Teen Talk: One lie about friend’s whereabouts snowballs into storm of bad feelings

Dear Kelly: Recently my good friend asked if she could tell her mom she was sleeping at my house because her boyfriend’s parents were out of town and she wanted to spend time over there. I said yes, and she said she would work out the details and that I had nothing to worry about.

The night she was supposed to be at my house I went to my friend’s house and posted a picture on Instagram of some of the people there. My friend’s younger sister replied and asked, “Is my sister there?” I didn’t reply because I didn’t want her to say anything that might get my friend in trouble. She then sent me a text that said, “My mom wants to know if my sister is there” because I guess she told her mom I didn’t reply and her mom got suspicious.

I didn’t know how to reply, so I tried to text my friend, but she didn’t reply because I guess she said she had turned off her phone or her battery had died. I didn’t reply because I didn’t know what to say, so she texted again and asked if her sister was there. So finally I texted back and just said, “Yes, she’s here.”

Then she texted back and said that her mom wanted her sister to call. I texted that I wasn’t around her and would have her call as soon as possible while I kept trying to text my best friend and her boyfriend. Neither of them would answer.

Then her mom called me and when I saw her little sister’s number, I didn’t answer and she left me a message that seemed really mad and said that if my friend wanted to not be in trouble, she would call her mom right away. I didn’t know what to do, so I sent her a text, “Call your mom. Big trouble.”

My friend didn’t turn on the phone until about midnight and freaked out. She texted me and I told her what happened. She called her mom but by then her mom knew something was up and told her to come home right then or be in worse trouble. My friend had to tell her mom that she couldn’t come home because she didn’t have a ride, and then eventually had to tell her mom that she was at her boyfriend’s house.

Now my friend is on permanent restriction and her boyfriend got in serious trouble for having her over when he wasn’t supposed to, and now their parents are saying they can’t even go out anymore. And guess who they are mad at? Me! Unbelievable, right? Neither one of them is even talking to me and they think I’m the cause of all their problems.

Her boyfriend tweeted something like, “ I hate people who panic and get everyone else in trouble.” She replied and wrote something mean, too. I guess they think I shouldn’t have posted the picture, and I should have not replied to her sister when she texted me.

I feel bad they got in trouble, but I feel more mad at them because they are blaming me for everything. What should I do? Was I wrong? Who’s to blame? Do I owe them an apology?

– Middle Man

Dear Middle Man: What a long story to describe a very simple situation. She asked you to lie for her and cover up her bad decision to go to her boyfriend’s house when no parents were there. It all blew up from there.

All three of you are to blame. You all took part in this disaster. Everyone had their own part. They started the lie and you kept it rolling. It’s unfair that they have made you out to be the scapegoat for what happened and aren’t taking any responsibility for the consequences. They are using blame to excuse their own bad behavior and trying to be right by making you be wrong. They are taking the easy way out and you’re paying the price for the fact they got caught.

They have shown you their true colors and it isn’t very pretty, or forgiving. She isn’t a good friend if this is how she treats someone she cares about. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out how to make up with them or become friends again – truth is, they aren’t worth it. You don’t owe them an apology nor do you need to be the doormat and allow them to be mean to you for their mistakes. They put you a sticky situation and expected you to help weave their web of deceit.

Move on. Make new friends. Unfollow them on Twitter. Call her mom and apologize. Take responsibility for your part. Learn an important lesson from this whole fiasco. The next time someone asks you to lie for them, stop it from the start. Shake your head no. Tell them that you already had one lie blow up in your face and ruin a friendship, so you aren’t willing to risk it happening again.

If your friends want someone to lie for them, they need to look in another direction and not drag you into it. Have the courage to say no and the wisdom to learn from your mistakes.

Kelly Richardson, a Folsom therapist, works with adolescents.