Marwa Rakha is a relationship expert who has the answers to all of your love questions and dilemmas! 

Dear Marwa,

My girlfriends all openly discuss their relationships and complain about their significant others in almost every conversation we have together. But despite the fact that I’m in a relationship, I don’t do that! My husband tells me that our problems aren’t meant to be publicized. But at times, I feel left out because I’m not sharing any fights or issues that occur between me and my husband back in the home front. I feel as if I am missing out on their insight and what ideas they might have to help. I don’t know if this is just plain gossip or if they truly want to help me out? My husband says that they’re only curious and want to compare our marital life with theirs. Should I involve them? Or should I stay quiet?


Socially Silent

Dear Socially Silent,

Some people are born secretive; they naturally do not feel comfortable sharing personal stories, thoughts and feelings, experiences, hopes, dreams and anything they feel might leave them vulnerable on any given day. These people do have friends, but they choose to be listeners. They would listen to their friends share their heartbreaking experiences and exciting dark adventures, but will never share a story back. They might listen in silence, comment with enthusiasm, give advice or encourage further sharing by probing questions. Bottom line, not sharing personal stories does not mean that you have nothing to share; it just means that you are uncomfortable sharing.

There are also those who do open up and trust a selected few – only a selected few – with their innermost thoughts, fears and horror stories. This bunch knows the difference between an intimate friend, a close friend, a friend, a colleague, an acquaintance, a stranger and a complete stranger. They know that in this world nothing lasts forever! There are neither eternal friends nor eternal enemies; there are mutual interests and those are what keep people together or set them apart.

You need to decide what kind of person you are, what you feel comfortable sharing, who you feel comfortable sharing with and if you need to share in the first place. You also need to use your wisdom and analytical skills; think of those who shared their intimate details and think of how others dealt with their secrets. Were their secrets well kept? Were they used against them? Were their feelings respected? Were they scandalized? Were they back-stabbed? Look at your group of friends and see how sincere of a friendship they truly share. Look at their fights and what was said or unsaid. Look deep and think … do you truly want to expose yourself in front of this group. I’m neither suggesting that you should or that you should not; I’m just asking you to find out who you are, what you need to do and if they are the most suitable people to satisfy this need.

On the other hand, your secrets are not yours alone. Any story you share involves both you and your husband. Hence, he has to approve of his story being shared. If you agreed to not sharing, then you need to honor this agreement. If you really have the urge to share, talk about the general things – the anecdotal things not the intimate things. If your group of friends accuse you of being “socially silent”, just tell them that your husband is a private person and that you promised him not to expose your private life. Tell them that when they share their stories, you do not use your acquired knowledge as gossip material and that you respect your vow to secrecy. If they truly insist, then they are not friends! They are, in that case, just a curious gossiping group who know nothing about privacy, vows, promises or friendship.