When a Friend Expects Your Secrecy.. But You Think Someone Else Needs to Know

I’ve been writing about my experience with a trusted friend, whom I felt had betrayed my trust. Read the first post, “The Kindred Spirit Friend,” and the second, “The Trust Factor: Broken”

Please forgive me if this posts starts like one of those personality quizzes in Seventeen Magazine!

So here’s the scenario:

  • Your very close friend shares something that she’s been feeling. She admits it is not necessarily right-thinking, but it spills out of her heart in a low moment.
  • She really needs to talk directly to another party about this issue, and she admits as much, but either doesn’t have the courage yet, or is confused in some way.
  • You feel conflicted, because you really believe the right thing would be for your friend to converse with the parties involved.

What are your options?

  1. Keep it to yourself completely, ignoring your strong feelings about what your friend should do. Just pray for her, and all parties.
  2. Go tell the person yourself. After all, it’s clear your friend doesn’t have the guts yet.
  3. Tell your friend how you feel, and that if she doesn’t communicate with the right people, you will be compelled to do it.

Which one would you choose? Which one have you chosen?

I believe the appropriate response would be number 3. I just feel that someone’s trust is such an intimate and delicate thing, you have to do everything to protect it. People are sometimes wrong. Sometimes people will vent to you and share something they shouldn’t. Have you ever done it? If you’re a woman, chances are you have!

This type of thing happens with my children, as well. I want them to trust me explicitly, but I let them know that I do not keep secrets from their daddy. Last week, Princess came home with a behavior issue, and she whispered it in my ear. She said she didn’t want daddy to know. I gently told her that I would not keep her secret, but that I would stand with her as she told her daddy. That meant so much more to her than if I’d have walked away and told him behind her back.

There is a time to listen, support, and pray. There is a time to talk to your friend about hard truths, even when she’s wrong. But in my opinion, there is never a time to go behind her back when there is an expectation of privacy.

What do you think?

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About Sarah Pinnix

I'm a mom, blogger, vlogger, libertarian. I love Jesus, and my husband, too. Social Media Strategist for a Non-Profit (All statements here are solely my own)


  1. Muthering Heights says:

    I've been enjoying this series…I can relate!


  2. I would go so far as to say that I don't think it is ever a friend's responsibility to go to someone that you have a problem with. I would vote for telling you how i feel and what I would do in the situation and letting you know that I will pray for you. Then I would hold you accountable in your actions towards that person, but really your friend should never rat you out unless you are planning on doing bodily harm to yourself or someone else. :)Love your posts on this. Something everyone faces but doesn't always talk about


  3. Janel@Dandelion Dayz says:

    Wow. I guess it would depend on the situation. If the other person needs to know because it will harm them in some serious way, then I would say option #3. In all other circumstances #1. A friend's confidence is like gold.
    I agree with Heather again 🙂
    Keep your friend accountable but don't share with others.


  4. Painter Mommy says:

    I often have woman confide in me because I tend to be a good listener as opposed to a talker. I am more the type to keep things to myself unless I have to vent to someone like my mom.

    But just recently I had a woman from church come to me and share about something that she had done which was pretty unbelievable. She had not listened to any of my previous advice, so this was a bit frustrating. I let her know what I thought and that what she did was wrong. But I also wanted to show her the love of Jesus by not looking down on her or betraying her by talking about the situation with the other people involved.

    It was not my place to do that. She came to me because she needed to talk about it and get it out.

    If the friend in your life really does need to go to the other person to reconcile the situation, then you are right for expressing that to them. If they decide against it, then yes, I would first pray and then maybe ask for counsel from your Pastor or someone else in leadership who would be non biased. You don't even have to tell them who or what the situation is all about.

    I would just be very careful about breaking a confidence between friends. Prayer is so powerful though and I am sure that God will give you peace to make the right decision.



  5. Cat@3KidsandUs says:

    It would REALLY depend on the situation. For most situations outside of cheating spouses, I would likely let the issue go and not get involved.


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