Courage, Trust and Integrity

“Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.”
― Miguel RuizThe Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

In friendship, as in all interrelationships, trust is a foundational building block. Trust is established through dependability, responsibility, integrity, honesty, and commitment in word and action. In a true friendship one is able to speak openly, freely, from the heart, to confide, to share things that are meaningful, and when needed to bridge the inevitable differences and misunderstanding that arise between and among people, to speak openly even if it might be hurtful or uncomfortable. Friendship is trusting that everything is said and done in an atmosphere of safety and a commitment to deepen and extend communication and understanding, to building upon commonalities and accepting and appreciating differences. No progress can be made and ground can be lost when a foundation of trust is poorly developed or crumbles. Lack of trust underlies so many of the seemingly unending, unresolvable controversies and wars because one or more of the parties will not give it the opportunity to be resolved.

Without trust, there is fear and fear destroys relationships.

We need trust to deepen our relationships, to feel safe to make plans and safe to share ourselves and our lives. Trust requires that we keep our promises and demonstrate respect and honor for the other.

The betrayal of trust can be devastating. Betrayal can take many forms such as promises not kept, unreliability, untrue or failed communication, taking the other for granted, playing one friend against the other, playing favorites, switching allegiance, mixed signals, manipulation; and, perhaps worst of all, the inability or unwillingness to be real, to unveil oneself, to be vulnerable. When one is afraid to be vulnerable, there really is no basis for trust; and relationships, even longstanding ones, can be crushed.

To develop, continue and deepen a trust relationship:
  • Be dependable: return calls and messages, be there, show up (more or less on time).
  • Be kind: when plans change, be respectful and notify the other as quickly as possible; treat the other as you would wish to be treated
  • Be fully present: really show up with your whole self, listen with full attention; create an environment for communicating respectfully
  • Reciprocate: give and take, mutually and with reciprocity. (for example: invite your friend to do things and trust that your friend will invite you too)
  • Demonstrate integrity: be impeccable; don’t gossip; keep your secrets if you must and respect your friends’ secrets; don’t minimize the other, especially to someone else
  • Have clear boundaries: discuss and be clear about boundaries; respect differences; respond honestly; working through conflict serves to make the connection stronger
  • Demonstrate commitment: reach out and stay connected with each other
  • Ask for help when it is needed: be willing to communicate when scared or confused; demonstrate trust through vulnerability


“If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. … Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”
― Miguel RuizThe Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom