What Is the Best Way for Your Best Friend to Earn Back Your Trust

You must both be open to reconciliation to rebuild trust.
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A friend can betray your trust in many ways, such as lying, stealing, betraying a confidence, backing someone else instead of you or not keeping his word. The severity of the broken trust can vary greatly. The way back to a trusting relationship is the same, however -- apologizing with remorse, restitution and demonstrating trustworthiness.

1 Apology and Responsibility

Your friend must offer a sincere apology, taking full responsibility for the broken trust, according to therapists Linda and Charlie Bloom in “Betrayal: It’s Not Just About Infidelity” for "Psychology Today." Blaming someone else or circumstances for the betrayal won’t cut it because it seeks to remove blame from the betrayer. If you need to know why trust was broken, your friend must answer those questions to your satisfaction, so you can get her perspective on the offense, according to clinical nursing professor JoAnne M. Saxe in a presentation on forgiveness for Women’s Health Today.

2 Validation and Integrity

When someone breaks your trust, he needs to validate your feelings. Broken trust destroys respect, love, friendship and a sense of safety and security, leaving anger, fear, anxiety and insecurity in the wake, asserts psychotherapist Bill Cloke in “5 Ways to Rebuild Trust After It’s Broken” for Care2.com. He could say, “I understand that you were angry and hurt when you found out I … and I promise not to do that again.” However, if he doesn’t follow through on his promise not to violate trust again or if his attitude demonstrates that your feelings aren’t valued, rebuilding trust will not occur.

3 Restitution and Accountability

Restitution attempts to make things right, such as returning money that was stolen or replacing something damaged. Some betrayals defy direct restitution, such as betraying a confidence or lying. For those offenses, restitution requires keeping your word, behaving transparently so your friend knows what you’re doing and giving without strings or expectation of return, advises consultant and national speaker Michael Hyatt on his website, in “How to Build (or Rebuild) Trust.” It takes patience to rebuild trust, but over time, with consistent behavior, you may trust your friend again.

4 Forgiveness and Restoration

You must forgive your friend so her efforts to rebuild trust can succeed. Forgiveness can create peace in both of you, suggests psychologist Fred Luskin in “What is Forgiveness?” for Shift in Action. Forgiveness benefits you by restoring hope, decreasing anger, improving the relationship and your physical health, decreasing your anxiety and allowing you to let go of the hurt, according to Saxe. It can restore a broken relationship when your friend does what is necessary to restore trust.

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.