A weekly series in which our expert in all things everything solves life’s conundrums, big and small.  Got a problem that could use a no-nonsense perspective?  Tell it to the Co-It-All at voice@intheco.com 

 

Dear Co-It-All,

My very good friend has a relatively new girlfriend, who he just introduced me to last week. They seem to make a great couple. Only problem is—she (the new gf) just came up on my Tinder feed. Should I tell my friend or just assume that she was using Tinder before they got together and let it go? 

 

You have found yourself in the middle of what has become an increasingly typical modern relationship drama: Boy meets Girl, Boy and Girl start dating, Boy’s friend discovers Girl on hook up app and wonders whether this means she is hooking up behind Boy’s back. Of course this is a possible scenario, but like you said, it’s also possible that Girl was simply on Tinder before getting together with Boy and hasn’t bothered to remove her profile.

While we’re making arbitrary assumptions (read: wild guesses) as to what’s going on here, here are a few more possibilities: 1) Boy and Girl are happily dating but are not exclusive; 2) Girl isn’t getting rid of her Tinder profile because she has been dating a new guy for, like, two seconds, and still isn’t 100% sure if he is her immortal beloved; 3) Girl is part of the well documented demographic that uses Tinder as a confidence booster/video game/time killer rather than a path to possible hook ups; 4) Girl is, indeed, a lying cheating sleazebag guaranteed to break poor Boy’s heart; 5) Girl is on Tinder to make valuable platonic relationships.

 

Ha!

 

That last one was a joke—obviously. No matter what the Tinder PR machine wants us to believe, we all know what the app is really about and meeting your new BFF ain’t that. Still, you see my point, which is that there are so many possible explanations for Girl to have a Tinder account and most of them are perfectly acceptable.

In other words, your big discovery might not be the “dun, dun, duuuuuuuuuh,” revelation you’re imagining it to be. Which is a good thing—

Because, to answer your question—yes, you absolutely have to tell your friend about what you saw. Why? Because you mention that he is a very good friend and—surprise parties and “what did you think of my karaoke number?” notwithstanding—very good friends do not lie to each other. Even by omission. And that is what keeping your mouth shut would be.

Of course you could try lying to yourself. Telling yourself that you shouldn’t stick your nose into someone else’s personal relationship, that this is none of your business and that maybe the person you saw on Tinder was actually Girl’s twin sister…with the same name.

But then imagine a day two months from now. You and Boy are at a baseball game. Boy says, “Dude—I just found out Girl is on Tinder!!! I can’t believe what a lying, cheating sleazebag she is.” And you say—what? “Oh wow man. That sucks. And, by the way, I knew about this this two months ago and assumed you were cool with it.” Something tells me the “very good friendship” you describe might not make it past the seventh inning stretch.

As the oft-unlucky messenger, do you run the risk of getting shot at a few times? Well sure, but in a lasting friendship taking an emotional bullet or two is part of the job description. And it’s not like he won’t believe you. I mean, you took a screen grab, right? Righhhhhhhht?

I’m not saying you’re a liar. Or even that your friend will think you are a liar. It’s just that in situations of unwanted news, the brain has a way of playing tricks and misdirecting emotion. If your friend doesn’t want to believe that Girl is on Tinder, photographic evidence will provide valuable, irrefutable evidence, which is why private detectives don’t just report back on a spouse getting busy in a motel, they take pictures.

If you neglected to get a screen grab, don’t worry—there’s an app for that. It’s called Swipebuster and for five bucks, you can input the first name, location, gender and age of an individual and find out if they’re on Tinder. The app was invented for husbands/wives/boyfriends/girlfriends who want to find out if their partner is engaging in cyber infidelity, but there’s no rule that says concerned friends can’t use it too.