How to Deal With a Friend That Told a Secret

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You may be shocked when you first discover a friend betrayed your trust by telling one of your secrets to others in your sphere of influence. "The act of sharing that secret with others, without permission, violates the loyalty and respect for privacy that is traditionally a cornerstone of a close or best friendship," according to Jan Yager, author of "When Friendship Hurts." Once the shock wears off speak with the friend who told your secret so negative feelings do not fester and become toxic to your own emotional well-being.

Step 1

Follow the advice offered on the Discovering Purpose website, which states that, "It’s difficult, but learn to forgive and move on." Make sure you forgive the person who hurt you even if the person does not take the initiative to apologize for the offense. Forgiveness is not saying what the person did was acceptable and it is not putting out a welcome mat for them to repeat the offense. When you forgive, you release yourself from bitterness and rage, which will eat away at you until you let go of your feelings.

Step 2

Sit down and make a list of the emotions you experienced when you learned your friend betrayed your trust. Some common emotions may include: embarrassment, rage, sadness, pain, and betrayal. Decide whether or not this particular friendship is important enough to pursue reconciliation. Do this before you confront your friend, as it will effect how you approach her.

Step 3

Meet with the friend who told your secret. Tell her that you know what she did, and go over the list you have created, so you can fully express how her actions damaged you and your friendship. If you wish to pursue reconciliation, let your friend know she needs to rebuild trust, which will take a long time. Tell her your friendship will be different going forward and she can expect to be left out of the loop when it comes to personal information, until she has proven herself worthy of your trust.

Step 4

Cut your friend loose if the friendship is not deep enough to be worth the lengthy process of reconciliation. Follow the advice given on the Advocate website and, "Don't talk to her, text her, instant message her, or Skype her." Make a clean break, with your own heart set free by your willingness to forgive and go on with your life.