As much as we all like to act and believe that we’re self-sufficient, there are some times when we need someone to rely on. Whether it’s to get advice on a dilemma that you’re facing or get a listening ear so you don’t have to feel like you’re carrying the burden all alone, confiding in someone is an important part of our lives as humans.
Knowing that somebody out there genuinely cares for you, and knows exactly what you are going through can be lifesaving.
However, the thought of confiding in someone can be scary. So scary that you don’t want to do it.
How can you be sure that the person you’re confiding in is someone you can trust? After all, if that person betrays your trust, it could make things worse.
Let’s take a look at seven ways that you can use to decipher if the person that you’re considering opening up to will be trustworthy.
They’re Compassionate and Empathetic
This is should be a key personality trait of anyone you’re considering opening up to. Compassion and empathy are two key traits that they’ll need to identify with your struggle. This goes further than the way they make you feel.
A compassionate person will show you concern and sympathy, as well as give you a safe space to fully express yourself. Additionally, an empathetic person will put themselves in your shoes, and try to understand how you’re feeling. These two qualities will make it easier for the person to truly connect with and understand you.
To illustrate the difference between compassion and empathy, think of this example. You’ve fallen into a hole. You’re not physically hurt, but obviously traumatized by this experience. In a situation like this, a compassionate person will allow you to express yourself to them, and help you to see the brighter side of the situation.
However, an empathetic person would climb down into the hole with you. Instead of giving you solutions, they would feel along with you and cry when you cry. Clearly, having a friend who is both compassionate and empathetic is important.
You’ve Witnessed Them Help Others in Similar Situations
They say that the easiest way to discern the qualities of another person is to observe them in their day-to-day life.
Does the person you’re thinking of confiding in have other friends who feel comfortable opening up to them? If not, do they display compassion and empathy for others in their day-to-day lives? Have you witnessed them do this?
If so, that’s a good sign. You’ll want to choose a person who will know how to respond to you, not look at you strangely because they are not used to expressing empathy and compassion.
They’ve Never Told You Their Friend’s Secrets
Again, someone’s behavior tells you a lot about the kind of person they are. If you’re considering opening up to someone, but they constantly talk about things that their friends have told them in confidence to you, there’s a great chance that they will do the same about whatever you tell them.
This also applies if they go public with confidential information if they end up on bad terms with one of their friends. Look for somebody who is trustworthy in the way they handle the information they have about others.
They Don’t Push You to Open up and Respect Your Boundaries
A trustworthy friend isn’t eager to dive into your personal life. You guys should have a lot to talk about outside of your personal problems and difficulties. You shouldn’t feel pressured to open up to them, and they shouldn’t violate boundaries you’ve set.
A great friend doesn’t find pleasure in hearing about the problems in your life, and you should be able to maintain a conversation with them, without discussing sensitive matters.
They’ve Confided in You Before
A good sign that you can open up to an individual is the fact that they feel comfortable confiding in you.
If you have previously been a listening, empathetic ear for one of your friends going through a tough time, then it only makes sense that you could ask the same of them. In fact, it is expected.
They’ve Given You Good Advice Before
Friends who give you good advice are priceless, so if the friend you’re thinking of opening up to has previously given you great advice after you told them about a problem you were having, then it follows that you’d be able to open up to them again.
They Try to Integrate You into Their Friend Circle
You can learn much about the way a person feels about you in the way they try to integrate you into their life. If you know their friends and have been welcomed into their social circle, chances are that they value you as a close friend.
That means that they wouldn’t rashly do something that would risk your friendship, making them trustworthy. The length of your friendship also plays a role.
They Can Sense You’re Going Through a Hard Time
Lastly, an empathetic, compassionate friend will also be aware that there’s something bothering you. If your friend is able to pick up that you’re going through a hard time, even as you try to hide it, chances are they care about you and will want to be a listening ear. When they reach out to you, you’ll be able to discern their intentions.
These eight signs will help you identify people in your life who can help you carry the heavy burden that may be weighing you down. Having people that you are confident that you can trust is life changing.
While good friends are important and almost essential when you’re going through a tough time, remember that nothing can replace professional help. If you’re having thoughts of hopelessness or suicide, reach out to a licensed therapist or your nearest suicide prevention center.
Nothing beats getting real help, especially if your burden feels too heavy to carry.