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Who Should I Trust?

How to make sure you turn to the right person in your hour of need. 

Putting our trust in someone else is often a leap of faith. Sometimes this pays off, but not always. There’s nothing more hurtful or potentially damaging than baring your soul to someone who abuses your trust or takes advantage of your vulnerabilities.  

Knowing who to trust isn’t always crystal clear. That’s why we’re here to help you weigh up your options and evaluate if your chosen confidante is the right person to open your heart to because making a considered, careful decision can save you a lot of heartbreak and upset in the long term. 

The Trust Checklist 

Take a look through this checklist and weigh up your chosen ‘trustee’ against each point. Be honest with yourself – if you feel unsure, uneasy or confused about any point, trust your gut. Take your time when making your decision: take a step back and think carefully about whether what you’re about to say will be met in a positive, supportive manner. Will this person offer you non-judgemental support? Will they respect your wishes? Do you trust them not to share your secrets or use your vulnerabilities against you? 

Is your trustee: 

  • Consistent? Do they behave in the same way, no matter who they’re with? 
  • Compassionate? Have you witnessed them being sympathetic or emphatic with others or with you in the past? 
  • Respectful? Do they respect your boundaries? 
  • Kind? Do they treat others the way they’d wish to be treated? 
  • Supportive? Are they there for you when you need them most? 
  • Honest? Have they been truthful with you during the time you’ve known them? 
  • Trusting in YOU? Do they confide in you? Someone who feels comfortable with confiding in you is often a good measure of how trustworthy they are. 

If you can answer ‘yes’ to most of these, you’ve found yourself a good trustee. Of course, there’s always a chance the person may break your trust or let you down, but by following these guidelines you can give your trust to someone else, safe in the knowledge that you’ve fully weighed up their character.  

How Much Should I Share? 

Now that you’ve identified your trustee, you can decide how much or little you want to share with them. The golden rule is to share what makes you feel comfortable. You may feel confident talking about school problems but not so keen to chat about relationship troubles. That’s totally OK – not every trustee is perfect for every topic! For example: you might confide in your cousin about your latest bf problems but turn to a school friend to grumble about upcoming exams. Choose the right trustee for the right situation.  

Trust is earned and grows through good experiences. It might be an idea to try sharing a little with someone to see if they are able to keep it confidential – something you’re not too worried will be passed on. If this works out well, you’ll feel more confident in sharing a little more.  

A common mistake people make is when they find a new friend and decide to trust without testing the person’s ability to keep things confidential, People often share without considering the consequences. Think about this: has the person earned your trust? Are they someone who gossips about others? If so, they may do the same when it comes to information about you. Some people just find it hard to contain information and don’t intend to cause hurt or harm when they pass it on.  

How To Deal With Broken Trust  

Having your trust broken can feel like the ultimate betrayal. If someone betrays your trust, you may feel sadness, shock, hurt and disappointment. You may feel as if you’ve lost someone special, especially if it’s a close friend or family member who has broken your trust. These feelings can be very difficult to deal with but these healthy reminders can help you process your emotions: 

  1. You are not to blame. Remember, you cannot control someone else’s actions. You gave your trust in good faith and did nothing wrong.  
  1. Forget “why me?”. It can be easy to get stuck in a loop of asking yourself “why did this happen to me?”. The fact is, you’ll never truly know exactly why someone acted the way they did but you can choose to focus on what you’ve learned from this experience, rather than wallow in the “why?”. Use your learning to help you make more informed decisions in the future.   
  1. Forgive or forget and move on. Bitterness can eat away at you over time and make you more guarded and isolated. Don’t let this bad experience hurt you even further – either forgive or forget and move on with your life. Leave this in the past and focus on your own mental wellbeing. 

If you need to talk and don’t know who to trust, don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to Childline on 0800 11 11 to talk to a trained counsellor or talk to a doctor or health professional about how you’re feeling. 

Curated by

Sian Dolan
Sian Dolan is a content writer for Hidden Strength with a background in children’s and teenage magazines. She feels it’s more important than ever to write supportive, engaging features for young adults who need a guiding light and a helping hand with their mental health and wellbeing.

Author by

Vicky Bird
Vicky is a Bacp accredited counsellor and supervisor in private practice in Hampshire. You can contact Vicky via Psychologytoday