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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
lyraa Offline
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Do I tell them? Friendship Dilemma - March 5th 2021, 03:58 PM

Last year, one of my close friends (I'll call her J) started distancing herself from my friendship group. She started eating lunch separately and also did some other things that at the time were mildly hurtful to us.

My best friend (T) and I were concerned by her behaviour and sent her a message that we wrote together asking her if she was alright and also let her know that some of her actions had upset us a little. We received no reply and over the last year we just assumed that she had gone her separate way.

Recently, J and I had a long conversation about what happened and she opened up about several circumstances at the time which had led to her mildly hurtful actions. I asked her that although that made a lot of sense now that I had context, why had she not told me and T at the time? She said that someone in the group was making her uncomfortable and had put her in a bad place mental health wise. She wouldn't tell me who it was but it was clear that she meant T.

T is one of my closest friends. He can be blunt and says exactly what he thinks without a filter. This can be offensive at times but he is genuine and that's why I hang out with him. He has often talked to me about this and worries about accidentally offending someone. He has asked me to let him know if he does so. J is very sensitive and I have noticed that at times, T has been a little rude and insensitive to J. J has asked me not to tell anybody about our conversation as it is private.

However, I feel that T would be very upset to know he had caused harm to J and I feel like I should tell him as this is something that really bothers him. He still doesn't know why J behaved like that. I know it was something that J trusted me to keep secret but as a close friend to T, I think he should be aware of this and I think he would be hurt to know I kept this from him. What should I do?
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Re: Do I tell them? Friendship Dilemma - March 5th 2021, 06:31 PM


It sounds like a difficult situation to be in and finding yourself in the middle of issues like this is always a dilemma, so I feel for you in that respect. I think it's important to maintain the confidentiality of your friend in this case though, and maybe encourage J to confront T herself and tell him how his actions have effected her. This way it would avoid you having to keep things from people, and also avoid you feeling guilty for doing so.

I think it's good to remember that although you feel T should know why J distanced herself, she ultimately trusted you to talk about these things, which it sounds like may have been hard for her to do. I would advise maintaining that trust if you can as it's clear you care a lot for your friend. She is upset about something which you haven't done, so the best thing you can do is be there to support her in healing from that. Who she decides to talk to should always be her decision, and although I see why you feel like T should know, it's a good idea to let him find out when J is ready to talk to him about it. If you were to go to him yourself, it might damage your friendship with J and upset her more.

I think it's good that T is aware ofhow he can sometimes come across, and it's good that he's asked to be called out on it when it happens. I hope that somehow that is a way for him to move into a more positive friendship with people as we all have to grow and learn from mistakes. Maybe you can let your friend know that this is something he is working on, and that it might be helpful for him to know how his words have impacted her. This might help her to consider talking to him. On the other hand, it's important to respect that sometimes, when someone has hurt us, talking to that person is not constructive to feeling better. If she decides that she would prefer to not talk to him, respecting that choice might be the best thing to do.

Either way, I hope you know that you're not in the wrong for maintaining the confidence your friend put into you. I hope you manage to find a way froward from this and that both of your friends find a way past this as well. They are both very lucky to have such an honest and caring friend, and I am sure they both appreciate you supporting them.

If you need anything else feel free to let me know!

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Re: Do I tell them? Friendship Dilemma - March 6th 2021, 10:41 PM

Your friend T sounds similar to myself. In the past I used to be quite blunt and have a very 'foot in mouth' behaviour. Meaning I would speak without thinking of how my words impact others. Learning to recognise when and how it's appropriate to speak can be difficult at times. Everyone is different and we all have different levels of sensitivity, similar to what you mentioned with your friend J.

I understand how difficult it must be, having one friend not knowing what they did wrong and also having an answer that you can't share with them. I agree with Hollie, see if you can try and get both of them to communicate. Your friend T cannot improve in his behaviour and cannot develop better ways of tactfully putting words across if nobody helps him. Right now there's no better teacher than your friend J.

Even if both end up communicating and there's no positive outcome, unfortunately this does happen. Not everybody is going to get along with one another and there are bound to be personality clashes at some point in our lives. I understand this isn't necessarily involving you per se, but it would be good to help remind both your friends of this.

The only thing you can do right now is to support them both and encourage J to communicate with T.

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Re: Do I tell them? Friendship Dilemma - March 7th 2021, 08:12 AM

Hi there,

The only advice I can give you is maybe suggesting that your friends talk to each other as T may not have realized the impact of his words or behavior have had on J. Sometimes I can be like T whereby my words and tone of voice can come across very differently as to how I want it to be. Only after someone has said something to me have I understood that what I said and how I said it was inappropriate and hurtful, to which I then apologized.

I hope this helped.

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advice, dilemma, friendship, friendship failure, friendship help

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