How good are you at keeping secrets? Do you respect others’ privacy, or do you have a tendency to blurt out information that some would probably prefer to keep quiet?
A friend’s daughter, who is expecting a baby, was complaining the other day about an in-law who had taken it upon herself to announce the pregnancy on Facebook. The expectant mother had already expressed that she didn’t want to announce the news yet, as she wanted to get through her first two trimesters. The in-law couldn’t resist and soon, she was inundated with messages of congratulations. Luckily, everything is fine with her and the baby, but the news was hers to tell. She still wishes her in-law had respected that.
Another friend was catching up with old friends over the holidays. One lady brought a friend along and announced to everyone that she had just gotten divorced because her husband had cheated on her. The poor woman looked mortified! My friend and a couple of others felt uncomfortable, but smiled, and said, “That must have been awful. Here’s to better and brighter things.” This seemed to ease the situation, but my friend says it was apparent that everyone was annoyed by the lady’s rude announcement. It was none of their business, and if the divorced woman wanted everyone to know, her friend should have let her share the story.
Sometimes this behavior serves to undermine a friend or family member. By sharing their news or gossiping about them, you’re taking away their control and putting them on the defense. You may think you’re making them look bad, but it’s you who comes across as civil. Your best bet is to keep your lips zipped when it comes to sensitive details!