When Friends Reveal Secrets…

Oct 1

Some things kinda go without saying when it comes to friendship. For sure within the top 3? = Never break someone’s confidence.

*Of course, unless they mention hurting themselves or someone else.

In the last few years as I navigated a divorce, settled kids into new school districts / schools / special needs programs, fixed up and sold a home, endured (happily) growing pains in the business, worked through extended family topics…and ALL the emotions / realness around everything AND all the things as a mom and small business owner…I leaned on just a few friends to help get me through. And when I say “just a few”, I genuinely mean that. I can count on a single hand who those people are and know every detail I shared with any of them. I’m just not a big talker and like to keep my circle pretty tight.

But….the other day, someone revealed something I shared and it was taken completely out of context. (I mean completely – which is really crappy) Never mind the fact what I had to share was small compared to everything they said / shared / had experienced with this sweet mutual friend of ours. I wasn’t there to see or be a witness to what exactly they shared and took her stories as I normally would….with a grain of salt, knowing our mutual friend was going through a lot at the time…

…just like me.

Point is – our conversation was about something bigger. Much bigger.

And I have a feeling most of you reading are probably nodding your head in agreement having been through something similar…or you’re sitting on the edge of your seat. We’ve all been there and had someone betray our confidence.

It. Sucks.

The conversation came from a place of concern for someone who was going through a tough time and making choices that worried us. There were incidents or encounters that caused the pause…the consideration a true friend would take. From a place of love and concern.

When a friend is upset, I am the first to look inward to think about what I could have done to contribute to them feeling that way. Even beyond an upset friend – whether it’s a peer in business or someone working for me or an issue with communication I may have had with anyone…I start by looking inward. And crazy enough, I also consider where they may be in their life, what is happening in their world and why their sensitivities may be heightened.

Point is – no matter if you’re in a therapist’s office or sitting across the table from your friend who has something to say about someone you also care about – a similar commitment to confidentiality should be considered and upheld. Our friends are sounding boards. These are people we trust to share some of the biggest life decisions we make or are faced with. Even the small decisions. And we trust them because we trust they won’t tell anyone…and they have our best interests at heart.

Our best interests….and the feelings of mutual friends we share. Treasured friends.

You can imagine how hurt and totally confused I am when after having this conversation of concern with a fellow friend they made the choice to share it with our mutual friend….over a year later. I still haven’t come to terms with understanding the why behind it. Why a year later? I don’t know. I wasn’t there so I have no clue.

Since I can’t possibly figure it out on my own…and my friend who was told about our conversation isn’t speaking to me (I tried!)…all I’m left to do is look inward. Which is a good thing and a positive thing to do when left having to work it all out alone.

And I guess that’s why I’m sharing this topic today – there is a positive lesson to take away from all situations. Even the bad ones like these. A lesson learned. A way to do better next time.

I’ve taken steps to consider how she might feel. Of course, knowing all throughout, she hasn’t heard the entire conversation. She hasn’t spoken to me to hear my side. It hurts because I wouldn’t consider mentioning anything said by our other friend / what they shared…but only connect with her about why I am or was concerned.

Because I love her and value our friendship.

Again, since I can’t speak to her….here are a few lessons I’m walking away with, which may also be helpful to you…

LESSONS AND TAKEAWAYS THAT MAY HELP YOU

I’ve learned people don’t always recognize damage they may cause by making the decision to share something private.

I’ve learned some people love to share secrets because it makes them feel bigger while making others feel small. I know, crazy – but true.

I’ve learned people can’t and don’t always keep things private. I mean, duh – I already knew that but when these people are friends, you’re re-educated.

I’ve learned that trust is earned over time.

I’ve learned when trust is broken it gives you the control of what happens from there.

In situations such as this we lose control. The only way to gain back some amount of control is by understanding we are in control of how we communicate AND what we communicate. We control our own behavior and, most importantly, we are in control of the expectations in our relationships and friendships.

When trust is broken we are (thankfully) in control of what happens from there. We hold the choices.

