When it comes to sharing secrets it's best to either be upfront of keep your lips sealed.
I had an incident a few years ago where a close friend of mine was in a relationship with a guy who flirted with me when she wasn’t around. I made the decision to not say anything to my friend for a few different reasons:
- I addressed her boyfriend and let him know that it would never happen and that I thought he was disgusting.
- My friend already caught him cheating on several occasions and stayed with him, so she wasn’t clueless to his behavior.
- I didn’t want our friendship to be awkward if she decided to stay with him.
- I knew he wouldn’t admit it and it would become my word against his.
Ultimately, who wants to be the person to break up a “happy home?” And in this instance in particular, she had already lamented over emails, text messages, and late night phone calls with other women. She knew the deal, and she wasn’t going to leave until she was ready.
Of course, I argued with myself that perhaps this made me a terrible friend. Wouldn’t I want to know if the shoe were on the other foot? Even if this ruined our friendship, couldn’t I sleep better at night knowing that at least I did the right thing?
I dropped hints here and there that I didn’t think he was the right one for her. When she complained about him I agreed enthusiastically and when he would go missing for hours at a time I reminded her that she didn’t deserve this. I felt so guilty about letting him get away with it, I told one of our mutual friends thinking she would agree with my decision.
Well, she thought I was dead wrong. “How could you not say anything? He’s so disgusting, and that’s supposed to be our friend! That’s just as bad as if you would have f*cked him!”
This only made me more defensive. I didn’t think I was a bad friend for keeping that to myself, and I started thinking maybe I misinterpreted his intentions. Maybe I made it a big deal in my head when he told me we should hang out sometime without anyone else around. But now I had this loose cannon who might tell our friend what happened, and that would make me look even worse like I was contemplating taking him up on his offer.
In hindsight, if I had no intention of revealing this information to my friend I should have never said anything to anyone. There was no telling who she was spewing the story out to, and how much she would exaggerate what I was trying to downplay. I ended up having drinks with my friend and giving her a watered down version of what happened in case she was about to hear it somewhere else. And guess what happened? She’s still with him, he hates me now, and our mutual friend thinks I can’t be trusted. Ideally, she would have left him and expressed gratitude to me for having her back but realistically I should have just kept it to myself.
Angela Yee is the female voice of the nationally syndicated morning show "The Breakfast Club."
Check out what happened this week when Mary Jane told her friends a secret that she might wish she kept to herself: