DEAR KELLY: Recently I spent the night at my friend’s house. She’s going out with a senior at our school, and we’re just sophomores. I had no idea what her plan was but she wanted to sneak out and go see him at a party once her parents fell asleep. He was at a party and had drunk so much that he called Uber to come pick us up and bring us to the party.
We stayed at the party until like 5 a.m., then he had another Uber bring us home. When we got home, her mom was waiting and we were totally caught. She called my parents, who came over to pick me up. Then I got yelled at the whole way home. I told my parents the whole truth, but my friend didn’t want her mom to know about the Uber because she didn’t want her parents to know her boyfriend was too drunk to drive. She thinks her mom would flip because we used Uber and had no idea who the driver was.
When our moms talked, they got so mad because they realized one of us had lied. My mom came and yelled at me again. I swore I told her the truth that we had taken Uber both ways. My friend told her mom she told the truth, too, and asked me to just say that I lied so her parents wouldn’t call her boyfriend’s parents and tell them that he was too wasted to drive. If I say I lied, I lose my phone for a whole month and I’m on serious restriction.
I don’t want to say I lied, because I didn’t, but my friend’s making me feel bad for not “having her back.” She said I’m just telling a little white lie and that we actually did the smart and safe thing, but it seems bigger than that and I’m so confused.
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Any advice on how to get out of this situation without everyone hating me? I don’t know what to do and this situation feels terrible.
DEAR DEEDEE: Your friend is not only lying to her parents, but she is lying to you as well. She isn’t asking you to tell a little white lie, she’s asking you to be the fall guy because she got caught and is trying to save face for her choices, as well as her boyfriend’s. She has decided her parents’ feelings about her boyfriend’s choices are more important than your relationship with your parents. Don’t let her talk you into something you know isn’t right just so she and her boyfriend can stay in good graces with her parents.
Tell your friend that your confessions of the truth have nothing to do with not “having her back,” but more with not wanting to continue to break your parents’ trust and lose your phone for a month. Not to mention when you start to tell a lie, it often weaves itself into a web of stories that aren’t true and can get you in more trouble. If she can’t see how unfair it is to ask you to take blame for what went down, then she is no friend at all. She sounds selfish and self-serving to expect you to lie just to save her boyfriend’s image.
Be honest with your parents. “No lies. Here is what happened.” Explain that your friend didn’t want her parents to know her boyfriend had been drinking but you are telling them the truth. It may be hard for them to fully believe you because they are hearing a different story from your friend’s mom, but stick to the truth and the facts. Don’t protect anyone or fudge any parts of the story. Just speak the truth.
Two things will happen. One: You will feel better. Maybe your “friend” will be upset or mad but you will feel relief and be able to fully exhale once you know you spoke the truth. Being honest is so liberating and takes a ton of worry off our minds. Even if you get in trouble with your parents, you won’t need to carry around any more anxiety about what they may or may not find out. You are free from the lies and free from the energy it takes to keep up the lies.
Two: You will begin to repair your relationship with your parents. Right now they feel betrayed and distrusting. By being honest and accepting the consequences, you will repair the relationship faster than if you keep lying and slowly the truth comes out. Each time your parents realize you have lied, they will feel less trusting and more hurt and angry. Once you come clean, you start to rebuild the trust. If you stay the course and don’t lie again, they will begin to trust you again and this will just be a little hiccup between you.
You snuck out. You got caught. Tell the truth like you want to do. You made a mistake, it happens. But a bigger mistake would be to tell another lie just to cover up what really happened. Don’t let your friend talk you out of sticking to the truth just so she and her boyfriend don’t have to face their consequences. You have a moral compass – listen to it and trust in what you know is the right thing to do.