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best friend...should i disclose?

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I'm debating whether or not to disclose to one of my friends. She's kind of a spoiled, princessy girl. A few years younger than me. When we first met we partied together a ton and travelled a lot and did all the things well off college kids do. Slowly she began to become what you would call a "best friend". we spent almost every night hanging out, going to dinner or shows, getting into trouble, whatever it was we did it together. the last year or so we were both drinking a lot and doing a lot of drugs. I slowly stopped most of this when I found out I was positive in september. I'd still go out every now and then but i didnt really "party" like i did before. She continued to rage on but was still my best friend. Let me say that I really do love a lot about this girl and our relationship was based on more than just fun times. When I found out I was positive, I did not feel comfortable talking to her about it. I thought she would probably be pretty uneducated about it and that she would treat me differently, blah blah. Mostly I thought she would get wasted and tell all of our other friends. It's not that I'm against disclosing my status; i've told a decent amount of people. i just feel comfortable with only talking about it with people i'm very close with. She has a tendency to blab when shes drinking and I just didnt think i could trust her with it. So, I decided not to tell her.

I feel like i've been going through so much these past 5 months and it's been really hard to keep her in the dark since I see her so often. She's noticed that my mood has changed and mentioned it but i've just kind fo brushed it off. For the past few months shes been having some problems. She committed herself to a psych ward right before christmas, then decided she was just being melodramatic and checked herself out. She's gone to the hospital a few times because she thinks shes ODing but really shes been fine every time. Recently she started this new age, detox, rehab outpatient program. She's there 4 hours 5 days a week. Early this week she told me she was suffering from severe alcohol withdrawal and wanted me to go with her to the hospital. This seemed off to me because she maybe drinks 3 or 4 nights a week, and only drinks excessively about half those times. I've also known her to go weeks without drinking even in the last few months. From everything I've read it's almost impossible for someone like that to really be suffering from alcohol withdrawal. I told her I thought she was overreacting and that i wouldnt go with her to the hospital because I didnt want to play into her melodramas.

I've been kind of bitchy about most of her issues and blown the all off as "rich, white girl problems" which they very well may be. But I guess the bottom line is that I feel like i'm being a shitty friend to her and that I need to be more supportive. I think i'm trivializing her issues because I feel like what I've been going through my HIV is so much more drastic. in a way I kind of resent her for not being there for me even though I chose not to tell her. i know it's crazy but i just dont know...i'm not sure if i actually think shes full of crap and needs a wakeup call or if im being a bad friend because i feel like my own problems are bigger than hers. this has led me to try to decide if i should disclose to her because she wants to talk with me about what an unsupportive friend I've been and it seems like a good time to get it all out there. I'm still worried that she'll tell a bunch of people but hopefully her new sobriety will help with that?

What do you guys think? Is it worth it to risk telling her, or am I just trying to use my disclosure as an excuse for being a bitchy bad friend?

Wow, that's a lot to unpack.

You know I'm no expert, but since I'm here on the forums for a minute tonight… ;) Here are some thoughts that came up. Maybe it's helpful hearing what a third party (me) thinks.

1) I don't think you should disclose to anyone unless you feel comfortable.
2) I don't think you should disclose to anyone who you think might blab unless you're prepared for the possibility that they might blab. And the consequences.
3) It's possible that you two could be helping see each other through your individual problems. Maybe she has some secret too, but since she hasn't told you, her problems come across as 'first world trouble' and that's why she's upset now - she might be dealing with something huge that you don't know about. :) Or maybe not.

One thing jumped out at me:

"this has led me to try to decide if i should disclose to her because she wants to talk with me about what an unsupportive friend I've been and it seems like a good time to get it all out there."

It's good that she can be so open, but it seems a little one-sided. She wants to talk to *you* about how *you've* been unsupportive. I only have your side, but it sounds mutual. Now might be a good time to bring up why you may have seemed distant lately (you're HIV status), on the other hand, she may think you're using it as an excuse or trying to one-up her problems, depending on what sort of person she is. Only you know that. :) In general, I would try to disclose at a time and place that's comfortable for you and not because your hand is forced, but that's not always possible.

I wear my status on my sleeve (or have it tattooed on my heart, rather ;) ), so I hope to avoid ever having to try to hide it. It sounds painful/hard to do. Good luck. :)

Don't tell her you are HIV+ if you think she will blab and you don't want that to happen. 

Besides that, why not just support her some more. It seems very odd to me that you insist on comparing the gravity of your respective challenges. From what you describe, she sounds like she has/had serious challenges controlling the drinking and drugs, so why can't you just accept that is serious for her, and stop comparing it to your HIV diagnosis.  Your HIV status doesn't have any connection to her battle to clean up her life a bit.  You don't want to disclose it to her, and for good reason, so move on and help her deal with her stuff. She's your very good friend, really its the minimum.  If there is some melodrama involved in her process, so what? Give her your take on the drama as an opinion, but you could still support her, within your limits and availability.

is it really that odd for people to compare their situations with others they're close with?

I think you should choose whether or not you still want to be friends with this person.

 I say this because if you decide not to tell her (one of your best friends) and she finds out later, she may very well be very pissed that you, a best friend, kept something so important from her.  She may very well end the friendship.  You cannot remain best friends with someone and keep this secret.


You tell her and accept whatever the consequences are.  Just from the sounds of it I think if you tell her you need to be prepared for her to tell others.  Just from what you wrote.

or, you end the friendship and chalk it up to people grow and sometimes grow out of friendships.  It happens quite often and it sounds like from what you have written you may have already grown out of this relationship.  But only you know if this is true or not. 

I hope you choose what your comfortable with.


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