Friendship, do you have to say everything?

Her husband is cheating on her, her teen is smoking, he has really gained weight ... We are sometimes tempted to "tell the truth" to our closest friends. For their sake, we think, because we love them. But, in the name of the franchise, are we as benevolent as we believe?

Caroline Desages

"One evening, Coline's fiance, one of my best friends, made explicit advances to me, and the next day I told Coline that it was obvious to me She had to know that there was no secret between us, and at the moment she was completely stunned, then she thanked me for my sincerity ... To remind me the next day and forbid me to approach her fiancé in the future, during the night, I became a tease and the enemy to kill. " Marine, 34, retains from this bitter experience that even when the word is motivated only by the desire for frankness, it can destroy a relationship. Beyond this particular example is the question: can we say everything in friendship? Not in the sense of an intangible rule, a norm that would provide us with a ready-made answer: that, we can say it, that, no ... But rather from the angle of our own innocence in this word that we want to express . What is hiding behind our friendly benevolence?

We are a liberator

"Even when spoken out in all sincerity, our word aims to settle our own accounts," says Catherine Aimelet-Périssol, psychotherapist "Inevitably, coexist what we say to each other and what we let's trust in ourselves. " To reveal to a friend the infidelity of her spouse, it may be to answer this need that we would have, we, to know it if we were in its place. "It is also possibly, and we admit it less, a a way of arrogating to oneself a power, of posing as a "liberator", the psychotherapist goes on, "In any case, the one who speaks engages his responsibility." First, the responsibility to hurt. Charlotte, 28, says that her roommate, whom she was very close to, had made her swear to warn her if she was gaining too much weight. What Charlotte did, thinking to follow the instructions issued by Céline. Except that she did not expect so much. "The day I slipped her she should calm down on the Nutella, it was never the same between us. did not feel she could suffer. " "To say, in the name of friendship," You do not take care of yourself, "" You have grown fat, "" You should see a dermatologist, "is not trivial and rarely expressed without ulterior motives. moreover refer to the way our own mother spoke to us, supposedly for our good, "said Carole Azoulay, psychiatrist.It is necessary, before pronouncing them, to ask oneself whether the other is able to welcome this "truth" that we are about to share with him. "Friendship must also respect the freedom of each one," he said. writer Jacqueline Kelen, author of love of friendship Robert Laffont 2002). A freedom that can be to ignore the infidelity of his spouse, the lies of his children or his weight gain. Deciding to open a friend's eyes "is very intrusive and rarely comforting," Carole Azoulay warns.

We impose our truth

"Above all, is friendship not defined above all by the comforting faculty it offers?" asks Jacqueline Kelen. Our first duty to the other would then be to protect him rather than impose a reality that he has chosen to ignore. "We can help him find the truth by questioning and listening. her friend if her husband is not a little absent lately will not have the same range as to tell him he's cheating on her! " nuance Carole Azoulay. And we can also put a little distance in the relationship, so as to cause the other to wonder about the reasons for our removal. One way to free ourselves from the weight of knowing some things that the other ignores without having to empty his bag. A way to put his friend on the road and make him an actor of this quest for truth. Marc could not stand to see Olivier get entangled in a story doomed to fail with a woman who did not love him. "I knew by others that she was going elsewhere. I could not hear her telling me about her every time we saw each other, and as I understood that nothing I said would be heard, I took off and stopped responding to his calls. " The result was not long in coming. One evening, Olivier arrived unexpectedly to ask Marc what the problem was. At that time, it was easier for him to justify himself: "Instead of criticizing his girlfriend, I told him that I did not recognize him anymore and that I did not take pleasure to see him like that, all the time unhappy and obsessed by this girl. " A few days later, the two friends were together over a drink, as before. Olivier did not put an end to this romantic relationship that Marc considered toxic, but he now manages to talk about something else when they spend an evening together.


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