True blue

It’s startling to hear something you’ve shared with someone in confidence being talked about elsewhere. It makes you feel so exposed, but, more important, it undermines trust in the relationship. Perhaps keeping secrets isn’t possible, and Ben Franklin was right when he said, “Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”

But, just maybe, people should try harder to be worthy of trust. Brené Brown talks about the important elements of trust, to the acronym BRAVING:

Setting boundaries is making clear what’s okay and what’s not okay, and why

You do what you say you’ll do. At work, this means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so you don’t overpromise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities.

You own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends.

You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share. I need to know that my confidences are kept, and that you’re not sharing with me any information about other people that should be confidential.

Choosing courage over comfort; choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast, or easy; and practicing your values, not just professing them.

I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment.

Extending the most generous interpretation to the intentions, words, and actions of others.

It is important to learn which stories are yours to share, to leave the decision whether to share in the hands of the person who owns the story, and to be a safe place for your friend to come. We all need friends; let’s be good ones.

The benefit of the doubt

How often do we give others the benefit of the doubt? Do we assume the innocent explanation or conclude the worst?  Are we patient, or do we pounce at the very first mistake someone makes in trying to get their thoughts out? Do we search for the best in others, or do we protect ourselves in advance about the damage we fear may be inevitable by opening our hearts to trusting someone again?

Wouldn’t it be lovely to live in a world where everyone gave everyone else the benefit of the doubt? Where perceived offenses weren’t allowed to fester and grow? Where there was trust?

Consider this beautiful poem on friendship by Dinah Maria Craik. Isn’t this how we would like to make each other feel?


by Dinah Maria Craik

Oh, the comfort —

the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person —

having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,

but pouring them all right out,

just as they are,

chaff and grain together;

certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them,

keep what is worth keeping,

and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

To have a friend

I’ve been blessed with good friends, some friendships going back decades. What a gift it is to travel this life in the company of people who know you, warts and all, and love you. And what a sacred thing it is to be someone’s friend, trusted with their stories, their heartaches, their joys. Friendship is the glue that holds this whole crazy thing called life together.

Writer Anaïs Nin opined that “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” As Nin conveys, friendship can elicit joy, companionship, and growth—enriching our entire experience of the world.

And, as it turns out, friendship is good for what ails us:

Strong friendships are a critical aspect of most people’s emotional well-being. Research indicates that close friendships are associated with greater happiness, self-esteem, and sense of purpose. These bonds are even associated with physical outcomes, such as lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.

So, today, let’s celebrate friendship!

Here’s to good friends.


What a blessing good friends are in our lives! To laugh and cry with, to play and work with, to share the ups and downs of life. Our friends lift us up and delight us and make the world a much happier place for their being in it and for their loving us.

Cheers to good friends!

Be a good friend.


Friendships are taking a hit these days. Politics, world views, differing opinions are tearing people apart. What is it that holds people together instead? One thing is an abiding concern for the other person, despite your differences. If you can advocate against the death penalty on behalf of a stranger, couldn’t you bring yourself to see what is good and redeemable inside a former friend? Inside an enemy even? Searching for common ground is hard work, but really the main point of living in community. Isn’t it?

Celebrate your friendships.


Do you remember that spark of commonality that started a friendship? What was the spark? A shared passion, shared interest, shared way of looking at things, shared love? Something joined the two of you together and made you realize you were not alone in this universe, but that there was someone like you out there. And then as that friendship blossomed, shared moments helped cement the bond. Mutual concern continues to uplift you both. Trust lets you relax into the friendship and blossom. Today, celebrate your friendships. Without friendships, where would any of us be?