Dear Counsellor | Feeling guilty
Q: I have had a best friend for many years. She has been good to me, especially when I had trouble getting a job, and with my relationship problems. She even gave me an interest-free loan and a lot of time to pay it back. There were times she acted as a babysitter for me because I could not afford one. We have had good times. We have been to parties together. We have been to the beach together. Every year I go to her house for Christmas dinner. She keeps my secrets. She is my main counsellor and has really helped me out of some sticky situations. She has had a good life and really has things together.
I am not sure how it happened, but I joined in gossip against my friend. The things said were not true, but I validated them. I did it a few times and now I deeply regret it. It has been one year and nine months since this happened and every time I see and talk to my friend I feel guilty. I want to tell her what I did and what others said, but I wonder if this is a wise move.
A: You are a selfish person. You are only trying to ease your conscience. You knew these things were not true, yet you not only engaged in gossip once, but many times. You cannot be trusted as a friend. You had ample time to refrain from such behaviour. Furthermore, she has been a true friend to you. You should have been the one protecting her instead of stabbing her in the back. It could be that you are jealous of your friend and how well she is doing instead of appreciating her.
It will serve no useful purpose to tell her about something that happened so long ago. You would be passing the burden from your heart to her heart. She might have many questions and start to distrust people. She might start to wonder who else is backbiting her. In addition, do not state what others said and behave as if you were only joining the conservation. Joining the gossip and initiating it are equally bad.
You are suffering in silence for what you have done. Ask God for forgiveness and try to be a better and true friend. If you still feel bad, talk with a counsellor.