I saw my friend’s boyfriend on Tinder, should I tell her?
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Bea Arthur, Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Um… yes! There’s no two ways about it: If you care about this person, it is your responsibility as a friend to share this information and let her handle it however she may. The only way I can recommend not telling her is if you’re closer friends with the boyfriend. But, even if that’s the case, then you should still bring it up to him and let him know that it’s out there for anyone to find; so sooner or later, his secret swiping won't be hush-hush.
When it comes to bringing up sensitive situations, there’s always lots of different theories about whether or not “it’s your place” or if “you should stay out of their business.” But, even if you keep your mouth shut and get the best case scenario — she either finds out on her own, or it turns out they’re in an open relationship — when it comes to your relationship with her, the right thing for you to do is show that you were looking out for her. Now let’s assume worst case scenario: She might be embarrassed, she might be defensive, she might accuse you of lying or being jealous, and worst of all, she will be hurt and you might feel at least partly to blame. It sucks but that’s part of the friendship contract, you’re there for the good and the bad times. We may put on our best face with Facebook friends, but with real friends, we are who we are — secrets, shame, and all.
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Now that we’ve figured out what you need to do (honor Girl Code!), we need to make sure you do it as tactfully as possible. Don’t make the announcement over drinks, maintain composure, and don’t be aggressive or inflammatory. Even if you already hated the guy, yelling out “I told you so, now dump that loser!” will not help the healing process at all. As hard as it may be, do your best to stay calm throughout the conversation. She will most likely be emotional and reactive, so you need to stay even-tempered in order to be a useful source of support. Can you imagine sharing a really sad story in your therapist’s office and her first response being, “Holy crap, what are you gonna do!?” In a time of crisis, having a calm face or space to go to can keep a person from losing it and making impulsive, destructive decisions.
So, I’m sorry you’ve found yourself in an unfortunate position while looking for love (or, you know, whatever), but your friend will have a new appreciation and trust for you, and that’s the kind of love that lasts forever.
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