We all rely on our friends for support, and we depend on them to be our confidantes.
That’s why it can be so hurtful when a friend betrays that trust or isn’t there for us when we really need them. That could be a sign that you have a “fairweather friend” or someone who’s only around for the good times. And even worse, you could have an acquaintance, friend, or relative who you can’t actually trust with the private or personal details of your life.
This can be more than an inconvenience. A 2017 study found that distrustful friendships can negatively impact well-being.
Do you have a suspicion that someone in your inner circle may not be completely trustworthy? Not sure how to figure out who to trust or not? Here are eight warning signs that you may not be able to confide in one of your friends.
It’s as simple as that. If you suspect a friend may not be trustworthy, pay attention to his or her behavior. Do they do what they say they’re going to do? Do they show up when and where you need them? Are they there for the bad times as well as the good? There’s a famous saying that 80 percent of life is showing up. If your friend doesn’t pass this simple but all-important test, it may tell you all you need to know.
Do your friends talk endlessly about the issues and problems of other people? It’s noteworthy to remember that a gossip rarely portrays his or her subjects in a positive light. It’s also unrealistic to believe that a gossip only gossips when you’re around–or that he or she holds his tongue about you when you’re not. As with many things in life, gossip is as gossip does.
You can tell a lot about how trustworthy your friend by simply paying attention to their behavior while they’re in your presence. It doesn’t take a private detective to figure out whether your friend is honest or dishonest–just looking and listening to their patterns will tell you all you need to know.
When it’s time to get down and have some fun, your friend may well be the life of the party. There may be plenty of laughter or adventure. And those are certainly important and valuable things.
But what happens when you get a flat tire and need a ride to work? Or what if you had a rough day and need to vent to someone over coffee? Does this friend raise their hand, or do they recede into the crowd? The answer says a lot about who they really are.
In a positive long-term friendship, friends will be happy for one another’s accomplishments. And not only because they are proud of you, but because the success of one group member reflects well on the entire group. If your friend isn’t happy about what you’ve achieved, they may not be fully committed to the friendship–or your best interests.
This happens all the time. Behind closed doors, the friend is kind and supportive. But when you’re in a group, they give you a bit of a cold shoulder. Which side is the real person? Does it matter? Either way, one of those two personalities is deceptive, and that’s more than enough to show a person can’t be trusted.
It’s almost too obvious to point out that if a friend betrays your trust by divulging information you said or strongly implied was confidential they cannot be trusted. But there’s another, more subtle step involved here. If you share personal, potentially damaging information with them and they choose (even jokingly) to dangle a threat over your head that they will reveal the information, that’s a power grab tactic of someone you can’t trust.
There’s a fine line between complimenting someone and overdoing it for some kind of selfish purpose. The latter is buttering someone up. If your friend is ridiculously charming, there may be a reason to suspect they have an ulterior motive. Then again, it might be harmless; this one requires a little more insight to confirm, but if it’s noticeable then it’s a red flag.
If you have a distrustful friend in your ranks, it’s certain you’ll recognize at least a few of these warning signs.
If you conclude that you can’t trust your friend, perhaps the obvious way forward break ties with them. Unfortunately, doing so may not be realistic for many reasons. Ultimately only you can determine the best course of action to deal with a distrustful friend. But understanding the signs can help you know whether or not a person is trustworthy, and as with many things in life, knowing is half the battle.
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