Setting the record straight about not spilling secret
Advice columnist Carolyn Hax on a not-so-friendly friend.
DEAR CAROLYN: Many years ago I had a good friend who shared the news of her pregnancy with me and one other girl, with instructions not to tell anyone else until a certain date (after the first trimester). Then, we were supposed to share the news with all to spare her the necessity of telling everyone herself.
I kept her request faithfully, but the news got out early anyway. I was blamed and heavily criticized for breaking the promise after the other girl pointed the finger at me. I believe she was the one who broke the promise after telling her husband, who has many shared friends with all of us, and then blamed me when she saw how angry our friend was.
I was shocked and, as is typical for me, did not say much because I did not understand at first what was really going on. Then, because she was pregnant, I did not want this to escalate and cause a lot of drama and I guessed the lying friend probably would not have told the truth anyway. I was crushed that she never even asked me what the truth was.
I see that they are still friends now, and I still get the cold shoulder (and some snarky comments) from my friend. What bothers me is that she still does not know how deceitful the other girl was (is) and that I actually was a good friend and valued her friendship very much.
We do not live in the same area anymore, so I am not really wanting to be friends again, but part of me would like to finally set the record straight. Is that a good idea?
— Not the Bad Guy
DEAR NOT THE BAD GUY: Google tells me the average retainer for a publicist is $1,125, give or take, so if you really want to clear the books you’ll need to send her an invoice.
The problem here was structural, and significant: You thought you were a friend, and she thought you were under contract to her company, All About Me LLC. Asking you for your side of the story is what a friend would have done; firing you unceremoniously is what an employer would do — an incompetent one, at least.
Next time you see her, sure, ask her rhetorically, “Did it ever occur to you that I wasn’t the one, way back in the day, who leaked your pregnancy news?” Just don’t name the true perp, since you only suspect, and don’t expect satisfaction — it’s the articulating, not the response, you’re after, because history says this woman will not vindicate you.
And even if she does, don’t allow yourself back within her reach. Per your description, she apparently remains unaware that feelings other than her own matter, and that friendships run two ways. You were a good friend who valued her, yes, but I’m not seeing where she returned that favor.
Look at it that way not only to help you move past this chronic insult, but also to remind you not to sign on again to serve as an egoist’s lady in waiting.
Unfinished business is painful, I get it, but interacting with these two sounds more so. There’s an adage for this: Live and learn and be grateful you live somewhere else.