Do I trust my new friends and do they trust me?

Jan 21, 2024 | Insights

Assess your personal social trust rating as you build a new group of friends to replace the school gate crowd.
The Post Office scandal, one of the most significant miscarriages of justice in the UK, revolved around the Horizon computer system used by Post Office branches. The system, introduced in 1999, was found to have defects that caused discrepancies in accounts, leading to numerous false accusations of theft, fraud, and false accounting.

The scandal has done yet more damage to the trust we place in our institutions. Arguably, the damage has also seeped into our social life and establishing confidence in new personal contacts has become more challenging.

However, trust is essential, especially for empty nest parents looking to build new friendships and connections to replace their familiar school gate community. And participation in a trustworthy and supportive community can lead to a longer and healthier life. As the New York Times article asks, “What are friends for?” Answer: “A longer life.”

Evaluate trust in new acquaintances

Here are a few signposts

  1. Consistency and Reliability: Look at the track record of your new friends. Are they consistent in what they say and do?
  2. Integrity and Honesty: Assess whether your friend’s actions align with their values and moral compass.
  3. Openness and Communication: Your new friends will communicate openly and not hide important information from you.
  4. Empathy and Compassion: Look for early indications of empathy and compassion, which suggest your friends will be supportive in times of trouble.
  5. Capability: It certainly helps if you know your friends have the strengths, skills and willpower to act when required. Aret tey radiators or drains.
  6. Mutual Relationships: Trustworthy individuals often have stable and long-term relationships. Do yours?
  7. Gut Feeling: Remember your instincts. Personal intuition can be a powerful tool in assessing trust.

Combining these factors gives you a more rounded view of an individual’s trustworthiness.

It takes time to build trust

Remember, trust is not just about believing in someone’s goodness but also their competence and reliability in specific areas. Each of these criteria should be weighed according to the context and the nature of the relationship you are evaluating. Remember that trust is strengthened with time, so start slowly and gradually increase commitment as trust is established.

Evaluate your own trustworthiness

Of course, friendship is a two-way thing, so remember your newfound friends will make a similar if less formal, assessment of your trustworthiness. Sure, apply these criteria to your friends, but it’s a good idea to apply them to yourself at the same time.

Take this quick, free scorecard to assess your own social trustworthiness.

I'm Jeremy Deedes. I coach experienced independent consultants who are overwhelmed by the demands of life and work. Through my unique FUTURE program, clients become financially mature and organised and create a plan to achieve their personal, professional, and financial goals confidently and clearly.

Discover your money maturity score by taking the Money Maturity Quiz at It’s free, takes only a few minutes, and you will get your score and recommendations by email immediately.

Then, use the link below to schedule a free 20-minute call with me so we can start you on the path to understanding your money and creating a new story to tell your family and friends.

Photo attribution

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Audio link

Other attributions and references

Parker-Pope, Tara. “What Are Friends For? A Longer Life (Published 2009).” The New York Times, 20 Apr. 2009, This article also includes academic research references on the importance of friendship and social networks in overall health.

Taking it further

Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Timothy B. Smith, and J. Bradley Layton (2010)

This landmark study, published in the journal “PLOS Medicine,” provides a comprehensive analysis of the impact of social relationships on mortality risk. Holt-Lunstad and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 148 studies, encompassing more than 300,000 participants. They found that individuals with stronger social relationships had a 50% increased likelihood of survival compared to those with weaker social ties, underscoring the significance of community and social connections for longevity and health.

Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., & Layton, J. B. (2010). Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLOS Medicine, 7(7), e1000316. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316

Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality: A Meta-Analytic Review by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Timothy B. Smith, Mark Baker, Tyler Harris, and David Stephenson (2015)

In this research published in “Perspectives on Psychological Science,” Holt-Lunstad and her team investigate the effects of loneliness and social isolation on mortality. The meta-analysis includes 70 studies with over 3 million participants globally. The findings reveal that both loneliness and social isolation significantly increase the risk of premature mortality, highlighting the critical role of community engagement and social connections in promoting health and well-being.

Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., Baker, M., Harris, T., & Stephenson, D. (2015). Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality: A Meta-Analytic Review. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(2), 227–237. doi:10.1177/1745691614568352

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