This I Believe

Chip - Birmingham, Alabama
Entered on January 27, 2008

This I Believe

I believe that the extent of a relationship between two people is directly related to the degree of trust and personal honesty conveyed between the two. Although similarities in interests, activities, personality, and other describable attributes do affect who I am friends with, I believe that even my friends whom I have the fewest similarities with have the potential to be my most personal relationships as long as each person displays their interest in trust and openness.

During the summer between my sophomore and junior year in high school, I met a girl on a bus trip that went all the way from Birmingham, Alabama to Chicago, Illinois and back. After talking with her and with her friends for long stretches of open highway, I discovered that we did not have much in common, only that we were both willing to make an effort to be friends. Our friendship continued for a short time as simply two people who acknowledged each other’s presence. This changed completely after a single conversation. However, the conversation did not lead to our discovery of common ground, nor did it reveal some similarity that we had not realized. Rather, it actually accentuated several differences in our attributes, but this did not matter. Although she told me several personal things which I did not know, the single most important thing which I took from the conversation was that she was willing to place trust in me and be vulnerable. Instead of being totally honest only with a close friend, she made a close friend by being totally honest. This was the first time that I experienced a relationship change directly from casual to close, and it was completely driven by trust. Because she stepped out the way she did, it made me feel as if I could tell her anything, and she would give me an honest response no matter what the topic.

I have now seen this occur on several occasions. Although not every relationship changes so drastically after a single conversation, the idea of complete trust has always been the common force which drives the change. Not only do I now believe that I must trust someone in order to develop our relationship, but I must also be sure to strengthen my own character enough so that I can prove myself as one who can be trusted.