1. Don’t overstate things or exaggerate
You want to lose your credibility with people, exaggerate. When you say things do you find yourself saying, “True story. Cross my heart.” When you start saying phrases like that, people intuitively know you’re stretching the truth. So don’t do that. It makes you look like the person I know you really don’t want to be.
2. Don’t share private information
If you are going to be trustworthy, you have to keep the private information people give you truly private. If someone confides in you, you must must hold that a sacred trust. I’ve seen pastors break trust repeatedly, making an off-handed comment, such as “Please don’t share this with anyone else. This just between you and me.” Great, they’ve already told the original person who made herself vulnerable that they wouldn’t say anything. Now they tell you and admonish you not to tell anyone. The circle of trust has just been violated and you destroy both your credibility in general and specifically the bond that was developed between you and person whose trust you broke. Everyone loses, especially you.
3. Don’t Make Promises That Can’t Be Kept
Guess what a promise not kept is? A lie. The reasons why don’t really matter. Are you confident you can deliver on something you say? No really? If not, don’t say anything. Nothing! Please don’t speculate, saying something for example such as, “I think we can have you all over sometime this spring for dinner. I’ll get back with you guys on that early next week. Sound good?” And then you never do follow up, even though you intend to and in fact said you would. Friends, don’t do that. Speculating as to when you’ll deliver on something but then never doing so turns your statements into something that will might come back and haunt you. People don’t forget your promises made but not kept.
4. So what to do?
Jesus said it clearly: “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.”