Dear Amy: I have a problem at work with the only other female co-worker in my department. She has told me that other people have “said things” about me. She won't say who is talking about me or what they say, but says she is, “glad she got to know me and didn't listen to the others first.”
Every single time she tells me something, and I mean anything, she says, “But don't tell anyone.” Yesterday she went as far as to tell me, “If you tell anyone, I won't talk about this stuff to you again.”
This has been going on for more than a year and I am fed up with it. I feel as if everything is some sort of secret with her. It has gotten to the point of “my shoe is dirty, but don't tell anyone.”
How do I tell her that if she doesn't trust me with information, then she shouldn't tell me? This is starting to hurt my feelings.
Keeping My Mouth Shut
Dear Keeping: Some people believe that knowledge is power, and they use that power like a cudgel, insisting on secrecy – even where none is warranted.
Sometimes, these are the very same people who are indiscreet, or are like your co-worker who rudely implies that though she knows the dirt about you, she wouldn't dream of dishing it.
You could handle this by saying, “You know, Betsy, you probably shouldn't trust me with your secrets anymore. I don't think I can handle it. I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't tell me anything you would consider to be private.”
Don't give up this friend
Dear Amy: I have a really great sporty-type friend who is also going to junior high with me this year. We do lots of activities together, like swimming.
When I mention her name to my other friends, they start talking about how much they don't like her. They say stuff like, “Her parents are too bossy” or “We don't understand her.”
My friend and I have never had a fight since third grade, and I never have to ask her for a favor – she always knows beforehand what I need.
I don't want to give up this friend, but I don't want to listen to my friends making rude remarks about her.
Dear Stuck: I have your solution.
Don't give up this friend.
And don't listen to your other friends making rude remarks about her.
Junior high is a minefield full of friendship drama. Sometimes it seems that no matter where you step, you run the risk of losing another friendship.
You can resolve to be different. You can choose to be loyal and kind.
Stick up for yourself, your friend and your relationship.
Say, “I don't care what you say, she's my friend, just like you guys are. If somebody said something negative about you, I'd stick up for you too.”
Then do what you can to bring your friend into the fold. Your other girlfriends are probably a little jealous that you have another close friend outside of your group. They're behaving badly, but perhaps you can show them by your example how to behave well.