The next time you lose trust in someone, try taking these steps towards equanimity for yourself and to avoid making the situation more damaging:
1. Let the full emotional effect of the betrayal sink in, yet don’t re-run the scene more than three times.
2. Step into the other person’s shoes to see the interaction their way. Is this a pattern in his behavior towards you or is it an anomaly?
3. Look to the part of that person’s potentially positive intent, especially when she appeared to have none in that situation. You will see the whole picture more clearly and calmly.
4. Praise the part of that person’s behavior you want to reinforce and to flourish. Ironically, this is one of your most self-protective tools in such moments.
5. If you want to maintain the friendship, ask her for a time to talk. Then, in factual, non-blaming language, describe the specific behavior that bothered you. Next describe your feelings. Then wait for a response.
6. Listen closely and with an open heart and mind to the answer. If your picture of her actions was accurate, and if she is solely defensive -without offering a change in behavior, then you have learned a lot.
7. If someone breaks trust with you twice it is highly likely there’ll be a third time so why place yourself in that position? My friend Paul Geffner told me once that a key to cultivating healthy relationships, with each person who comes into our life, is to recognize, over time, the optimal distance in which to hold them. And events can happen where their actions — or ours — can shift that distance.
8. Consciously choose your distance while acting to bring out their better side: Speak to their positive intent, especially when they appear to have none. Recognize that you always have three choices in most any situation: Change how you act towards that person, accept her behavior or leave the relationship.