Rules of Friendship – Trust

It may seem cliché when somebody says trust is the most important thing in a friendship, but is probably one of the truest statements ever said. Trusting someone and being someone’s friend is almost the same thing. There are multiple different examples and levels of trust that we showed to our family and friends every day. The way you trust your parents is obviously different from the way that you trust your partner on a group project in school, but it is trust nonetheless and it has to be there for any type of relationship to be successful.

There are tons of great examples of friendships that were filled with trust all throughout history. During World War II, Sir Winston Churchill and Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had one of the greatest bromances of all time. They trusted in each other that they would follow the plan that they had laid out to end the war. Each world leader did what they had to do but always stayed within the plan and always trusted that their counterpart would do the same. FDR and Churchill exchanged thousands of phone calls and letters but they only met each other 9 times. When FDR passed away, Churchill sent a letter to FDR’s wife, Eleanor, saying “I have lost a dear and cherished friendship which was forged in the fire of war. I trust you may find consolation in the magnitude of his work and the glory of his name.” That’s an amazing thing to say about somebody you’ve only met 9 times. What this shows is that trust can be built in a variety of ways. You don’t need to save somebody’s life in order for them trust you. Somebody should not need to sacrifice everything they have in order for you trust them. If 2 people have a common goal and they work toward it together trust will inevitably build.


However, not all trust is true as evidenced throughout history. The most famous example, and my personal favorite, is what happened to Julius Caesar, Emperor of Rome. One of his best friends was involved in his assassination. Brutus was a man that Julius Caesar trusted greatly. And because of this Julius Caesar right before he died allegedly uttered the words “Et tu Brute?” Greed, power and corruption led to the fall of a great relationship that was forged since childhood. I’ve always held a strong belief that people don’t change but that they just change their focus. A great criminal mastermind will make a great doctor if he shifts his focus onto medicine and away from crime because it takes work to become a successful criminal. I firmly believe that this is the reason that Julius Caesar and his buddy Brutus were able to rise to such power.

This raises the question, “What if I tried to trust someone and they let me down?” That’s a valid concern and the development of trust issues is usually a deep seeded issue that may need guidance from a family member of even a counselor such as a psychologist or a psychiatrist. My personal advice to anyone who has trust issues is to never give up. Eventually you’ll find someone that you can trust and someone who will support you. Just take it one step at a time and things usually work out in the end.

Building trust in a friendship does not happen overnight, nor does it happen within a year. It is impossible to measure how much trust is present in a friendship which means it’s impossible to track it’s development in a friendship. Throughout a friendship, situations arise, good and bad, that require a friend to prove their trust. In those times, you have to rise to the occasion and prove that you are a trustworthy person. There is no surefire technique that will build trust, no trust-falls exercise and no words can be said that will establish trust. Only actions establish trust. When it comes time for you to perform one of those actions, you have to act. If you have a friend that you think you trust and a situation arises where that trust is tested and they fail, then you should either mention it to them or begin to reconsider the friendship.

What do you guys think? Am I nuts for taking trust so seriously or am I taking it too lightly? What other examples throughout history can you think of that show a friendship founded on trust? Do you guys have any experience with trust or lack thereof? Sound off in the forum and comments!