What if Trust Is Gone in a Friendship?

Instead of arguing, accept that your friendship has gone off track.
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Trust is an essential ingredient in all successful relationships. When a friend breaks your trust, rebuilding that trust isn't always easy because feelings of loss and betrayal can linger. If the trust is gone in your friendship, you need to decide together whether you are willing to rebuild your relationship or whether you will walk away and let the friendship dissolve.

1 Background Check

Before you decide to ditch your friendship, ask yourself what happened to break your trust. Did your friend lie to you? Did he start a rumor or blab all of your secrets? Or, were you being overly suspicious of his actions? Understanding the reason behind the broken trust can help you to better assess the situation and figure out how to proceed. For example, say that your friend told you that he needed to borrow money to pay his rent, when he really used it to take his other buds out on the town -- repeatedly, month after month. Losing trust in your friend, in this case, has nothing to do with your suspicions and everything to do with his actions. If he isn't remorseful and willing to change, the friendship may not be worth salvaging.

2 Rebuild It

If you feel that the friendship is worth working on, start the process of rebuilding the trust. Like a romantic relationship, trust in a friendship isn't always easy to get back after it's broken. Rebuilding trust takes time, according to therapists Linda and Charlie Bloom in their article "7 Steps to Healing Broken Trust" on the PsychCentral website. Give your friend time to prove herself to you. Don't rush it or expect that you'll trust her overnight. As your friend consistently proves her trustworthiness over time, you may find yourself able to relax and trust her again.

3 Get Out

A true friend will support you and care about your happiness. If a friend betrays your trust in a major way, you don't necessarily have to mend the relationship. For example, if your best bud has been secretly hooking up with your girlfriend for the past few months, he may have broken your trust in a way that he can't fix. If you are unable or unwilling to try to rebuild your relationship, it's okay to walk away and look for a new friend who won't lie to you.

4 When You're At Fault

Trust is a two-way street. When you're the one who is at fault for for breaking the trust in a friendship, the decision to rebuild the relationship isn't always yours. If you believe that there's hope for your friendship, start with an apology. Experts with the TeensHealth website suggest sincerely saying that you're sorry and telling your friend that you'll change your behavior. What happens after your apology is up to your friend. If she thinks that she can trust you again, she's likely to let you prove yourself as trustworthy. If not, you have to accept that the friendship is over and move on.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.