is important in every relationship. Once you have trust, you need to keep it. It is vital that you keep your promises and treat people well. One way to lose trust is to not follow up on something you said you would do. This goes for all your business and personal relationships. Customers trust that you will be honest and fair. Our family and friends trust that we will always honor our obligations and relationships. Once trust is broken, it is hard to get it back. Being honest, fair and reasonable will keep your trust. If that trust is broken, you need to acknowledge what you did to lose it and try to move forward. This is not easy. Again, I always use the golden rule to maintain and build trust. Do unto others as you would want done to you. This is much easier than trying to repair a damaged relationship.


Ed Varney     
Top Line Management     
McKinney, Texas

When you promise something, and you purposely do not follow through to do it. Whatever the reason may be, do not make promises that you cannot keep.

Richard Strycharz Jr.    
Walter’s Propane    
Sunderland, Massachusetts

Quickest way someone can lose my trust is to not come through on their promise or commitment made to me and not even respond with an update/status should they be late on it.

Sam Fung   
Emerson Fisher LP Gas   
McKinney, Texas

I always told my children that the quickest way to lose anyone’s trust is to lie. It takes a short time to break someone’s trust and a long time to gain it back. Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen in our house or in other facets of life, but it was always followed by a long time of having to prove oneself trustworthy again. It might not seem like it, but in the end, it is normally best to own up to a problem right away than to lie about it. (Besides, we lived in a very small town, and we told our children that many times the parents often knew what happened before their children got home!)

Susan Peterson  
Rural Computer Consultants  
Bird Island, Minnesota

The quickest way to lose my trust is when a person’s words and actions do not match, or general dishonesty.

Lauren Clark 
Bergquist Inc. 
Toledo, Ohio

The quickest way is to not keep your word. If someone makes a commitment or a promise and then doesn’t keep it, repeatedly, then they will lose my trust. Have you ever had a person make excuses? I have. When a person makes excuses, one too many times, I will distrust them. I will still probably like them — just not trust them.

Julie Johnson 
Ted Johnson Propane 
Baldwin Park, California

By failing to keep their word and by not making and delivering on their commitments.

Boyd H. McGathey 
Parkville, Missouri

I like to think that I am trusting and try to give people the benefit of the doubt. So, fool me once, shame on me, but fool me twice … well, you know how that goes. I also think intent is very important to consider. We all make mistakes, but the ‘why’ behind it is important.

Tom Krupa 
NGL Supply Terminals Co. 
Richmond, Virginia

If I feel someone is purposely not being truthful with me or just telling me what they think I want to hear, they lose my trust very quickly!

Rosie Buschur 
McMahan’s Bottle Gas 
Dayton, Ohio

The quickest way someone can lose my trust is to send me an email with nothing but a hyperlink in the body of the message.

Bruce Swiecicki 
National Propane Gas Association 
Tinley Park, Illinois

Losing trust can be a slow process, but one quick way to do so in my book is to say an obvious untruth in a group setting. You know the individual uttering the lie is counting on either no one in the group knowing the real answer, or more likely, even if someone knows a mistruth has been spoken, they will keep quiet so as not to create an uncomfortable situation. When this occurs, I mark down the offending individual in my ‘take everything they say with a big grain of salt’ column.

Leslie Woodward 
Fairview Fittings 
Oakville, Ontario, Canada

It bothers me when someone makes a promise that they don’t keep, especially when their ability to keep the promise is within their control. However, in the world that we live in today, with supply chain challenges and workforce difficulties, there are many things outside of our control. It’s totally understandable when those kinds of promises can’t be kept, but the best way to keep my trust is to let me know that something beyond your control has caused a delay. In that case, no worries and thanks for letting me know!

Jason Soulon 
Westmor Industries 
Shawnee, Kansas

Repairing Broken Trust

In the intricate tapestry of human connections, trust emerges as a vital thread weaving through every bond we create. As echoed by our respondents, the quickest path to losing this precious commodity often stems from broken promises, dishonesty or the misalignment between words and actions.

While broken trust may seem irreparable, communication and accountability offer pathways to reconciliation. As we reflect on these anecdotes, let us cherish and safeguard the trust we have earned, for in its absence, the very fabric of our relationships stands at risk of unraveling.

Christina Miller and Johnny Nickel are both associate editors for Butane-Propane News magazine. They are filling in for Nancy Coop, who is away this month.


Placing Priority on the Employee