Real friends don’t lie to each other, right? That is the way a lot of us have been taught to believe. But what is wrong and what is right? Where do our responsibilities lie as friends?
I was recently faced with a bit of a pickle. Telling a friend (who, at the time, was still heartbroken over her ex) that the ex in question is, in fact, seeing someone new. And it's serious.
Not only that, but the ‘someone new’ is actually someone she knows. Someone who is almost a carbon-copy of herself.
Under the spell of ‘friends have each other’s’ back’, I told her - almost a week after I discovered the news myself, going back and forth in my own mind as to whether I should spill the beans.
What made me finally decide to tell her? A) I was a bit perplexed the entire week, yet my gut still told me I should tell her, because it’s her, B) me reasoning that I didn’t want her to bump into them somewhere and be completely vulnerable to this (rather earth-shattering) realisation, and C) I was a bit drunk.
She took the news badly, but recovered quickly saying she was glad she knew. Glad that I told her.
But was I really looking after her best interest or was I just covering my own ass? The rules of friendship clearly state that friends shouldn’t lie to each other. So was I maybe more scared of what would’ve happened if she found out I knew and concealed the truth?
It’s a chicken and egg situation, because of this massive responsibility felt by the one who holds the information. And it feels like it’s all up to the friend’s reaction - will they be happy you told them, resent you for telling them or be angry that you didn’t tell them?
Of course, there are no clear-cut, defined friendship rules, so why are we so scared of what we ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ do and why the feeling of responsibility?
I think it should be faced with your gut, and each case is unique. If you know your friend well you’ll make your decision based on what you think they would want. This friend might not feel the same once the bomb has been dropped, but they are friends with you because of you.
You know them (and have hopefully kind of assessed their approach to such situations in the past); so to some extent you will be able to predict the severity of the impact.
And listen, they are your friend, so they probably appreciate and trust your judgement. This way if you end up having a fight about whatever which truth was or wasn’t revealed, you will be able to honestly explain your decision-making process, because it will be something you felt and didn’t necessarily just do because it ‘had to’ be done.
Don't listen to others, especially those who don't even know your friend, or your friendship. You know best.
So to sum up, I would want my BFF to lie to me if she thought it was best for me. It’s just what friends do.