Recently, Christopher of Chicago wrote that he had a falling out with his best friend; apparently the guy just can’t keep a secret. In reading comments it was obvious that his friend has never, ever kept a secret. Two thoughts came to mind: if he’s never kept a secret, why would Chris keep telling him things and perhaps these secrets, as Christo refers to them, are not secrets at all; just words he’s to cowardly to share. Christo, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be upset; I’m saying you may be upset at the wrong person. My dad once said the only way to keep a secret among friends is to murder the friend immediately after telling the secret. If its forgiveness you seek, see a priest. Those words seemed a bit harsh at the age of six but now that I’m older, I totally agree.
When I was twenty, I very close friend whom I loved dearly, told me a secret. The secret bothered me because of how it was going to affect my place in that person’s life. To unburden my fears, I told the secret to another friend, who promised not to tell anyone. That friend, concerned with how the secret would benefit him, told the first friend of my betrayal. When confronted, I was devastated. Our friendship ended that very moment. I have never gotten over losing the closeness I had with that friend and I have never forgiven myself for that betrayal. However, from that betrayal my friend was able to live a better life and is now happy and has long since forgiven me. Neither of us ever spoke to the third friend again.
What makes one friendship stronger than any other is the intimacy that exists between the parties. When two or more people have a genuine desire to see each other happy or want what’s best, a true friendship is forged. It’s a bond that can’t be broken by time or space, and in most cases, other relationships. A sacred component of that level of friendship is trust. When a friend tells us a secret, they are investing in that trust and not in the value of the secret. I suppose that’s why many of us are hurt when a friend tells our secrets. I wouldn’t mind so much if my best friend told someone who for the past year, I’ve been . . ; never mind. But I would be devastated at the notion that I could no longer trust the one person in the world who I thought had my back.
And what of the secret? Are these secrets we’re keeping actually just some of our deepest desires and fears? On some level, don’t we want them to get out? Whenever something gets out about someone, the first thing we hear is, “I’m just glad its out in the open.” Perhaps the rogue friend is a better friend than you think.
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