Are there any secrets in friendship? I am often asked if it is acceptable to not tell certain friends certain things. Why not? While overt lying is something that should likely be avoided, that doesn’t mean you must reveal all things to all people. It is reasonable to think about friends as being of different levels. Lower level friends may not really be true friends, but rather “acquaintances.” These may include some workplace relationships, people you commute with, those you know by face but little more. Middle level friends are people you may speak with, perhaps even quite often, but don’t really know all that well. Think of them as being in your circle, but not the inner circle. Top level friends are your best friends…the ones you confide in…the ones who know it all.
It is healthy to have close friends who we feel we can trust 100%. These are the ones who are there for us through thick and thin. These are the friends who we consider to be our best friends. Ideally, we should feel that we can tell our best friends just about anything. Beyond that, use discretion. There is certainly no rule that says you must tell all of your friends everything and you’re not doing anything wrong by using discretion. Quite frankly, some of the people in our circle may not really want to know everything and you will likely be disappointed by treating all of your friends as if they were top level friends. All of friends don’t want to know everything about you. However, one of the best ways to build intimacy and to give people the opportunity to become one of your top level friends is to share things with them and trust that they will do in kind. Proceed with discretion and you may wind up with even deeper, more meaningful friendships.