What’s a Little Secret Between Friends?

As much as I embrace teeny bopper culture (and considering I have a lifesize High School Musical poster in my cubicle—which, I repeat, was not put there by me—we can probably agree that I embrace it very much), I actually don’t read too many Young Adult books. Sure, I’ll always give in to a fad like Twilight or The Hunger Games, but I rarely read a one-off YA novel.

This weekend I made an exception and devoured Before I Fall, a Groundhog Day-esque story about a high school girl who lives her last day over and over again. Let me tell you, it was goooood. I couldn’t put it down.

Of course, as with any book about—or for—teens, there was a large focus on the main character’s friendships. All the usual concerns, frustrations, giggles and moments of elation were there. It was true to what a teenage friendship is, at least from what I remember.

There’s one quote from the book that has branded itself in my brain, probably because of my already heightened interest in friendship and also because of last week’s post about infidelity:

“A good friend keeps your secrets for you. A best friend helps you keep your own secrets.”

A best friend, or so says author Lauren Oliver, is someone who can tell your secrets by reading your face and watching your actions. She knows when a subject matter is off-limits, and doesn’t pry. A BFF can tell which topics are too touchy to broach, and she’ll let you be the keeper of your secrets, rather than forcing you to dish.

I think the quote is spot-one. Best friends help you keep your own secrets. They’re not interested in outing your insecurities, just protecting you from them.

Right? Isn’t that how friendship works?

What about you? Do you believe there’s truth to that quote? Have you ever experienced this difference between a good friend and a best friend?


Filed under The Search

6 responses to “What’s a Little Secret Between Friends?

  1. Rema

    i love that quote! i’m totally going to download that book and the sweet valley reunion book now that i don’t write book reports anymore;)

  2. Ooh, I like that quote. And a truly great trait in a BFF.

    And I love a new book recommendation. Another Young Adult book that I just read and super loved is called The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. Fantastic!

  3. Layla

    This 6th sense of knowing your friend’s secrets and when to pry and when not to… is that something some people are intuitively born with? Or is it something you can work at and learn?

    To me it seems like a romanticized idea, the same way that “falling in love” seemed like a romanticized idea (until it happened).

    • I don’t think it’s a sixth sense of knowing secrets you’ve never been told, so much as the fact that when you get to know someone well enough, you start to understand when there are things they don’t want to talk about. I think you can get a sense of when they want to open up, and when it’s best to leave them be.

      Of course, this is hardly foolproof. I once got in a fight with a friend because I thought she didn’t want to talk about something and I changed the subject in an effort to be helpful, and she was angry and thought it was selfish that I was turning attention away from her problem. So like I said, not foolproof. But I do feel that with best friends, there is often an unspoken knowledge of when it’s time to just help a friend keep her secrets to herself. But that’s just my take, and I’m just one person…

  4. Megan

    Hmmm, I’m not so sure I agree with this, actually. It’s only nice to be protected from your own dark secrets if you’re not interested in dealing with them and growing through them. I can see how a BFF would help keep your secrets from others, but a BFF would want the best for you, so I would think she would do something encourage you to NOT keep secrets from yourself (because, presumably the only reason you’d be doing that is if it was something you didn’t want to deal with and probably should…) but to deal with whatever the secret is (and the reason you want to hide)…

  5. Rebecca

    Paper Towns by John Green is a good YA novel.

    Good quote & post, Rachel.

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