What to do when someone reads your diary

What to do when someone you don’t like reads your diary?

When someone reads your diary, it can feel embarrassing and sometimes even humiliating. Let me tell you my story

In December 2017, I was at a chess tournament in Malaysia, staying with 2 other friends in a shared room. The entire trip kept getting worse. One of my friends did everything in their power to isolate me. 

At that time, I had a habit of writing down my day in a diary. Almost all my friends knew about this habit. 

And specifically in Malaysia, to clear out my frustration and anger, I would write about how I was being isolated. It was one of the darkest periods of my life, and journaling seemed to be the only good thing I could do.

Everything was normal, I thought…

Then once the tournament ended, I returned to India for another event. And there I discovered a shocking truth from one of my common friends – The person who tried to isolate me and with whom I was sharing a room in Malaysia had read my diary there.

This happened when one day, they were in the room alone while I was at the tournament hall playing my round. This person shamelessly unzipped my bag, took out the diary, and started reading it. They even confessed it when I confronted them.

At first, when I got to know this, I didn’t know what to do or how to react. But that experience has taught me an important lesson. 

And I’m going to share that here with you so that you’re better prepared to deal with it.

1. Come to terms with the fact that they might know your secrets.

Our diary is a private place. We’re free to write about whatever we feel is essential. But when someone goes through it, it can feel like they just saw you naked.

You’ve to accept that they know about any secret in the diary. I wrote about every dirty trick this person played to corner me. At the same time, there were some family secrets in the diary. By reading my diary, there’s a good chance this person knows everything.

Knowing this will give you a more objective view of handling the situation.

2. Confront the person who read your diary.

This is a key step. If you let the thing go unnoticed, you’re essentially sending a message that what the other person did is okay. They can expect to do it again and get away without the consequences.

Why would you want to send that message? 

Instead, you need to confront them head-on. Make that uncomfortable conversation. Ask them what made them read the diary. Tell them how this affects your relationship and that you don’t appreciate them doing it in the future. Remind them of the consequences too. 

3. Understand what made them secretly read your diary.

Ask yourself: ‘What made them read your private journal?

Keep probing further until you understand their true intentions and motivations. In my case, it was clear that the person viewed me as a nemesis and wanted to find out my secrets. He wanted to understand what I was writing about him. 

By understanding their intention, you can assess how you want to take your relationship with them forward.

4. Evaluate the relationship, and be clear about it.

From my experience, when someone can read your diary without your permission, it’s a huge red flag. There’s a big chance they’ll be hard to trust in the future. 

So you need to ask – How important is the relationship for you? If the person who has read your diary is someone really close, you cannot just let go of the ties. 

In this case, you need to communicate what you think about this breach of trust and how it has affected your friendship. Be clear about where you stand and let the other party know. 

5. Forgive them, but don’t forget.

It’s important you don’t let this incident stop you from keeping a diary. So forgive the person for their mistake, but don’t be naive to give them a chance to read your diary again.

You could either keep your diary hidden somewhere or use a digital journal. 

I’ll now answer some common questions that you might have around this topic.


Can you take legal action against someone who has read your diary?

It’s hard to classify reading a diary without permission as illegal. However, you can consult with an attorney who specializes in legal issues related to invasion of privacy for more information. 

What’s wrong with reading someone’s diary without their explicit permission?

By reading someone’s diary without their permission, you’re breaching the trust between you both. 

How to keep your diary private?

You could lock your diary in a compartment of a bag or in your closet. Another way is to use a digital journal instead of a physical one to keep your diary private.


When someone reads your diary without your knowledge, you don’t want to react emotionally because emotional outbursts could taint your reputation and damage the relationship beyond repair. 

Instead, the most important thing is objectively assessing the situation and then deciding what steps to take next.

I hope this article gives you a good idea of what to do when someone reads your diary.

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