Pinings — Advice by Sherry Hughes

Friendly Secret

Dear Pinings,

One of my friends asked me to keep a secret for her. It puts me in a tough position, because it might mean lying to another friend, if she asks me about the particular situation. (They are related by marriage and there is a big family feud going on, so they donít speak.) I told my friend that I wouldnít volunteer the information, but I didnít feel comfortable lying.

As much as I love my friend, I feel like this is coming between us. She wants me to promise not to tell and I donít feel comfortable with that. Itís not even a secret about her; itís nothing immoral or illegal.

Should I just promise that Iíll keep the secret and make things easy?

- B

Dear B.

Well, itís only easy for a while. It wonít be easy forever. It sounds to me like you are bring drawn into some chaos ó and you donít have to go. Itís fine to keep a secret, an admirable thing to do actually. But if it compromises you in some way with another friend, you need to be very clear about how you feel and your intentions.

The best you can do here is to say you wonít discuss it, but that you arenít promising anything.

After this situation blows over, you might have a talk with your friend about what friendship means to you and how you have felt manipulated in this situation.

Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers. Reach her at

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