General Question

girlofscience's avatar

What do you do when someone thinks you betrayed their trust (divulged a secret) and you haven't?

Asked by girlofscience (7567points) February 4th, 2009

Remember this situation?

Well, when Xgirl and I had that long conversation in the bathroom, she specifically and repeatedly asked me not to mention any of her thoughts, feelings, or opinions to Yguy.

I didn’t.

Now, a month later, Yguy suddenly emailed Xgirl in an attempt to smooth things over and eliminate the awkwardness. (He is still in a committed relationship and was only hoping to smooth over a friendship with Xgirl, not get back together with her.)

Xgirl immediately called me to ask if I had told Yguy what she had said about him when she told me the whole story. When I affirmed that I hadn’t, she asked if he was on the rocks with his girlfriend and if that could be the reason. I said that they were doing fine and that I wasn’t sure what the reason was, other than he wanted to find closure and make things less awkward.

A half hour or so after we got off the phone, I felt really bad that she had thought I told him, so I sent her a facebook message reassuring her that her thoughts on the matter were safe with me and that I hope his email wasn’t too emotionally stressful for her, etc.

Anyway, I’m sure she still has doubts about whether I told him the things she said about her feelings about the situation. I’m just so upset that she probably thinks she can’t trust me anymore, and I didn’t do anything to betray her trust!

If you were Xgirl, would you think that I had told him what she said? I mean, she called me to ask if I did, but even if I had, it’s not like I would say, “OH YEAH, I told him!”


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31 Answers

Dog's avatar

(corrected) I think I need to re-read again….

You cannot help what she thinks. You were honest and told her that you did not break her trust. It is now up to her to either accept that or not.

girlofscience's avatar

@Dog: You’re misunderstanding something here. She possibly thinks I told a secret that she did tell me to someone else.

I realize the wording of the initial question may have been misleading, so I have revised it.

girlofscience's avatar

Oh, and by the way, the people involved in this situation are 23 (me), 26 (Xgirl), and 30 (Yguy), so please answer this on an adult level. I realize this situation could sound childish, but we’re not stupid teenagers.

Nimis's avatar

It’s difficult to say without knowing what secrets she divulged to you.
And also his demeanor during the phone conversation.

I’m guessing you wouldn’t want to share the former in public.
And the latter is difficult to know without being one of the two.

The only thing you’ve got to go off of is her reaction to you
when you told her that you hadn’t betrayed her trust.

How did that conversation go?

scamp's avatar

She is going to think whatever she wants to no matter what you do to convince her otherwise. Just tell her you didn’t divuldge the secret and proceed normally. It should all come out in the wash sooner or later. If you try too hard to convince her otherwise, she will probably think you are dealing with a guilty conscience.

basp's avatar

Just move on.
You can’t make her believe something if she doesn’t want to.

Nimis's avatar

Wait…are you asking whether we would believe you if we were in her shoes?
Or are you asking us how to proceed with the situation?

girlofscience's avatar

@Nimis: Well, she basically just didn’t want me to share with him how much he had hurt her, etc. She also didn’t want him to know she was still thinking/talking about the situation.

He emailed her wanting to reconcile.

The conversation I had with her went well. She just said she was confused about why he would suddenly email her, and I guess she assumed it could have been prompted by my telling him that she was still upset about how they left things.

Per your second post, I guess I am asking both.

nikipedia's avatar

I think scamp and basp are right. If she’s made up her mind, you can’t convince her otherwise. All you can really do is hope that over the course of your friendship she grows to see that you are totally trustworthy.

It sounds like she is just still totally confused by dude’s behavior and trying to make sense of it any way she can think of. Do you think she’s hoping for a reconciliation beyond simple friendship?

Nimis's avatar

I can understand the connection that she made.
But more as a working theory than fact.

I don’t know. Was there a recent birthday or anniversary for them? Maybe it was just Valentine’s Day rounding the corner. Who knows? Exes call out of the blue all the time. It’s really not that far of a stretch.

As for what you can do? I agree with what everyone else has already said. She’ll believe what she believes. You’ve kept her secrets and have been up front about it. Not much else you can do.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

I wouldn’t get so worked up over it, I mean my friends do this to me and me back its not so much that I don’t trust them but things just happen in odd ways that you think hmm I wonder if they said something because she did exactly what I was talkin about or, she appoligized out of no where etc. I dunno she probably trusts you and just thought it was weird that he did that without anyone saying something.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Regardless of what XGirl thinks, YGuy is acting correctly. If you protest too much, you will only fan the flames of suspicion. XGirl should make piece with YGuy for the same reason the olive branch is extended—they’re making their friend’s lives a living hell. XGirl sounds like a bit of a drama queen, and you should all get over it and move on. There’s more interesting things to talk about, like all the seismic activity this week.

