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Home » Expert Q & A » Adolescent Issues » Adolescent Issues: David Johnson

Rumors among friends, to tell or not.

  • Asks ...

    We have been family friends with our neighbors who I will call the smiths (not their real names) for more than 20 years. They are lovely people. Our daughters were born one year apart and were best friends for a lot of years in early childhood. Once they got into middle school and high school the grade difference got big and they drifted apart and now very rarely socialize anymore. I think they also turned into slightly different people along the way.

    Well then, my daughter came home from a high school party last night and told me a very disturbing story about her old friend. Apparently, the girl (who is now 16) was drunk at the party and was exchanging sexual favors for alcohol and drugs.

    I asked my daughter if she was sure it was true and she said that she was. She said the girl was pretty wild and drank a lot but she had never seen her do anything like this before. She said she overheard the girl ‘make a deal’ with a group of boys before going into a bedroom with them.

    I am shocked and saddened by this. I remember her as this sweet little red headed girl at my kitchen table. But now I don’t know what to do. Should I tell her parents what I learned? How could I tell them in a way that wouldn’t hurt them irreparably? I also worry about being ‘the messenger’ for such tidings. This may seem selfish, but I do not want to damage our friendly relationship either. Should I tell our pastor and ask him to speak with them? I do not want to spread this any further around than need be, of course.

  • David Johnson Says ...
    David  Johnson

    Telling your friends will come with consequences. There is no doubt that relationships will be affected, but in which way will depend on the people involved. Your choice is a personal one and should be based on your values. If you choose to tell them, you can and should leave out the details. Mentioning that you heard that her daughter was drinking heavily and involved with boys will communicate all they need to know. Your loyalty to your friends may end or dampen the friendship, or it may make it closer than ever. My thoughts are with you.

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