Help! I know a secret about a friend that would hurt her feelings


Dear Friend,

What do you do if you have a secret about a friend and she asks you what is it? I think the secret would hurt her, but also I don’t want to keep things from her.

Signed, Secret Keeper



Dear Secret Keeper,

We appreciate your honesty and how much you care about your friendship. Unfortunately, there is not enough information to judge whether telling your friend the secret would be appropriate.

Where did you hear it from? Do you trust the source? How serious is this secret? These are a few factors to consider before deciding what to do. Here are a few suggestions we hope can help:

Your responsibility

Your obligation to keep the secret affects whether it would be appropriate for you to disclose it. For example, if it’s something you learned while casually chatting with someone, that’s usually safe to reveal. However, confidential information learned from a person who is an expert in the matter or who asked you to keep the information private should not be revealed without permission.

If you must keep this information private, explain this to your friend. Clearly state why you cannot disclose the information. If she persists, tell her politely to stop asking you or walk away.

Just a note – if this secret puts your friend’s safety at risk, you need to tell her so she can protect herself. It doesn’t matter if the person who told you the secret asked you not to disclose it. Your friend’s safety matters more.

How ready is your friend?

If you can tell your friend this information, consider whether she is prepared to learn it. You mentioned that the secret would hurt her feelings. We know you don’t want to harm her, but withholding information isn’t helping her very much, either.

You can’t predict the impact this information will have on your friend. Yes, it may devastate her, but on the other hand, she may be relieved to finally learn this secret; she’s probably been running through worst-case scenarios in her brain ever since you mentioned it.

Explain the potential outcomes to your friend so she can make the best choice for herself. If she decides she is ready to know, then tell her in the most respectful way possible. Prepare for the fact that she may be upset with you for keeping the secret from her.

In the future, if you learn information about someone that you’re not meant to reveal, don’t mention that you know a secret about them. It doesn’t feel good to hear your friend say, “I know a secret about you, but I can’t tell you what it is.” It makes a person question what others are saying behind their back, leading to confusion and mistrust.

If you don’t want to be in this position in the future, you can stop the person who wants to tell you a secret and say, “I would prefer not to know this information, thank you!” and change the subject.

Hope that helps, Friend of a Friend


Source: Young Post