to tell my friend not to come to stay over xmas because she divulged confidential private info?

(81 Posts)
gnocci Mon 10-Dec-12 11:59:42

I have a friend who I used to work with and we remained close after we both went our separate ways. She is due to come and stay with us over xmas.

Anyway I found out last week that she has spilled a very very personal and damaging piece of information that I told her in the utmost confidence as I needed someone to talk to. I need to be quite vague but it is info about someone in my immediate family that would likely ruin my professional reputation (by association) and put the security of my family and children at risk. Worse than this, the person she told is in my profession!!!

I was on a night out and this person told me they knew and that she had told her. I felt sick and humiliated and asked her about it but she denied it (of course). I didnt say they had said she had told them as I wanted to diffuse the situation as quickly as possible (she was there and was the one who had invited me!!! Knowing full well this person knew! I felt sick that I had been happily socialising and she'd made a total fool of me).

I dont think I can face her. She clearly has no idea how serious this is. I dont know what to do sad I dont even know how to re-open the subject and tackle it now.

If you are 100% sure she was the one that spilled the beans, then by all means uninvite her. She broke your trust and you can have who you want to your house not just at Xmas at any time.

But be 100% sure. It would be awful to lose a friend (if she is one) like this if it later came out it wasn't her. As a rule, I would always believe a friend if they vehemently denied something unless I could prove otherwise.

greenfolder Mon 10-Dec-12 12:03:44

i would write to her. say you know that it was her, that the person would have no reason to lie about her involvement and the consequences involved are too large for you to ignore.

leave ball in her court but make it clear that offer re xmas is rescinded.

i had a similar situation (but not as serious). took me ages to work out and accept that it was a really close friend doing this. she is a friend no more.

gnocci Mon 10-Dec-12 12:07:38

It was her boss she told sad

No other link and he actually said it was her who told him!


SquirtedFrankinScentsInStable Mon 10-Dec-12 12:11:24

If you are absolutely sure it was her, then I would definitely uninvite her and have nothing more to do with her.
Just contact her and say that circumstances have changed for the Christmas period and she will now be unable to stay over.

gnocci Mon 10-Dec-12 12:14:43

She did deny it but I did put her on the spot so was probably a defensive reaction i guess. I think it was her. cant see why this person would say it was if it wasnt!

rainbow2000 Mon 10-Dec-12 12:19:45

Well im assuming you didnt tell all and sundry so by that account if you only told her it must be her.I would ring and tell her you know it was here as you only told her and Christmas is no more,she is not welcome.
Luckily teh person told you and didnt spread it further.

agedknees Mon 10-Dec-12 12:27:53

Do you think her boss told you she know about your situation so that you would know your friend was not a reliable person to tell confidential secrets too?

I would sit your friend down and tackle her about it. Then decide what you want to do about Christmas.

caterwauling Mon 10-Dec-12 12:29:30

Do you know the person she told?

could it be that she told the him in a 'i know this person and X happened to them...' thinking that the 2 of you would never meet?

Pandemoniaa Mon 10-Dec-12 12:31:40

You need to have a proper talk with her. Tell her how shocked you were to discover that this confidential information was shared and ask her to explain herself. After this conversation you can decide whether or not to withdraw the invitation to spend Christmas with you.

The only reason I say be 100% sure is that a few months ago one of my close friends had a serious go about me for something I had said about her. Which I knew, categorically, I had not said. I told her I absolutely had not said it but she chose to believe the other person, who she didn't know terribly well.

Imagine the scene when she came back a few weeks later (having wanted nothing to do with me since the 'incident') and said she'd discovered that the other person had merely overheard part of a conversation I'd had with someone else, put two and two together and came up with 6 not 4.

Suffice it to say, things won't ever be the same, because in her shoes, I'd have trusted me and not the person she didn't know well.

caterwauling Mon 10-Dec-12 12:32:50

i mean rather han talking about you, it was just too much for her to deal with??

