Posts Tagged ‘challenges’

Essential Traits of a Trustworthy Friend

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Having someone to talk to about the challenges you face is a great benefit. Ensuring that your confidant is trustworthy helps you get the most benefit from sharing.

My last post was about the reasons why sharing about challenges is helpful. I hinted at the importance of trust in that post.

I know that in my life when I don’t feel like I can trust someone it is much harder for me to share about difficult things. Or if I do end up sharing with someone untrustworthy, I often end up regretting it because of the “insult” they add to my “injury.”

Because of the vital role that trust plays in our sharing, I want to suggest some traits to look for in a trustworthy friend. People who are worth placing your trust in…

  1. Keep a confidence. There is nothing worse than sharing about something difficult only to have it blabbed to others. Those in the habit of oversharing about others’ secrets are not good candidates for sharing. If you’re not sure if someone can  keep a confidence you can start by sharing a small matter and see if they keep it between the two of you. If the person handles that appropriately you could work your way up to sharing about bigger concerns.
  2. Respect you. These people take you “warts and all.” They’re not trying to change you or place impossible demands on you. They get that life in Christ is always, always a work-in-progress and they care enough to walk side-by-side with you as you progress through yours.
  3. Follow up. Sometimes I have shared hard things and the person I shared with never mentions it or seems to have forgotten I shared it. It matters to me when friends remember details and ask loving follow-up questions about things I’ve shared with them. Their follow-through demonstrates their care for me.
  4. Keep it cool. Whereas appropriate and loving follow-up is helpful, bringing up a challenge to shame you is not. Folks who use your foibles against you are not good candidates for a trusting friendship. Look for people who encourage you forward rather than berate you for where you’ve been.
  5. Share with you. Quite often the best, most trusting friendships for me are the ones where both parties share about challenges they face. When this is lopsided, it can create a sense that the less-open party is superior to the one more likely to share. While my struggles may not be the same as my friends’ struggles, I know they have them too. I feel better about sharing mine when they share theirs. This mutuality is a real gift.

These are a few of the traits that I look for in a trustworthy friend. I hope this list helps you as you consider who you can trust.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like these other posts about “How Christian Community Helps us Face Challenges.” (Please click the titles below to go to the posts.)

4 Simple Reasons Talking About Hard Stuff Can Enhance Your Life

3 Different Challenges and the Types of Responses Needed
What an Active Listener Does & Doesn’t Do

4 Simple Reasons Talking About Hard Stuff Can Enhance Your Life

20131030-194041.jpgIf there’s one thing I’ve gotten a bit of a knack for it is admitting that I don’t have everything all figured out. I’ve become rather at ease identifying and discussing challenges in life.

These challenges can be anything from disheartening health concerns to outright sin. Sometimes challenges we face are beyond our control, and sometimes we bring them on ourselves.

I’ve tried to be honest about some of my challenges here on the blog. They’re part of my resume as someone who seeks to live with integrity and I think it is important to share about them as part of the total package of what it means to live out our faith.

I’m not saying everyone should get a blog to blab out their baggage and angst to the interwebs. But if that’s helpful to you, then go for it.

More importantly though, I believe firmly that we need people in our lives–people that we trust–with whom we share about our challenges.

Here are four reasons I think talking about challenges in life can be of great benefit:

  1. We’re not alone. The more I talk about my challenges, the more I find solidarity with others. While each person’s challenges may be unique to their situation, I find that the reality of hardship is universal.
  2. Sharing feels better. Denial of challenges can eat us up, steal our joy and keep us from experiencing all the fullness of life in Christ Jesus. By contrast, talking about challenges with someone trustworthy can be a great relief.
  3. Talking is a constructive outlet for concerns. Secrets have a way of festering and fueling negative thoughts and behaviors. Talking about challenges with someone trustworthy gives us a safe place to let it out.
  4. The truth sets us free. When we’re saddled under the weight of our challenges it is hard to be fully present with others. Sharing our burdens can free us up to see and respond to needs in the world around us.

This is why I continue to talk about hard things on my blog and in my personal relationships. I hope you too will find strength and hope by sharing about your challenges with someone you trust.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like these other posts about “How Christian Community Helps us Face Challenges.” (Please click the titles below to go to the posts.)

 

Essential Traits of a Trustworthy Friend

3 Different Challenges and the Types of Responses Needed
What an Active Listener Does & Doesn’t Do