To Tell or not to Tell. This is the question.

A post by One Man's Opinion got me to thinking....

Allow me to set up the scenario (a completely made-up scenario):
Jennifer and Alice have been friends for about three years. They consider themselves to be very close, if not best, friends. Alice starts dating a nice guy named Kevin. Kevin and Jennifer get along fine until Jennifer starts to feel like Kevin is hitting on her. It's never anything overt, just subtle things, like the way he looks at her sometimes, or passing remarks he may make about what she's wearing. There's nothing concrete to it, it's just a weird feeling she gets. Jennifer doesn't feel like she should say anything to Alice because she can't prove that he's hitting on her and so she dismisses it as her being too sensitive. Not to mention, Alice had been with them on a few of these occasions and Jennifer felt that if Alice didn't see anything wrong, there just must not have been any problems.

About two months after Jennifer first started feeling like Kevin was hitting on her, she noticed he had almost stopped speaking to her altogether. This wasn't too terribly big of a deal since she did not spend very much time with him and Alice anymore. Then one day, Jennifer was out at a restaurant with a few co-workers when she spotted a guy who looked like Kevin, through the window. She dismissed him at first noting his arm linked with another girl who was clearly not Alice. The couple were very much into each other; however, as the couple walked closer and closer, Jennifer could tell that it was indeed Kevin. Kevin noticed Jennifer as he got closer to the window and quickly turned on his heels, mystery girl in tow.

So the question is: should Jennifer tell Alice what she saw, or not? Clearly, Kevin will deny that it was him and none of the other people with Jennifer that day knew Kevin. So it would be Jennifer's word against his. Clearly Kevin is a flirt and has flirted with Jennifer and apparently is now cheating on Alice. So what's a friend to do?

I personally always play the cost/benefit analysis game in situations like this. Really, I make it simple and ask one, two-part question: "What is the worst case scenario and can I deal with that if it happens?" If the answer to the latter portion is "yes" then go for it. If it is "no" then you gotta find a new route.

I'd say worst case scenario here is that Alice doesn't believe Jennifer and subsequently ends their friendship. If Jennifer can deal with that, then I say she go for it. Otherwise, she might want to search for a more subtle route.

Notice I didn't mention, in the worst case scenario, anything about Alice getting hurt. What you must realize is that cheaters always get busted. Always. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but when you cheat, you get found out. Whether or not there are immediate consequences and repercussions are up for debate, but they always get busted. So to be primarily concerned with hurting your friend (though no one wants to hurt a friend) is to be, in this case, concerned with the inevitable.

What would I do if I were Jennifer? Probably not tell. The worst case scenario is a large price to pay to bust a dude that's probably gonna get busted anyway. Is it wrong of me to withhold that information? Maybe, but I feel like it's the better of two evils. I can just be the good friend when she finally realizes what she most likely suspects anyway (cause girls always know) and be the shoulder for her to cry on. That, I can do with no qualms.


One Man’s Opinion said...

I did a post simular to this one. See, this is why everyone should have a pocket digital camera or a picture phone. That way you have photographic proof of the cheating bitch/bastard, as the case may be. Otherwise, let it slide. I like to think that I would tell, but I already know that I wouldn't.

Hey, maybe you should let it slip to the gossip in your group. You know that snitch is gonna tell it.

A.Smith said...

You know, OMO, it was actually your post that got me to thinking. And then I posted... let me add that addendum right quick. :)

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