So you have to share a juicy secret, or there is someone on your last nerve, or maybe you’ve learned something about a co-worker that is not so flattering. No matter what the information is, undoubtedly you have a friend who is your trusted confidant who wouldn’t tell a soul. You can tell this person anything about your personal life and know it won’t be repeated … Right? You hope. Can you honestly share your most intimate details with someone and expect they won’t repeat it?
If you have that kind of relationship with someone, that is great, but you may want to consider the reality of how safe your information really is. Consider the same scenario provided to you as the receiver of sensitive material. Although you may not tell anyone directly involved who might be injured by the information, it will most likely end up in your spouse’s ear during pillow talk. It’s no secret to anyone, and you are naive if you don’t believe this, but spouses often share stories with each other about their workday or workplace gossip.
At this level, any information shared is safer than in anyone else’s ears as a spouse is less likely to get involved in a discussion with the other party or people included. Instead, it is kept safely in the background and used as grounds of assessment next time they are in contact with the individual. Not knowing the validity of the story is irrelevant, as the importance does not affect future interaction. Although it may alter one’s view of the person, leaving question as to their personal makeup. There are always three sides to a story; your version, the other person’s version and the truth.
Be careful when you share personal information with anyone, including family. We are taught to believe we can turn to family for anything and any circumstance and be free from judgment. Our parents raise us to know that they are there for us for any question and concern, having our back for problems we may encounter. Remember one thing, they are human beings also. I’m not implying that we can’t trust family, I am merely pointing out the fact that certain information can be damaging in the wrong ears. At times we can be at eacothers throats and not speak for a period of time, which is the perfect scenario for sensitive details about you to surface and be used as grounds to support your disconnect from family members.
Think before you speak, know who you can trust and should share confidential details with. People will when possible, use what they can to undermine you and get the upper hand. Especially in the workplace. Not everyone is out to step on the next person, but if you expose a weakness or vulnerability within yourself, the right person will take full advantage and point out your deficiencies. Pay attention to co-workers and be careful where you draw alliances. You are better of trusting no one on the job, and leave your information safe behind closed doors with your direct report, or manager.
One more thing to consider, when talking with “close” friends, be extremely careful who you label as your “best friend”. This will most likely be the person you share every detail about your personal life; crushes, dislikes, favorite foods, etc. All this information makes this person very empowered to size you up, providing them ample ammunition to tear you apart should the opportunity arise. Imagine you both are interested in the same person, if this is a true friend, he/she will support you and give you help. If not, they will convince the love interest why you aren’t the right person and divulge all your downfalls and faults. So please be smart and test the waters before entrusting others with personal and intimate information about your life.