We can edit what we share, choose to not be deeper friends and simply be polite, we can spend less time with these people, we could open up and let them know how they made us feel (or not…I haven’t revealed anything to them. I’ve simply moved on knowing what type of friend she is).

Sometimes though, when relationships go through challenges like this – they can make a friendship stronger. Which is what I am ultimately hoping for with my friend. So my hope is that over time she will be willing to open up a bit and communicate about it. It is the best way for apologies to be said – in person…face to face – and a stronger friendship can develop from there.

I’d love to hear your stories and tips on this topic so please leave a comment – a positive one! We’re here together to build a positive online community.

Can’t wait to hear from you guys!

I’ve been working on a few other posts similar to this so let me know if these are interesting topics to continue folding in…of course, organizing is my first love and will always be the main topic around here. But I have been working SO intimately with SO many families and moms over the years that I’ve also become a mini life coach. Love it and would love to continue to help a broader audience with these sticking points in life. I’ve been researching life coach certifications as well – which would be an awesome value-add to this business. Anyway, let me know your thoughts – because I value them!

Back soon – xx,

Sam

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  1. Carol says:

    If you need any coaching practice, my life could use all the help it could get right now. Hope you get to resolve this matter with your friend and find some closure.

  2. Kelsey Townsend says:

    Hi Sam!

    I have gone through something very similar, not only once, but a few times. You do realize what you are able to share and not share and “what type of friend they are”. You couldn’t have said it better!

    I am sorry you are going through this. You are strong, and have a good head on your shoulders. This too shall pass. And I am hoping that you and your hurt friend will overcome this and become closer. Please know your’e not alone.

    I sincerely appreciate your openness and I am always on the edge of my chair as I read your blogs, no matter the topic. You are an amazing writer and person.

    Thank you for sharing and I hope your day gets better!

    Hugs,
    Kelsey T.

    • Samantha says:

      Awe – thank you Kelsey! I was sure people could relate to this and it’s why I wanted to share….to give you a boost to know you aren’t alone along with some lessons learned / tips for how to handle moving forward.

      It’s all part of life.

      I too am hopeful she’ll come around and be willing to talk about it / repair the friendship. Thank you so much for reading and for your sweet compliments! An amazing writer?!! Way too nice of you to say – I just write as I would be talking with you in person. 🙂

      xx,
      Sam

  3. Beth McCandless says:

    Sam, I am so sorry to hear you had to go through this. But I think you are 100% spot on. In the process of going through a divorce among caring for my mom, my kids, changing work environment and many other upheavals, I too leaned on a very small group of friends. Unfortunately, I too was betrayed as they shared very intimate details of my divorce with others, including my employer. Needless to say, word spread quickly. It was a tough pill to swallow to lose my support group in the middle of this time. I’m very thankful for those who have remained constant support and loyal to their word to me. I’m not normally inclined to share with others either, but sometimes we have to lean on others. It’s healthy. I wish I knew what the balance was, but I will be very very hesitant to open up this way again.

    Xoxo,
    Beth

    • Samantha says:

      Awe Beth!!! So sorry to hear all of this. And I know when you’ve been burned it’s hard to not want to close yourself up even more…I feel the same way. I get that whole “fine I won’t share anything with anyone ever again” vibe going too when I’m hurt. But eventually I soften and come around and begin to share again – cautiously. You’ll get there…and as you said, sometimes we just have to lean on friends. We need them…and they need us. Don’t ever let it affect the great person you are!

      You know I’m here for you always!

      xx,
      Sam

  4. Lorrie Lethco Bazzi says:

    I appreciate this post!! I definitely keep a tight circle as well having been burned in the past. Fortunately the disclosures I know of were more on the minor side but they still stung. I just want friends to realize that a tender topic is usually expected to be a private conversation without having to say “Please keep this between us..” at every turn. Past experience is why I tend to keep more significant things to myself or, at most, very few.

  5. I just realized you moved via FB and have been trying to catch up 🙂 This post caught my attention, I’ve been through it and it stings. At the time I couldn’t make sense of it but kept telling myself that someday I will have the answers and guess what, 3 years later I do and WOW, things always happen for a reason. THinking of you, now off to look at your amazing new home 🙂

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