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A text message that violated the trust between friends

October 30, 2013 | By | 9 Replies Continue Reading
One friend snooped, the other was caught writing hurtful words. Is is possible to rebuild their friendship?

QUESTION

My friend of eight years and I have had a recent falling out about things she found in a text message thread on my phone. Apparently she had been going through messages between me and my ex-boyfriend (and now best friend). I know that I may have said a few things about her that may have been hurtful. A lot of the things that I said were stuff I really didn’t mean.

I am fully aware of the fact that my actions were out of line as a friend. Although I was wrong in this situation, I can’t help but feel a little animosity towards her as well. My privacy has been invaded. She has confronted me about the situation and I apologized for what I said. Things between us still aren’t the same and I am unsure if they will ever be. I think trust has been broken on both ends of this friendship.

Although I am not seeking full reconciliation, I would like to know what steps I should take next.We currently share an apartment together so its hard to get space. How do we coexist with avoid making it less awkward for our other roommates?

Eliza

ANSWER

Dear Eliza,

This is a very difficult situation, not least of all because you live together. It sounds like you are having a reasonable and mature reaction to what happened: You admit you were hurtful to a friend, you’ve apologized, and you want to move forward for the sake of yourself and your other roommates. You also admit that you feel angry about her reading your text messages. Given your level of self-awareness, I think there is hope that you can make things a little better between the two of you.

I think you should tell your friend that you want to talk, and then, in a neutral setting (outside of your shared home) you should reiterate that you are sorry, and then try to explore two things:

1) Why you wrote those things, even if you didn’t mean them. (Maybe you were trying to please your ex in some way? Or maybe you have issues and resentments with your friend that you haven’t addressed?) and

2) Why she was motivated to look in your phone in the first place. Clearly it’s wrong to snoop, and it’s okay for you to express your anger about that. But did she suspect something was “off” with you two? Did part of her want to find something so that she could express anger toward you?

My hope is that if you two speak honestly about both these points, you can get to some deeper truths and ways to reconnect. If the conversation isn’t very productive, you might have to decide to be less close but to remain civil for the sake of your other roommates.

In the age of text messages and social media, hurtful words, no matter how much or how little they reflect the complete truth of our feelings, linger for a long time. It’s up to all of us to work on being more careful of what we write before we press Send.

I hope this helps,
Carlin Flora

Author of Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are


*Carlin Flora is a friend and colleague of the Friendship Doctor.

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Category: Communication, KEEPING FRIENDS

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  1. Friendship: A matter of trust - The Friendship Blog : The Friendship Blog | October 11, 2014
  1. A says:

    My best friend read my texts w/ her brother or my crush…. She read the last part which was about playing ps and watching a movie after there family left to work/ school….. (Both our schools didnt start yet) ….. She read it while i was sleeping and got mad…. She asked her brother about it and her brother told me to change my passcode….. This happened last night…. I found out what happened today….

  2. Sophia says:

    I have this problem with my best friend. We’ve been best friends for three years now and we’re currently in a huge fight because she sent me a really really hurtful text message. And now she thinks this is all my fault. Can you please help me? Really would like to mend our friendship back

  3. Shel says:

    A “friend” of mine did the same thing as you did, and complained about me to another friend on a note. I wasn’t being nosy nor invading her privacy,but the note was left in a place at work where anyone could look down and read it. Well things went south from there forward, she had been for quite sometime talking about me behind my back and smiling in my face.

    You have every right to be angry at your friend for going through the messages on your phone. She truly overstepped her boundaries, and if she hadn’t been invading your privacy, she wouldn’t have read those texts. I hope you can at least be cordial to your friend.

    Good luck

  4. S says:

    I’m really sorry that happened to you, and I agree with a lot of what has already been written, so this is just a word of advice: using a password to lock your phone when you aren’t using it is a great way to minimise the risk of your texts being read without your permission. Yeah, it’s better to be careful of what we’re sending via text, but, let’s face it, none of us are perfect.

  5. Jas says:

    If she didn’t do all the hurtful things, you wouldn’t have complain it to your ex-boyfriend right? I think the friendship has grown apart without realizing it. She check your phone privately mean she don’t trust you either.

  6. Sheryl says:

    A real downfall- and danger – of social media. Once it’s out there, a message is exposed. I guess we all have to assume, before we put it out there, it will be inadvertently shared or seen.

  7. Anything we put out into cyberspace is like skywriting. Period. I’m not saying she didn’t violate your privacy because of the way she snooped, but we all need to understand the pitfalls of the Internet. Did you ever forward an email, forgetting it was part of a thread or hit “reply all” by mistake?

  8. Amy says:

    Sounds like you learned a painful lesson, and hopefully she did too. I have a rule of never putting anything in text, email, fb etc that I wouldn’t care if everyone saw, because digital pictures and words can be forwarded and taken out of context.
    If you had a solid relationship before this, and both of you are equally willing to put forth an effort, you can probably recapture your relationship slowly, over a period of time. If your relationship was never that solid and trusting, I’m not sure how much you can build without that foundation.
    I have more empathy for you, because your personal property was invaded and to me, despite what you’ve said about her in the text, is harder to overcome. If it were me, I’d assume she might do it again and act accordingly on what I text and what I immediately erase.
    Good luck with your friend.

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