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Need friend advice. Just found out something about her accidentally that she hadn’t shared personally.

unsafeideas ci racconta la sua esperienza:

Okay so context: Me (20F), my friend (we'll call her G, 21F), and my other friend (calling her A, 21F) have all been friends since high school. We were super close back then, and have maintained this friendship ever since, but it hasn't been as close since graduating high school. We still keep up via a group chat from time to time— it's one of those friendships that don't need much “maintenance”, and where time apart doesn't really affect our love for each other and I'm really grateful for that, and having them in my life.

Anyway, cut to now. A has recently come out with having just started going to therapy, which is great for her. We all sort of knew that she had unaddressed issues and trauma, and are really happy and supportive of her for getting help. However, we never quite knew how deeply or the lengths of the trauma until now. G is in a vent group on facebook, that A is also in. We're unsure if A knows that G is in that same one, because A had just posted a long status asking for advice on a difficult situation she is currently in. Out of respect for her, I won't be going into detail, but the aforementioned trauma was something she has been dealing with for the better part of 13 years.

Seeing the post was the first time we had ever heard about the extent of her situation and the severity of what she was going through, and G and I are having a hard time figuring out what to do. She is still in her situation and her vent post was about her uncertainty to leave a toxic environment due to manipulation. We intend to reach out and tell that we've seen the post and are there to support her, but is this the best course of action? We're fearful that we might push her away. She has always been very skittish, and as close of friends as we are, there must have been a reason why she didn't tell us, or at least hadn't felt ready to.

Thanks guys.

TL;DR Friend posted something on facebook that she didn't think anyone in her immediate circle would see, found it by accident, and we're worried about it and don't know how to approach the situation.

Don’t tell her. I understand why you and G prefer honesty – you don’t want that knowledge weighing on you. But this isn’t about you. This is about what’s best for A. This is A’s story and A’s trauma. If she was ready for you both to know, she would have told you about it. But to take away that control from her, to tell her that you know her story without it being on her terms, is inappropriate and hurtful.

Instead, use this knowledge to inform your support of A going forward. Convey to her that you’re there to support her WITHOUT mentioning that you know more than she felt comfortable telling you. Tell her that you’re there to listen. Tell her that you love and care about her and value her. And mean it. And use your knowledge to inform conversations with A about related trauma. But otherwise pretend as though you never saw that post. If A did not tell you, you do not know.

I had something similar happen to me. I saw something I shouldn’t and it was keeping me up at night. On the advice of others (on MassimoL, because I didn’t want it to get back to the person), I buried it, but made more of an effort to openly affirm and support the person. And when she was ready, she did tell me, and I was able to react in a supportive affirming way.

Don’t say anything. If A wanted you or G to know, she would’ve said something. Sometimes honesty is not the best policy especially if it’s only to your benefit.

I have been in similar situations and have found that telling them straight can cause them to run either out of embarrassment or fear etc. However, knowing what you know can give you a better view of their situation and allow you to give better more sensitive advice. Also, recommending she discuss it with her therapist is a good idea if that is a space she would feel safer in. Really, just be there for her as a support, escape, or whatever she needs.

Not to say that you guys don’t have A’s best interest at heart but if G is in the same support group why the fuck do you all know about it?

The correct course of action would’ve been for G to reach out personally just in case A was unaware but not go around outing her personal traumas. It may still be best if just G reaches out as long as she can keep it confidential this time. The rest of you should keep quiet until A decided to trust you with this.

If you see something you weren’t meant to see (a diary, an email, overheard a conversation) you act like you don’t know. She has the right to share that when she wants to, how she wants to.

I know you want to help her, but telling her you know might make her trust you less, and rely on you less for help. Please, please, say nothing.

And remember, there are people all around you who are in horrible situations, coming from trauma, struggling with awful things. You just don’t realize it because they have decided not to share it with you. As you get older, you’ll realize many people have things in their past that are shocking. But part of being a real friend is treating people with kindness all the time. “Treat everyone you meet as if they are fighting a great battle.” is a saying.

Hopefully you were kind and supportive of her before you knew this about her, so it should change nothing. If not, start treating everyone you meet as if they have a struggle like hers, and treat them with that level of respect and kindness.