The government is spying, why can’t I?

It seems like everyone is Photo: How easy it is to read another's texting message

SALT LAKE CITY, June 14, 2013 —Write the Ask Angela Column by sending an email to or through the Ask Angela Facebook page.


I saw a few text messages pop up on my friend’s phone that included my name. Curiosity got the better of me and I picked up the phone and read what I could of the text messages.

From what I was able to read she’s planning on getting back together with an old boyfriend, but knowing that I completely disapprove (he’s abusive and awful) demanded that our mutual friend keep the information from me. Our mutual friend promised that she wouldn’t tell me and that’s all I read.

I find this issue to be very serious and I want to confront my friend and beg her not to make such a horrible mistake, but I feel like because I obtained the information in a somewhat dishonest manner, I have no right to say anything.

Do you think it’s possible to talk to her about this? Or does invading her privacy make my opinion moot.

Sincerely, GovernmentGal

Dear GovernmentGal,

Could you try talking to your friend without even mentioning the text messages? Yes, it’s invasive behavior for friends to read other friends’ text messages without permission, but mentioning that might detract from the main point that you’re trying to make. That main point being: You don’t want your friend to be in an abusive relationship.

Try saying something like, “Hey I’ve noticed you’ve been spending more time with (insert guy). I’m concerned because of (insert reason).”

Or, “Hey, how are things going with (insert guy)? You never mention him anymore. Is he still around?”

You guys are friends, but she’s obviously aware that you would disapprove, so instead of using your ill-obtained info to ambush her, try using it to find ways to be a better friend in what may be her time of need.

If the guilt of doing something you shouldn’t have is getting to you, then you can be honest and upfront about that. Most people can relate to the temptation to do a little snooping, especially where their name is involved. Tell her you saw some texts messages that you shouldn’t have seen, you’re sorry, and you want to apologize for that and reaffirm your care and respect for her. Tell her if she wants to talk, you’re there to talk, and leave it at that.

The snooping was bad, but how you’re feeling and your desire to help is good. Don’t let the one damage your ability to do the other.


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Angela Trusty

Angela Trusty brings her great life observations and advice Communities.  Angela also authors   ‘Ask Angela’ which also appears bi-monthly in the Deseret News. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the lucky sibling of 5 sisters and 1 brother.

She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, but Baltimore will always be her home. 


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