Either she told your boss OR your boss has been snooping, found this out then said they had been told it to cover themselves? Is there any way the boss could have found it out for themselves?

NamingOfParts Mon 10-Dec-12 12:50:26

I am going to go a little bit against the grain here. This secret was too big for you to keep so you told someone. The person you told has told someone.

You breached a confidence, she has breached a confidence.

For you this was a huge betrayal because you found out. How would the person you talked about feel if they knew you had talked to someone?

MistressIggi Mon 10-Dec-12 12:53:43

Is there any chance she did it because she thought it was right to do it, rather than being a blabbermouth? (hard to judge as hard to guess what the secret was - but maybe you should declare it to someone if you have done nothing wrong yourself, might be better if it comes out anyway).

twinklesparkles Mon 10-Dec-12 12:56:53

I'd have nothing more to do with her and tell her she isn't invited

Are you sure its her? I'd be raging .. I'd have to have it out with her

Hugs for you

gnocci Mon 10-Dec-12 13:16:40

naming it's not like that. the person knows full well my friend knows.

girlywhirly Mon 10-Dec-12 13:44:34

I think you were partly in the wrong for trusting her with something so confidential. Having said that, she should have kept her mouth shut, and has now risked losing a friend over it. At least you and her boss know she isn't trustworthy and therefore she will lose out in the long run, she may even be passed over for promotion if it gets out she can't keep confidences.

I think you should have it out with her and explain that under the circumstances you don't wish her to come for Christmas.

EldritchCleavage Mon 10-Dec-12 13:55:49

I don't think you were wrong at all. It is quite understandable to elan on a friend when there is something very big you need to talk about, and it was very wrong of her to tell a person who belongs to the exact group of people whom you want to keep it from. Then lie about it.

I think your options are: (1) have it out with her, but don't have her for Xmas whatever the outcome. You'll probably need a breathing space while you decide what to do; (2) Cancel the visit, dump her and move on without getting into it.

gnocci Mon 10-Dec-12 14:37:56

Right, she'd admitted it sad

Told her to give me time to think.

gnocci Mon 10-Dec-12 14:38:17


PowerPants Mon 10-Dec-12 22:32:34

Why did she do it?

gnocci Mon 10-Dec-12 22:43:05

She said she "must have been pissed"

Groan sad

gimmecakeandcandy Mon 10-Dec-12 22:48:12

Being pissed is NO excuse - what a SHIT friend she is. Uninvite her and create some distance - she obviously has no respect to do this. Do you really want someone like that in your life? She is not a friend.

Hegsy Mon 10-Dec-12 22:51:38

Definitely uninvite. I'd be seriously reconsidering the friendship and would never trust her again.

NoTeaForMe Mon 10-Dec-12 22:52:15

Depending on what the secret was then personally I think that's the end of her coming to stay with you for christmas. It would certainly hangs the friendship for me as I could never trust her again, and again depending on what she told it could just end the friendship altogether.

NoTeaForMe Mon 10-Dec-12 22:53:05

*hangs should say *change!

apostrophethesnowman Mon 10-Dec-12 22:58:02

Uninvite her, carefully, and hope she doesn't tell anyone else.

misterwife Tue 11-Dec-12 01:53:16


You say 'it is info about someone in my immediate family that would likely ruin my professional reputation (by association)'.

I carry a similar burden: one or two of my relatives aren't the sort of people you'd want to know at all. It's not a nice burden to carry around. But it is also not a burden which is your fault.

I do think you should uninvite this friend as she has betrayed you, plain and simple. But, without knowing your circumstances at all, I would ask: is it that likely that the revelation of this secret would ruin your professional reputation?

Even in the worst scenario I can think of that fits your story, I'd hope that your colleagues and superiors would be reasonable enough to see that you haven't done anything at all, and would act to protect you from knuckle-draggers who somehow think you have anything to do with it.

ChristmasSpiritEndorphins Tue 11-Dec-12 05:08:36

I agree with misterwife. Un-invite the person, and try and not worry about this reflecting badly on you.

