How to Deal with Secretive People and Friends

Secretive People Can Make for Frustrating Friends

Has your friend been hiding something from you? Were you the last to know a friend's big news? Secrets, in general, can rip apart a friendship for a variety of reasons, but they can also bring people closer together. Knowing how to deal with secretive people when they are friends is key to maintaining relationships.

Perhaps you feel slighted that your friend didn’t trust you enough to let you in on the news. The simple act of withholding information could hurt you. On the other hand, you might look at your friend differently after you learn about the secret--so he or she was hesitant about sharing ​it or did not yet know how to approach you with it. Whatever the case, dealing with secretive people -- especially when he or she is a friend -- can be difficult.

Put every friendship into perspective before you get angry with a friend for not spilling all the details. Some pals may be acquaintances while other friends have deeper relationships. You may not have the kind of relationship to share important information, even if it is a friend you may have known for ages. If it is a very close friend that is keeping a secret from you, however, your concern is probably genuine. Just make sure it doesn't come out as anger and turn your friend away.

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When You Know About a Secret That Your Friend Has Not Shared

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It's interesting how word travels about certain things. Perhaps you found out about the secret from another friend, or from someone your friend is not close with. Maybe you heard about it via social media. If you heard about the secret from someone other than your friend, it may feel like a betrayal that your friend did not yet share the news with you. Be patient with your friend and try not to take it personally. There could be a host of reasons why they haven't spilled the details on their secret. Among them:

  • The secret you've heard isn't entirely accurate.
  • Your friend is embarrassed about the matter.
  • Your friend doesn't realize that other people know about their secret.
  • Your friend is waiting on more information to inform you of the situation.
  • Your friend doesn't trust you.

Holding back on a secret can prove a turning point in a friendship. If your friend trusts you and shares it, it's likely you two will become closer. If not, it may cause a rift. How you deal with the information withheld can also prove to be a turning point in a friendship for better or worse.

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Secrets Can Highlight Trust Issues in a Friendship

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If you feel that your friend is holding out on you because they simply do not trust you with the information (or not to tell others about it), it's time to take a look at your past behavior. Have you given your friend a reason to doubt you? If you've made a habit of gossiping about your friend or others, then you are probably going to be the last person they will trust with a secret. The only way to build up trust again is to prove that you have what it takes to be a great friend

If you have not been known to spill secrets in the past, there may be another reason why your friend has not told you about the news. Simply bringing it up in a non-accusatory manner may solve the whole problem.

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Confronting Your Friend About Their Secret

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If you feel your friend's secret is destructive (like if they are having an affair, gambling, doing drugs or the like), you can approach the subject with them gently. Be patient when you confront your friend and make sure that your motivation centers around kindness rather than trying to "call them out" on their secret.

Start by telling them you care about them and are concerned, and go from there. If your friend is open to talking about things, great. If not, you might need to back off until they are ready.

If your friend's secret is not destructive, you can still inquire about it or leave it to them to bring it up. Again, their reasons for hiding it may have nothing to do with you at all. Some friends are just secretive people. Not every friendship is on a level where you share every tidbit of important information, so a friend may feel completely justified by keeping you in the dark, and may not intend to hurt you in doing so.