How to Know if You Can Trust Your Friends

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Can you trust your friends? Can they trust you? Find out what to look for in a friend before you share your deepest darkest secrets.

Let’s talk about trust…

Imagine the following conversation between two friends:

Friend A – “Some people should offer to read you your Miranda rights at the beginning of every conversation.” 

Friend B – “What?”

Friend A – “You know. They should come with a warning label. I am a gossip or I am a liar.”

Friend B – “Hmmm.” 

Friend A – “They should have to say, ‘You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you any time I feel like it.'”

Friend B – “That would be really helpful.”

Friend A – “Yeah, and if they don’t you could always defend yourself with . . . ‘That’s not fair, she/he never read me my rights.’

 The truth is there are people in your life who will not keep your confidences. You’re careful and put your guard up around them because you’ve been Mirandized the hard way.

But what about those people who appear trustworthy? The ones you really like? They’re your good friends?

What about them?

Last week I wrote about ways we can learn about life the easy way

But some things, like who you can trust and who you can’t tend to learn the hard way whether we like it or not and it hurts.

I have a rule I use that helps. One, I’m sorry to say I learned the hard way and something I wish I could say only took one hard way lesson. But, what can I say . . . sometimes I’m a slow learner. 

Anyway, my rule goes as follows:

If they will do it with you. They will do it to you.

  • If they gossip to you. They will gossip about you. 
  • If they cheat with you. They will cheat on you.
  • If they lie to others. They will lie to you.
  • If they lie about others. They will lie about you.
  • If they’ve taken things that belong to others. They will take what belongs to you.

I wanted to believe there could be exceptions to my rule, and even though there may be . . . I’ve learned it’s foolish to count on long term personal exemption from people don’t have integrity.

Integrity is defined as:

  1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
  2. the state of being whole and undivided.

Maybe you’ve heard it this way…

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.”

Without integrity, people do whatever works for them at the moment without counting the cost.

With integrity, well, people have the following characteristics.

Can you trust your friends? Can they trust you? Find out what to look for in a friend before you share your deepest darkest secrets.

How to Know if You Can Trust Your Friends

1. They tell the truth.

Not sometimes but all the time. That doesn’t mean they are blunt or hurtful. It is possible to tell the truth with kindness and respect.

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body, we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. Ephesians 4:25 (MSG)

2. They keep their promises.

If they say it, the mean it. If they promise to do something, they do it. Even when it’s hard!

An honest witness tells the truth, but a dishonest witness tells lies. Careless words stab like a sword, but wise words bring healing. Proverbs 12:17–18 (NCV)

3. They take responsibility for their mistakes.

They’re not perfect. If something goes wrong or they fail at something they admit it and ask for forgiveness.

People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. Proverbs 28:13 (NLT)

4. They are consistent at home, work, church, shopping, and in traffic.

They treat everyone with thoughtfulness, no matter their relationship or status.

All He does is just and good, and all His commandments are trustworthy. They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity. Psalm 111:7–8 (NLT)

5. They protect and care for the reputations of others.

They speak well of others and stand up for them when others are not.

A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence. Proverbs 11:3  (NLT)

6. They are loyal, respectful, compassionate, and faithful.

They are people you can count on!

May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you. Psalm 25:21 (NLT)

It’s really not that complicated.

You can trust people who have integrity.

Isn’t that what you want?

That’s the problem with gossip, lying, cheating, and broken promises. They all destroy trust and trust is much easier to keep than it is to restore.

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” ~Stephen R. Covey

I want to be trustworthy. I want the people around me to be trustworthy.

I’m guessing you would say the same.

Unfortunately, there are people in your life and mine who selfishly choose to do what works for them and don’t seem to care about their trust factor.

What are we supposed to do with them?

I like this quote from Rick Warren…

“Forgiveness must be immediate, whether or not a person asks for it. Trust must be rebuilt over time. Trust requires a track record.”

Can you trust your friends? Can they trust you? Find out what to look for in a friend before you share your deepest darkest secrets.

So, when you and I have been lied to, cheated on, or gossiped about . . . even though it’s hard, we forgive. Not because we’re saying what happened doesn’t hurt or doesn’t matter but because holding on to anger and resentment makes healing and moving forward almost impossible and ends up hurting us even more than the original wrong.

But forgiveness doesn’t mean your confidence in them has been restored.

Trust that takes time and in all honesty, may never be complete again.


Before you pour out your deepest darkest secrets to someone, remember—if they are gossiping to you about anyone else, you have been read your Miranda rights. Be their friend. Love them. But they are not trustworthy.

I love this quote from Jess C. Scott our goal.

“When someone loves you, the way they talk about you is different. You feel safe and comfortable.”

Aren’t you thankful for those people who make you feel safe and comfortable?

And one more thing.

Stop and ask yourself if you have the characteristics of integrity or if should you be reading your friends their Miranda rights.

“Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with every day need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just cracker jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone – deep, non-hypocritical integrity.” ~Charles Swindoll

What would your friends say?

Maybe they’d say…

The trust of a friend is a terrible thing to waste. Be careful. Be loving. Be true.

Be trustworthy and love well the trustworthy people God has given you!

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  1. My daughter who is getting married this summer is learning some of these lessons in the planning of her wedding. I’m the mother that says to her – some things are bigger than your wedding. Unconventional but true. She’s learning about other relationships. My pray is for her.

    1. Emotions run high with friends when big events are in the planning stages. She will learn a lot about her friends and you’re right other relationships, too. Praying the lessons learned are a blessing for today and into the future and that the wedding and marriage are full of joy!

  2. Great advice, Deb! I want to be a trustworthy friend. I know that might guard goes up immediately when I’m around people who gossip. It always makes me wonder what they might say about me when I’m not around.

    1. I know, Dawn! I remember in college how we’d all gather in a friend’s dorm room and when anyone would leave my friend’s roommate would always make a snarky comment and everyone laughed. Then I heard the laughter coming through the door after I left. It was the last time I joined their little group. We remained friends, I just avoided their little gab sessions.

  3. This is so true! Thank you for sharing it, and you know, if we all had the characteristics of integrity what a nice place this world would be! Your neighbor today at Women with Intention

    1. Can you imagine, Jennifer! If everyone said what they meant and meant what they said all the time . . . and did so with kindness. Mmmm, sounds like heaven! Blessings and thanks for stopping to say ‘hi.’

  4. Heather Hart says:

    This is so true! Thanks for sharing your insights.

  5. This wisdom was so needed years ago for me, I have been hurt from friendships, and yes I should have seen it before. It has taken years to be able to trust people and I am still hesitant when I meet new people. Thankfully Christ is in the transformation business. Great post! Glad I clicked on this from Coffee For Your Heart!