BluelightsAndSirens Tue 11-Dec-12 05:17:39

No excuse but did share because the secret was to big for to handle and she didn't know where she stood with it from a professional point of view, hence why she told a manager?

MammaTJ Tue 11-Dec-12 06:07:42

So, what is her boss actually going to do with this information?

If there are no repurcussions (sp?) then you can maybe forgive and forget, now she has admitted it and if she is suitably sorry.

BluelightsAndSirens Tue 11-Dec-12 06:32:23

If a friend told me something that affected her professionally I would struggle with that secret. I would ask that friend to disclose it herself mind, but of course depending on what the secret actually is, the friend could have told a manager under a safe guarding policy?

Very tricky without knowing what was disclosed, it's the disclosure to a senior member of staff that stops it forming as gossip in my head.

ivanapoo Tue 11-Dec-12 09:37:49

Yes I would ask why she felt the need to tell her boss, and why her boss felt the need to bring it up to you?!

That would worry me as suggests she didn't tell her boss not to mention it to anyone - assuming it was just passed on in a gossipy drunk way and not in a "i must relieve the burden" way - so who else might know/have been told?

My immediate thought was that the secret was the sort that she was ethically oppossed to keeping. I have been put in that position. There are some secrets that i would never keep, for anyone and i have a big problem with hypocrisy.

Being pissed isn't a good enough reason. If i went to my next in line (who i have my supervision sessons with), as a SW, then it would be to clarify what i should do and i wouldn't divulge the person that it was about.

However, you now know the real reson, so you need to consider if the invite was given to a very close friend, which she has now proven she isn't.

If you wouldn't have given the invite to a person that you couldn't share problems with, then you have the answer.

X post with Blue.

pigletmania Tue 11-Dec-12 09:59:01

In that case I would say considering the circumstances, it would not be appropriate for her tocomeand stay at Christmas. Good grounds for you to uninvited her

gnocci Tue 11-Dec-12 10:34:21

There was absolutely no need for her to divulge the information. None at all.

Had some grovelling texts along the lines of I am a shit friend, I understand if you never talk to me again, I have massively broken your confidence etc. She told him because it was interesting gossip I imagine. I dont really buy the I was so pissed thing personally. People always try and use that as a convenient excuse.

I really cant give anymore information but this isnt your typical employment situation of employee/boss/manager etc. I've used the words boss and profession to try and give you an idea of the relationships. There was no need whatsoever to divulge.

The way it came out to me was at a christmas party SHE'D invited me to with her work colleagues. We were talking about something and he said "oh yes x told me xyz" and my face just dropped. I couldnt believe it.

To give you some idea let's say I am a politician and my brother was being investigated for something very very serious. That sort of thing.

I am angry and very very sad.

ivanapoo Tue 11-Dec-12 10:39:01

Hmm in that case I would definitely uninvite her and steer clear for a while. It would affect the friendship no question. How can you trust her again? You have a right to be angry - but what's done is done so for your own sake and happiness try to forget about it even if you understandably can't forgive.

DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn Tue 11-Dec-12 10:43:28

I would send a text back saying "I'm glad you understand why it is best you do not come over Christmas"

Completely unacceptable, even when pissed.

gnocci Tue 11-Dec-12 10:43:58

I agree, I can't trust her again. If I cant trust her with that what can I trust her with!!!!!

SeasonallySnowyPeasant Tue 11-Dec-12 10:48:50

YANBU but really a secret is only a secret if you don't tell anyone about it.

gnocci Tue 11-Dec-12 10:53:43

Well I've learnt my lesson about discussing/sharing anything with anybody, that's for sure sad

susanann Tue 11-Dec-12 10:53:53

I would end the friendship . Trust has gone. The friendship would never be the same again anyway.

poozlepants Tue 11-Dec-12 10:55:13

As much as I would be tempted to flounce off after this I wouldn't do anything too rash in case she gets pissed off/and or pissed and announces your news to all and sundry. I would let her think you've forgiven her but maybe cancel Christmas with 'lets just leave things to the New Year' type thing. If she has just passed something that serious on as idle gossip she really can't be trusted. Keep your enemies close and all that.

waltermittymistletoe Tue 11-Dec-12 10:58:24

Is there any chance that she thought there was a danger to you or your children?

