Stop Worrying And Start Living... Here's...
Hi Dr Pam, My friends I’ll call James and Debbie recently broke up after two years. Now he's seeing a mutual friend and the only reason I know is because I saw them canoodling at the train station - TWICE. They actually don't know I saw them!
James and this woman had always been inclined to flirt but he maintained it was harmless. But now I'm wondering how long they've been seeing each other. I know Debbie would be devastated if she found out. I'm not condoning their behaviour, but I don't want to 'out' them to Debbie if they've actually got serious feelings for each other. Should I talk to them about this? I don't want to keep pretending I haven't seen them as it's really stressing me out! Please call me Beckixxx
I know you really care about your friends - and this might sound a bit harsh - but it’s time for tough talking: you need to get a bit of a grip. Yes, you know all these people. Yes, you care for them. But should you be involved in the ins-and-outs of their private lives? I don't think so, unless they ask you to be involved.
This is a big problem with friendships. We think because we know someone we can stick our noses in. The problem is, even when we have good intentions - as I'm sure you do - they may not see it that way. They might think, "what the heck are you doing telling me this? It's my business!"
Sometimes the best friends are those who keep schtum – quiet - until they're told something. And once they're told something they offer support and give advice - if asked for it.
Often we tell people what we know because we feel like we're going to burst. We're dying to share that knowledge - but the rule of thumb should be - do they really want to hear it?
Certainly you should never fib if Debbie asks if something’s going on with James and your other friend. Then you can say what seems right at the time. And that might be that you're genuinely not sure - because you're not. A bit of a canoodle doesn't make a relationship!
When it comes to James and your other friend, next time you see them shout out innocently, "hey guys!" Then they know they've been seen - and they'll realise Debbie might end up seeing them too.
Always think about your motives when it comes to your friends’ business. Don't let feeling "stressed" propel you towards making a bad decision and blurting things out.
Ultimately you migh a bit harsht decide you should say something but do it in a calm way so you're less likely to stir up bad feeling.
Good luck and keep being a caring friend, Pam x
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