desiree333's avatar

Well you should try to explain to her, if she wont listen write her a letter or email. Maybe get her to ask the Yguy to confirm the fact that you didnt tell. Xgirl should just ask Yguy how he found out her feelings. If you really didnt tell Yguy about Xgirls feeling he will tell her so.

girlofscience's avatar

(By the way, guys, Xgirl just responded to my follow-up facebook message very kindly. All is well, and she believes me.)

dynamicduo's avatar

You did nothing wrong. It seems like your last conversation, and the Facebook message, has helped the situation play out a bit more to a nice conclusion. A good lesson from this is that you can’t control nor coerce what a person manages to think up, and indeed the assumption that the guy is contacting the girl because you spilled the beans, even though you said you didn’t, is a bit ludicrous with a pinch of paranoia. However, we’re all a bit paranoid from time to time, especially when we’re dealing with people we love. As long as she’s accepted your statement as truth, I don’t see anything you need to do from this point on other than continue with your relationship as it goes.

Grisson's avatar

You’ve heard of the hundred year rule? Well this is the 100 day rule. 100 days from now it won’t matter at all. Stop worrying and enjoy your life.

scamp's avatar

@girlofscience Great news! See it all worked out after all. Glad to hear it.

jellyfish's avatar

what a drama -it’s not yours – don’t make it. You did good. Don’t talk about it – she will sort it out in her ‘grown up’ way.

wundayatta's avatar

I did wonder if you were projecting what she was thinking. As people tell me regularly, not everything is about you.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

There is only one sure way to put a stop to this sort of drama. I have two words for you. “Tactical Nuke”

nephrons's avatar

I will just be cool and patient.. In the end truth will always prevail..

90s_kid's avatar

You always ask tough questions, @girlofscience
And I have lurved GQ many times including now
I would really get angry, and start to be interrogative, but I need to hear their side of the story first.

BoyWonder's avatar

But if you get angry, it looks like you really did say something. Just maintain your innocence, be consistent, and keep it moving. Whatever’s in the dark, always comes to light, eventually.

xzlslazcarter's avatar

you can not countrol people’s mind or you can not force people who believe your story or what you said every single word. but as well as you were not felt guity after what you told.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Wow. This is a sticky one. If it means a great deal to you that she believes you…then you have to take a different route, perhaps.

I always believe when delivering a message that is a “trust” message, you need to see the person to deliver it. It has much more of an impact than a phone message or email.

In other words, she needs to hear the sincerity in your voice and see it in your eyes when you speak to her. Perhaps you could ask her out for coffee to just see how she is doing?

” I want you to know that I never spoke to Yanni :) about your situation. I have found myself in similar situations when things I’ve said needed to be kept secret and when I make a promise, I do keep it. My promise to you was not to say a word and I did keep it, honestly. I was just as surprised as you that he called you out of the blue! But I am so glad he did, as it was a long time coming. I just felt I needed to make sure that you knew that I was being sincere and did not tell him anything. I’m glad that you two are making attempts to heal and move on. What you told me is still safe with me and I will just leave it at that, okay? Let’s have an espresso, shall we?”

I really thought it was nice of you…to want to listen and help. I am sure you have been in a situation where there was conflict and no one knew your side of the story. It probably helped her to just tell it. That’s what probably on a subconscious level allowed the healing to start——things do happen that way.

Best of luck….and if she still doesn’t believe you…then just forget about it. You did your best and you know the truth.

HeartofHearts's avatar

All that you can do is be honest, the rest if up to her.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Sorry… You completely lost me at “Now a month later.” I just don’t have that kind of attention span, maybe you shouldn’t either?

AnonymousWoman's avatar

It doesn’t sound to me like she was accusing you of saying anything. It sounds like she was wondering if you had (as you are human, after all, and it’s possible that you could have) because of his seemingly odd behaviour and trusted your answer. I don’t advise worrying or thinking about it too much.


Oh, wow. I just noticed that this thread is really old. I hope you don’t mind this answer.

Ettina's avatar

As far as I can tell, she’s dropped the issue upon hearing you say you didn’t do it. It’s you who can’t let it go. Ask yourself why that is. What is it about that question that bothers you so much, and why?

From my perspective, I’ve known a number of very nice, caring, thoughtful people who just couldn’t keep their mouth shut. I’ve also been in a situation where I accidentally betrayed a secret out of good intentions. It’s not horrible monsters who do this. It’s well-intentioned, nice people who might be a bit forgetful, or might think the person benefits more from having their secret told than by having it kept secret.

kritiper's avatar

Confront them face-to-face and offer to take a polygraph test.

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