What I mean is, if your relative was being investigated for sexual assault or physical assault maybe she thought someone more senior should know?

If not, then I would say she saw it as a piece of gossip and if she knew how serious the repercussions would be for you then she's not any sort of friend!

EldritchCleavage Tue 11-Dec-12 12:58:31

What poozlepants said.

MrsMelons Tue 11-Dec-12 13:06:12

I always think that if you tell someone something very confidential there is always a chance they will tell someone else at some point.

What I can't understand is why she would have said anything just for gossip knowing how important it was for you to keep it quiet.

One of my close friends got very drunk a while ago and ended up telling our close group of friends that one of the group (who wasn't there that night) had cancer. She had only told one person other than her immediate family as she didn't want the fuss. I didn't feel my friend had done anything that wrong as it was a huge burden for her to carry and I think it was a relief for her to share it with us.

I think that is different as she didn't tell us for the gossip factor.

I would just make sure you NEVER tell her anything again but I agree that she could use it against you if things end up bad between you.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 11-Dec-12 13:13:21

I'm not having a go here OP but why did you tell her when you must have known that if she spilt the beans you'd be in trouble?

PippinWoo Tue 11-Dec-12 13:20:41

I agree with poozlepants. You should be really careful if you don't want it to go any further. She may figure she's lost you as a friend so she's nothing more to lose by being the centre of attention at the next party as the person with the juicy gossip.

saccrofolium Tue 11-Dec-12 13:29:06

YANBU. An ex friend of mine did this. She divulged something really personal and painful about a relative of mine, to a mutual friend. There was no reason whatsoever to do it, she did it because she can't keep her trap shut.
I ended the friendship and told her why. She tried to keep things going and I relaxed slightly - she called to tell me she was having another baby and we were having a nice chat. Then she dropped into conversation that another mutual friend had recently discovered her dad wasn't her dad, it was her godfather and her mum had had an affair! I have no doubt whatsoever that the friend would be mortified to know that this girl was talking about her in this way, but it was just too juicy a chunk of gossip for her to keep in. We haven't spoken since, as there can be no trust and without that well what's the point?

Casserole Tue 11-Dec-12 14:15:03

I think I would text back saying that you need some space and that for now, it is best if she doesn't come to stay over Christmas.

Don't end things completely. Wait and see how you feel in the New Year.

girlywhirly Tue 11-Dec-12 14:53:13

Actually, I think the friend has a lot to lose by spreading this information, even while drunk. Everyone will realise she is untrustworthy and no-one will fancy talking to her as a friend and she may find herself short of invitations this Christmas.

EldritchCleavage Tue 11-Dec-12 15:14:59

I really don't think telling the OP she did wrong or was unwise is fair.

She confided a difficult secret in someone she thought she could trust, a close friend. That's part of what friends are for. I've certainly been told things I've never told anyone else (including DH), because the person desperately wanted somebody to talk to. It really isn't wrong or unrealistic to expect a close friend to provide a listening ear without telling the world your business.

And blurting it out to your boss while pissed sounds like rank carelessness, not having a burden too heavy to carry.

PowerPants Wed 12-Dec-12 00:52:09

Agree with Eldritch. I am honest and open with my friends and never divulge their confidences unless they expressly tell me I can.

ClippedPhoenix Wed 12-Dec-12 22:39:56

There are also people that genuinely can't keep their mouths shut. They still have a place as a good friend in other areas. I tend to only divulge a secret to someone i totally trust. There are probably two people in the whole world i can do this with. Choose your confidantes wisely, very wisely.

SundaysGirl Wed 12-Dec-12 23:18:39

Well she was clearly hugely out of order and personally yes I would uninvite her.

