Timing is Everything...

Through high school and into college I had a close friend that knew a lot of my secrets and I knew hers. When we graduated from high school we both thought we'd go off and meet new people and make new friends and lose touch. We even had one last hoorah before I left. Instead we grew closer in our first two years at college. I think the process of having to get to know new people made us appreciate having someone "back home" who already knew us pretty well.

One of the things this friend watched unfold was my relationship with J. From the outset she never liked him and he never liked her. As things progressed between he and I during my first year in college, I found myself telling her less and less about us. I grew tired of her obviously disliking our relationship and her constantly telling me that I "could do better."

The summer after freshman year of college was a really bad summer for J and I and this friend was there for all of it. She convinced me to have the uncomfortable talk with him about where our relationship was going. Unfortunately that conversation, though necessary, threw J and I into utter turmoil for most of the summer. I never blamed her, but he certainly did. I did find that though I was going through a lot emotionally with him, she was much more fun to talk to when we weren't talking about that and so I all but quit speaking about him to her.

By the end of the first semester of my sophomore year, J and I had reconciled and had decided to get back together. I was elated but knew I wasn't ready to tell my friend. I wanted her to be happy for me, but I didn't trust that her happiness for me wouldn't come with reservations, so I elected not to tell her. Ironically, a few weeks prior she called me to vent because her cousin, with whom she was exceptionally close -- they were much more like sisters than cousins -- had finally admitted that she had started dating her ex-boyfriend again. My friend didn't particularly care for this guy either and so she was obviously upset, but she told me that what really upset her was that her cousin had been dating him for months and everyone knew but her. So when I decided I couldn't tell my friend about J and I, I decided I couldn't tell anyone.

Eventually, after a night of partying and drinking with some friends, I did tell her. I remember that I called her from the bathroom of a club I was in and it all spilled out of my drunken mouth. I emphasized, even in my drunkenness, that I hadn't told anyone -- which was factual. She was rather understanding (possibly because I was clearly drunk) and told me that while she wasn't terribly excited about the fact that I was a month into a relationship with J and hadn't mentioned it, she could rest a little easier knowing that she wasn't the only one I had kept in the dark.

I learned that night that there's an art to secret keeping and it has a lot to do with how everyone finds out. You see, the thing about a secret that most people really hate is the not knowing part. It's amazing the information people feel entitled to have (especially with the boom of social media) Just like the time the then-BFF complained to me that her ex boyfriend was dating a new girl and I told her I already knew. Big mistake. She was more upset with me for knowing and not telling than at him for telling me first. Thanks to those two incidents, and seeing others make the same mistake my M.O. re: secrets is if it's not a secret I can tell most of my close friends, I don't tell any of them and if it's a secret about a close friend that they didn't tell me, my lips are sealed permanently. Loose lips do indeed sink ships, in more ways than one.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Now open to everyone! Leave a comment -- let me know what you think.