Bits of Life Missed Worth Exploring

What is Trust in a Good Friendship?


In a podcast interview I recently heard, David Hassell (CEO of 15Five) defined trust in a work environment to have three components: sincerity, reliability, and competence. Sincerity implies honesty, authenticity & true caring. Reliability describes that you can be counted on. Competence defines that you have the skills to complete the work. When any of the three are missing, there is no trust in a work environment.

I found this interesting. But what about trust in friendships? It’s implied that good friends trust each other immensely. The bonds between them are quite strong.

For good friends, this explanation of what constitutes trust in a friendship doesn’t fit. Competence is irrelevant. Reliability feels too mechanical. Sincerity is not directly needed for there to be trust in a friendship. I could have a good time with a friend but never have our conversations get past things we both enjoy (think of sports or friends we see at our favorite bar every week).

Safety comes to mind as a necessary component needed in friendship. No matter how we act or what we say, our friend is always there to hug us. Never judging. In fact, not even caring when we are truly ourselves when by their side. There may be honest feedback but no piercing criticism meant to destroy or put down anyone amidst good friends.

Presence fits better than reliability in a friendship that is trusted. Always being there for a friend in need. Answering a text or call with a smile waiting anxiously to learn what will be shared.

Interest, would be my third component, to maintain the bond of friendship. Caring for the other person’s well being. Demonstrating the value of the friendship by reaching out to say hello. And that there are things we share that are both similar as well as important to both of us.

Relationships need watering to thrive. Without safety, presence and interest they die. All three components are present and vibrant when together with good friends.

Sounds simple but rare. Think about your really good friends. They check all three boxes. Most don’t. Either we don’t have the time to be present to many on a one to one basis (limited bandwidth), maybe our interests don’t really intersect well, or we don’t feel comfortable opening up to another person and therefore don’t feel safe to always be who we truly are.

Remember safety, presence, and interest. Simple ways to become better humans to those around us. Nurturing trust and building new bridges along the way.

Bits of Life Missed Worth Exploring


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