Got to say though I think it's really sad that a person can have their reputations trashed (or greatly fear it) simply by being related to someone. Maybe it's stupid of me to be saddened by that but I just think it's a crappy thing to happen and you cannot choose your family..why the fuck should you be judged on their actions? Surely most reasonable people would feel the same? Or am I just naive?

DoingitOnTheRoofTopWithSanta Thu 13-Dec-12 00:13:36

dump her

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Thu 13-Dec-12 00:27:05

Where did I hear recently that "Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead". Be more circumspect with whom you impart such sensitive information in future, OP. Why would you pass on information that has such risk to your family?

ChippingInAWinterWonderland Thu 13-Dec-12 01:09:57

Some of you must have pretty crappy friends if you couldn't tell them something important and personal and expect them to keep it to themselves sad

I have 'friends' and I have Friends - my Friends will go to their graves with my 'secrets' and me theirs. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't have a Friend like this sad

OP - for your own piece of mind, would it not be better to get this out in the open with the appropriate people, rather than have it hanging over you. Surely you can't be held responsible for your relations?!

SomersetONeil Thu 13-Dec-12 01:46:54

You poor thing OP. I would want to completely cut ties with such a person...

But the worry would be if you did this, that she'd blabber the secret far and wide, since there'd now be no reason to keep it. Especially if she found it just too juicy to keep thus far...

Not a great position for you to be in. sad

MrsMushroom Thu 13-Dec-12 05:25:18

If the secret is something that compromises someone's ability to do their job then YABU.

AlienRefucksLooksLikeSnow Thu 13-Dec-12 06:42:42

Yep, I'm with poozles go very carefully, a woman scorned and all that, I'm in the 'let's see how things are in the New Year, then slowly drift away, it's sad that she let you down, but you live and learn don't you sad

Rudolphstolemycarrots Thu 13-Dec-12 06:58:10

Has she grovelled? I think I would do Xmas but tell her that you can't trust and you can't risk ever confiding in her again. Highlight how much damage she potentially could do - worst case scenario.

There are people you can trust out there, but not her.

DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn Thu 13-Dec-12 07:02:18

If the secret is something that compromises someone's ability to do their job then YABU.

I didn't get the impression that it compromised her ability - she likened it to an MP with a dodgy brother.

Whatistodaysname Thu 13-Dec-12 07:13:27

Or a childrens social worker living with a suspected peadophile?

It's got to be something along those lines - and if it is - it shouldn't be being kept from your employer anyway.

DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn Thu 13-Dec-12 08:01:29

Regardless, the "friend" told someone when they were drunk. They didn't do anything out of a sense of "right". What the secret is and what it means is a red herring.

Whatistodaysname Thu 13-Dec-12 08:13:52

I don't know - there are some things that are just too horrible to expect one person to carry the burden of - I think what the secret is is very relevant. It may have been blurted out drunk because the friend has been really struggling with it and deep down needed help to cone to terms with it herself.

It's hard to say isn't it, without knowing.

scarletforyaOfficialXmasGRINCH Thu 13-Dec-12 08:25:03

Cut her dead.
She blabbed, then she lied about it and now the disingenuous 'pity me' groveling.
Red card her. Cheeky cow.

OP, reading between the lines, I think I understand (Sadly, I also have personal experience). I'd drop her like a stone. What to her is 'interesting gossip' is actually highly personal and damaging information. She's not the friend you thought she was, and she deserves to reflect on her own conduct here. But as others have said, your relative's behaviour does not reflect on you, and you don't have to share the burden of guilt iyswim. Hard, I know, but you've done nothing wrong.

Whatistodaysname Thu 13-Dec-12 10:04:13

Again I would disagree, if you choose to stand by someone who has done something absolutely dreadful, lie for them, or turn a blind eye while you know they are lying, then you are colluding with them and should share their shame. (Not relevant to this thread particularily - but how the family of a perpetrator of a crime acts can have a massive impact on the victim).

waltermittymistletoe Thu 13-Dec-12 12:09:58

Unless she has form for bitchy gossip I would guess that maybe she thought someone should know about this secret and it's possible consequences to be honest.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 13-Dec-12 12:15:32

Depends what it was. If a child discloses that they are being abused, then you cannot keep it secret.

