I recently spent some time talking with an old friend about how much or how little people communicate: why are people so hesitant to be honest with each other? I know that the amount that you trust the person is a major factor; how far and wide the other person will broadcast your confidence; how helpful the other person is likely to be towards actually solving the problem at hand.
But is a better question to ask “what are we trusting other people with“? Just what is it that we’re trying to achieve when we share ourselves with other people? I’d long taken for granted that to be available to listen to people, and to help them is a good thing – it probably is – but what exactly are we trying for?
I think it depends on the nature of the friendship that you have with a person. Different conversations develop with those you see daily, weekly, twice a year: the nature of “catching up” is different. Something that may be discussed at length with a friend you see each day may not even be mentioned to a friend who you only see twice a year.
Even though you may trust people to the same extent, you may end up sharing different parts of your life with them. Being a good friend will look different in different contexts.