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jca's avatar

If you found out your best friend's brother got arrested, would you tell her or would you stay out of it?

Asked by jca (27891 points ) December 3rd, 2012

I found out yesterday that my best friend’s brother got arrested for failure to pay child support. She has been my best friend since I was around 2 or 3, and consequently, our entire families are friends with each other. I heard about his arrest from some other friends, and I am the only one of that group that is in touch with her (his sister, who’s my friend).

Apparently he is seen as the black sheep because he borrows from their parents, and none of the other siblings have, ever. They feel he takes advantage, and they feel they’ve never asked for a hand-out, and are hard working, he’s got drinking and gambling issues, etc. and goes to the parents for money which the other 6 siblings resent.

I’m not involved in any of that gossip. He is my friend, but we are not close friends.

My only question now is should I tell her that he’s arrested, or should I not? If I don’t, she may be upset that I did not tell what she may consider an important piece of news. However, I also can understand the importance of staying out of it.

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10 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

How about saying , “hey, what’s going on with your brother, I heard he got arrested fro not paying child support.” That way, you are asking her as if you assume she knows.

And when you talk you can say you know his behavior bugs her, but wanted to make sure her nieces and nephews are okay too.

wundayatta's avatar

I think it all depends on why you are doing it and how you do it. If you are doing it because you care about him and her, you might check in with her and ask if she knows. She may already know, or it may be news to her. If you want to make sure she knows and you know she cares, then let her know.

If you are telling her in order to dig into her a bit or something like that, then lay off. That is not appropriate.

jca's avatar

@wundayatta: I doubt she knows and if she did, she would very possibly be telling me. If I did tell her, it wouldn’t be to throw a dig at her. She, of the 6 siblings, is the one who is the most sympathetic to him. She does not approve of his behavior or his borrowing from the parents, but she feels that he is family while the other siblings have kind of written him off.

gailcalled's avatar

I have been brooding about this; since she is your best friend and you have known each other for as long as you both are sentient, I say, “Tell her.”

Then let her set the tone. If she doesn’t want to discuss it, fine, and if she does, also fine.

Members of my family kept important secrets; it left me enraged when I was finally told.

chyna's avatar

Could it possibly hurt your relationship if you told her?
Is there another way she is certain to find out about this, or, has already found out and is not telling you thinking it is none of your business or she just doesn’t want you to know?

FutureMemory's avatar

I say stay out of it. The man’s criminal issues are between himself, the parties directly involved, and the state. You are none of those, and neither is the sister.

I would be pissed if someone felt my sister had “a right to know” my personal problems.

marinelife's avatar

Why not say to her, “I heard something about your brother, and I wondered if you would want to know it.” That way she has the option to be told or not.

LuckyGuy's avatar

When our friend was arrested I called the family right away and said something like “Wow! I heard the news. Are you guys OK? Do you need anything?”

hearkat's avatar

Having dealt with the child support system and seeing both sides from needing my ex-husband to pay support and later dating a man that was paying child support, I don’t consider getting arrested for non-payment to be a huge deal. Generally, someone in the family is notified, and if they can pay a little bit of money, the non-payor is right back out again. In my case, I’d sporadically get a $100 check, and so I assumed that meant the system had picked him up, because he owed me thousands of dollars.

So I guess I’m not understanding why you want to tell her. Her brother’s got himself into a pickle, and he has to deal with the consequences. He’s not going to be in with violent offenders or anything. He’ll be fed in jail, and will be forced to detox for a couple days. They don’t keep the deadbeats in jail for long, because you can’t make money to pay support from inside a cell.

Granted, I’m a tough-love type of person, who told my mother when my brother got arrested for some motor vehicle nonsense that I wouldn’t give two red cents to bail him out. I’ve learned that rescuing people often results in them resenting you for their inadequate dependency, which leads to more hard feelings between everyone.

augustlan's avatar

She’s your best friend. I’d tell her. I’d probably approach it as @zenvelo suggested. I’m agreeing with him all over the place today! :D

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