I imagine there are other disclosure types that cannot be kept secret and must be passed to line manager.

Are you sure your friend didn't feel obliged to pass on the disclosure?

DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn Thu 13-Dec-12 12:27:34

Unless she has form for bitchy gossip I would guess that maybe she thought someone should know about this secret and it's possible consequences to be honest

I don't think that's that's the case because she said she was pissed and the OP says

Had some grovelling texts along the lines of I am a shit friend, I understand if you never talk to me again, I have massively broken your confidence etc.

gnocci Thu 13-Dec-12 12:41:49

Nothing to do with abuse. No need to disclose, she admits it was drunken gossip.

All the people who need to know, know.

She is grovelling massively but I have just text back saying I am too sad to talk at the moment.

TBH my main concern is press interest. I would be gutted for me children. I am the main breadwinner and would fear for my livlihood (I dont have an "employer", I am self-employed as such).

gnocci Thu 13-Dec-12 12:44:16

PS I am going to namechange now as worried about being outed. I promise I will continue to read your replies. THank you for all your responses.

izzyizin Thu 13-Dec-12 12:55:36

What impact, if any, has this disclosure had on your professional reputation?

Now that the number of those in the know has increased by one third, what can be done to ensure that the information goes no further?

It seems to me that if you end your relationship with your loose-tongued friend she may see no need to keep your secret - not that she's done a wonderful job so far but, presumably, you'll have more chance of damage limitation if you keep her onboard and onside.

As the the Mafia has it, keep your friends close and your enemies closer... and don't make the mistake of thinking that friends can always be trusted to have your best interests at heart.

TheProvincialLady Thu 13-Dec-12 13:14:29

I have an entire family full of convicted paedophiles, armed robbers, fraudesters etc. I am the least likely looking person you could meet to be related to such people. But even though I work in a job where integrity is everything, I refuse to be personally ashamed of these relatives - their crimes are not my crimes. I often feel that in these cases, being open is the best policy. For example, a politician whose brother was a paedophile would be better off making a statement to the press than to wait for someone to find out and for the media to run with the story, which s/he then reacts to.

If I were you I would plan a way of divulging your 'secret' to your colleagues and peers in an official way that makes it clear that you are not associated with and do not condone the actions of the relative involved.

gettingeasier Thu 13-Dec-12 13:27:40

Oh dear this must be very upsetting OP.

I agree say "Look lets let things settle down and see where we are in the New Year ". Gives you time to think about it.

Is she a very good friend and this is out of character ? Does she realise the seriousness of this information?

See you feel out of the heat of the moment

waltermittymistletoe Thu 13-Dec-12 15:28:46

Well in that case she was just being horribly gossipy and that's awful for you.

I wonder if, as a PP said, you'd be better off going 'public' with it yourself? Not to the press but to colleagues/peers so that it's not a horrible shock if they find out?

This boss of hers, will he be discreet?

I also agree that you shouldn't be punished for the sins of your family however if you are a politician or well-known person I know that wont be the case for you.

Maybe speak to a discreet publicist too if you feel there's a chance it would get out?

lookingfoxy Thu 13-Dec-12 15:49:04

Your right to disassociate from her, one friend in particular of mine knows things about me that could destroy my life as I know it.
I have never doubted that I can trust her. We have fell out, had a physical fight (years ago blush ), been drunk and outrageous and yet I have never once felt she would ever divulge my secrets which she has held for nearly 20 years.
I know some unpleasant stuff about her, but she told me in strictest confidence and she was hurting, I would never hurt or humiliate her that way by revealing these things.
She is the first person I call when something major happens and vice versa even if we haven't spoken in 6 months.
Your friend is not a friend.

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