My friend told me something in confidence, and it was a heavy-burden type of secret. She specifically asked me not to tell anyone. But I felt like I needed to unload it, and I did tell someone; however, it was someone who lives far away and doesn’t know my friend. She swore she wouldn’t tell a soul (and I believe her).
But I feel so guilty and worry that even though the chances are absolutely minuscule that my first friend will find out, I live in constant fear that she will. What should I do?
Up at night
Dear Up at Night,
Try to remember this feeling the next time someone asks you to keep a secret, regardless of how big the burden is. You can always say, “I find keeping secrets that weigh on me very challenging, so I’d prefer not to know if your secret must be kept at all costs.”
However, most human beings relish knowing secrets and granted, most of us are pretty bad at keeping them. This is why it is slightly unfair to even ask someone to keep such an important secret. I believe that if you tell just one person a secret, you risk it getting out, no matter how much someone says they will keep mum.
I know someone who was having an affair (for seven years!) and only told one friend. This friend never told a soul. When this woman left her husband for her affair of seven years, and it came out that only this one friend knew, all her other friends were incensed that they weren’t told. Just goes to show, you can’t win for losing.
Generally speaking, secrets kind of suck. If your guilt of spilling your friend’s secret will only be assuaged by a confession, then gather your courage and give it a go, along with a deep apology. If enough time has gone by, all may be forgiven. But just in case, bring some triple chocolate brownies with you.
My friend broke up with her boyfriend three weeks ago. Today I saw him on a dating site. Should I tell her?
Would she care?
Dear Would she,
I think not. Since they have split up, they are both free to date, not date, or do-si-do naked in the town square should they so choose. As long as you aren’t thinking of swiping right on the guy, I’d let this sleeping dog lie.
I’m hosting a friendsgiving, and I’m allergic to nuts. Everyone is bringing a dish. One of my friends wants to bring his grandmother’s brussel sprout and hazelnut dish. As a gracious host, I could, of course, just skip the dish, but at the same time, I would like to be able to eat all the dishes at my own table. Is it ok for me to ask him to omit the hazelnuts or make a different dish?
Don’t wanna be too nutty about this
I have the perfect solution: ask your guest to make his dish with the hazelnuts on the side so that those who can eat them, will, and those who can’t, can still enjoy the dish. I believe at this point, everyone is used to accommodating the many nut allergy, lactose intolerant, no gluten, FODMAP, low carb, and paleo diets, just to name a few. My guess is that he will be happy to accommodate you, and you will all enjoy a delicious, wonderful meal together, nuts and all. Have a wonderful holiday!
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Monday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at firstname.lastname@example.org.