I recently saw my friend’s husband out with another woman. They were dining at a restaurant and appeared to very cozy. Though I am not exactly sure what was going on, it just didn’t feel right. I was wondering if I should tell my friend what I saw.
A True Friend
Dear True Friend:
First, it is very unclear what you actually saw and what you mean by “very cozy.” Did you witness any inappropriate behavior or did you just witness two people having dinner? I would not advise you to get in the middle of a martial relationship, or any relationship for that matter, especially if you do not know all of the facts and know exactly what is going on. Your friend’s husband could have been having dinner with a friend, a co-worker, or family member for all you know. You cannot automatically assume what is going on, and remember what they say about those that make assumptions.
And let’s say you did witness some inappropriate behavior, what do you seek to accomplish by telling your friend? Do you want her to confront her husband? Do you want her to get a divorce? Or do you just want her to “know?” There are so many different variables and ways the situation could play out. I can give you three quick ones right now and they all end badly for you.
One, what if your friend already suspects something is up or has been dealing with this issue privately? You letting her know that you now know, and possibly others, could cause her embarrassment and cause her to distance herself from you.
Two, what if your friend confronts her husband and he denies everything? Then it becomes your word against his. She sides with her husband and they both want nothing to do with you for meddling in their business in the first place.
Three, what if the relationship ends in a divorce and your friend ends up blaming and resenting you?
These are just a few examples as to how this thing could backfire and blow up in your face. And I can think of plenty more!
As a true friend, I understand your first instinct is to protect your friend. You don’t want her to be in the dark and you don’t want to see her hurt. But it can be a very dangerous thing to get involved in grown folk’s private business, especially if you do not all the facts or have any concrete proof. And even if you had proof, I am a firm believer that what is done in the dark will come to light. Your friend will eventually find out whatever she needs to know. Let your friend deal with, or not deal with, her own situations. A “True Friend’s” job is to be supportive and to be there if your friend happens to need you.
Author of the upcoming book Been There Done That: And Lived to Tell About It (due out Spring 2011), Tamara R. Allen is Your Advice Guru giving REAL advice from REAL experience. Email your questions to [email protected]. You can follow Tamara on twitter @tamararallen or check out her daily column and archives at www.tamararallen.com.