Not long ago I was at a networking event. I was speaking to one of the guests, whom I’d met a few times before. We engaged in small talk and then he noted a few of the other attendees. It seems some people had endured health crises in the past, and he told me in great detail about their illnesses. One man and one woman in the group had, according to him, undergone gastric bypass surgery, and he told me all about it.
The conversation made me uncomfortable. I didn’t know these people and their health issues weren’t my business. If I spoke to them and they wanted to volunteer this information, that was fine. Having their health turned into gossip fodder, however, felt invasive. I changed the subject as soon as I could and soon left to mingle.
This man’s gossiping also made me wary of sharing any details about myself. If he was offering up private details about these other people, he was probably doing the same to me. As much as I consider myself to be an open book, I’d rather not have other people whispering about my private life.
The lesson: Don’t blab about others’ health to strangers. It’s their story to share, not gossip fodder.