Friendship depends on trust, not money, not power, not mere education or knowledge. Only if there is trust will there be friendship.
How many people in your world do you really trust? Now quantify that number with how many people in your world do you really trust with your life? The number decreases considerably.
It would appear obvious that trust is a crucial component to any relationship of magnitude. Whether personal or professional, without trust, the relationship can only deepen to a certain point and then it flattens out. When we know that someone else genuinely has our back, we have faith that catapults the relationship into a much more dynamic possibility. Why is that?
We can most certainly have discussions of great magnitude with people in whom we have built no trust dynamic. So trust is certainly not fully required in order to have communications of tremendous depth and meaning. Where then, does the trust component create the open boundary into new territory?
Presumably the dynamic is dictated by vulnerability. In the course of being vulnerable with either personal or professional information, we are exposing a weakness that someone who does not have moral turpitude will potentially exploit to their advantage. After we have been burned by a few people who do not share our same degree of morality and ethical boundaries, we all have a propensity to toughen up and create certain impenetrable walls that only a select few are allowed within. These are our “trusted“ few. When you discover someone in whom you may trust your deeper feelings and concerns, you are then able to change the dynamic of that relationship by venturing into less secure territory.
On a personal level this territory may include deep feelings that you would prefer most other people do not know… or it may involve secrets or experiences that you have either had or thought about that you are uncomfortable sharing on a larger scale. The same goes for business in which you might enable another party to have access to information that would put you or your business at risk.
In business, we are more likely to do this with a qualified party under the auspices that by doing so, both parties share in a greater potential together, through having had access to such private information. That dynamic in business is many times exploited by people who are unscrupulous and more willing to take full advantage of a naïve trusting party.
To the point that the Dalai Lama makes above, the only true friendship will stem from both parties recognizing that the other has your back, so that both parties create a certain degree of vulnerability and through that mutual vulnerability both parties are able to flourish.
I wrote a couple weeks ago that my vulnerability is my greatest strength. As you accelerate into the world of fighting with black belts, one of the techniques that you are taught is to offer an obvious vulnerability to your opponent. However the true technique anticipates the strike that is coming and facilitates a counter strike that disables the opponent instantly for their having tried to take advantage of your vulnerability. It is a great tool and once you master it, it is fascinating to watch the other party gravitate towards the weakness, all the while knowing you are going to punish them for having made that choice.
I was raised by an attorney who had high moral values and he made it very clear to me that a man’s word is his bond and once you give your word then you have to stand by it, no matter what. In a situation in business where you are exposing a vulnerability and you enable another party to work with you by trusting them, then no nondisclosure, noncircumvent agreement is going to be any more powerful than you having given your word. It surprises me sometimes in business when I discover I am working with somebody who does not have these moral values. In my world that is immediate cause for termination of the business relationship, because without a foundation of ethics and morality, no business relationship and no friendship is worth pursuing.