Feeling offended and rejected by friends that keep secrets from you is a natural reaction. It sucks when someone you genuinely care about withholds information about themselves from you. It makes you feel insecure.
Why do my friends not trust me? Are we not as closely connected as I thought?
Ironically, it may have nothing to do with you per se. Sometimes, friends that keep secrets from you are actually trying to protect themselves or others.
Some secrets are too embarrassing and/or hurtful to share. Others are destructive and have the potential to cause a lot of harm.
- Your friend could have lost a job or been fired.
- Their relationship or marriage could be ending
- They’re dealing with a legal issue.
- They’re dealing with an illness that is stigmatizing.
These are all serious situations that take a toll on a person. Depending on the type of person your friends are, they may prefer to deal with these issues privately.
Personally, I like to separate my personal issues from a lot of my friendships.
I have a best friend who I share most of my secrets with but even then, some stuff never leaves my lips.
It’s not a trust issue, I just prefer to keep some things close to the chest.
Your friends could feel the same way.
Let’s talk about more reasons why your friends keep secrets from you.
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1. Some secrets are too embarrassing to share
Not all friends are comfortable opening themselves up to their loved ones and being vulnerable.
It’s a scary thing to do – exposing your truest self in a situation that is not flattering at all.
Such a situation has very little to do with you. This is something your friend is battling to deal with.
They’re afraid of being judged or your opinion of them changes due to this secret.
Don’t take it too personally. Often, your friends will open up about stuff when it’s no longer a big issue for them.
2. They’re afraid you’ll tell other people
On one hand, this could be indicative of low levels of trust in your friendships either caused by you spreading stories or poor communication with each other.
If your friends don’t implicitly trust you, it will play a huge factor in whether or not they confide in you about things that could heavily affect their lives.
Dealing with this requires an infinite amount of patience and a willingness to communicate in a non-confrontational manner.
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3. It’s too soon to talk about
Sometimes, friends keep secrets from each other until more information comes to light.
It would be silly and problematic to talk about something important without all the information on hand.
Up until then, your friends are just waiting for events to play out in more detail before talking to you about it.
To avoid spreading inaccurate stories or facts, it’s imperative to wait on all the proven facts before informing others. This is a mature way of dealing with a situation that could affect the friendship as well as other people.
With that being said, let’s focus on how to build trust with your friends so that they feel comfortable sharing secrets with you.
Step 1: Keep your word and promises
If you make a promise to your friends, keep it. Don’t be the type of person who tells people what they want to hear only to turn around and do the opposite.
Trust is dependent on action.
The more you prove yourself to be trustworthy, the more inclined people feel to trust you without reservation.
Trust is nurtured via promises that are kept, no matter what.
The next time you give your friends your word, don’t go back on it. If you must, talk to them about it first before going ahead and breaking your promises.
Step 2: Be transparent
The quickest and most effective way to convince others to trust you is by taking a risk and trusting them.
By opening up to your friends and letting them in on your secrets, it gives them ease of mind knowing that you’re putting yourself in a vulnerable position to earn their trust.
In return, this will encourage them to trust you and let their guard down because they know that you genuinely care.
A fake friend wouldn’t go through the trouble of extending themselves in such a manner. It takes guts but it works.
Related post: Should friends be honest with each other
Step 3: Be incredibly kind and patient
Most secrets deal with sensitive matters that affect people’s lives. Just because your friends haven’t shared them with you doesn’t mean you should treat them poorly.
In fact, being kind about it and letting them know that you’ll support them irrespective of whether they choose to confide in you or not may just be the deciding factor in whether they decided to trust you more or not.
Kindness and patience go hand in hand. Collectively, they can create a strong sense of comfort and trust in any friendship.
Don’t force your friends to do something they’re not comfortable with yet.
That alone could be enough to create a comfortable dynamic for them to change their minds.
You never know, your friends may not be emotionally ready to deal with their secret and by being patient, it removes any unnecessary stress and pressure from the situation.
You can’t force people to trust you
If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that trust has to be earned naturally and organically. You can never force someone to divulge their secrets to you without them wanting to.
In fact, the same could be said for relationships.
Trust is the kind of thing that holds every sort of relationship together.
It may not be strong enough right now but as time passes and you accumulate a ton of meaningful memories with your friends or partner, the trust will organically mature.
Give it some time.
At most, you can have a non-confrontational conversation with your friends letting them know how it makes you feel to be left out of the group in regards to these secrets.
Don’t come from a place of being desperate for drama.
Show them that your intentions are pure and you just want to feel like you’re a trusted friend who they can turn to.
Rather than impose your desire on them, be patient and open to a conversation.
Most importantly, though, I would encourage you to respect your friends’ privacy.
Let them choose to confide in you.
That’s what matters most, especially in a situation of this kind.
With that being said, I hope you found some clarity on what to do with friends that keep secrets from you. Please feel free to share your thoughts or questions in the comment section below and I’ll reply to all of them.