Some things kinda go without saying when it comes to friendship. For sure within the top 3? = Never break someone’s confidence.
*Of course, unless they mention hurting themselves or someone else.
In the last few years as I navigated a divorce, settled kids into new school districts / schools / special needs programs, fixed up and sold a home, endured (happily) growing pains in the business, worked through extended family topics…and ALL the emotions / realness around everything AND all the things as a mom and small business owner…I leaned on just a few friends to help get me through. And when I say “just a few”, I genuinely mean that. I can count on a single hand who those people are and know every detail I shared with any of them. I’m just not a big talker and like to keep my circle pretty tight.
But….the other day, someone revealed something I shared and it was taken completely out of context. (I mean completely – which is really crappy) Never mind the fact what I had to share was small compared to everything they said / shared / had experienced with this sweet mutual friend of ours. I wasn’t there to see or be a witness to what exactly they shared and took her stories as I normally would….with a grain of salt, knowing our mutual friend was going through a lot at the time…
…just like me.
Point is – our conversation was about something bigger. Much bigger.
And I have a feeling most of you reading are probably nodding your head in agreement having been through something similar…or you’re sitting on the edge of your seat. We’ve all been there and had someone betray our confidence.
The conversation came from a place of concern for someone who was going through a tough time and making choices that worried us. There were incidents or encounters that caused the pause…the consideration a true friend would take. From a place of love and concern.
When a friend is upset, I am the first to look inward to think about what I could have done to contribute to them feeling that way. Even beyond an upset friend – whether it’s a peer in business or someone working for me or an issue with communication I may have had with anyone…I start by looking inward. And crazy enough, I also consider where they may be in their life, what is happening in their world and why their sensitivities may be heightened.
Point is – no matter if you’re in a therapist’s office or sitting across the table from your friend who has something to say about someone you also care about – a similar commitment to confidentiality should be considered and upheld. Our friends are sounding boards. These are people we trust to share some of the biggest life decisions we make or are faced with. Even the small decisions. And we trust them because we trust they won’t tell anyone…and they have our best interests at heart.
Our best interests….and the feelings of mutual friends we share. Treasured friends.
You can imagine how hurt and totally confused I am when after having this conversation of concern with a fellow friend they made the choice to share it with our mutual friend….over a year later. I still haven’t come to terms with understanding the why behind it. Why a year later? I don’t know. I wasn’t there so I have no clue.
Since I can’t possibly figure it out on my own…and my friend who was told about our conversation isn’t speaking to me (I tried!)…all I’m left to do is look inward. Which is a good thing and a positive thing to do when left having to work it all out alone.
And I guess that’s why I’m sharing this topic today – there is a positive lesson to take away from all situations. Even the bad ones like these. A lesson learned. A way to do better next time.
I’ve taken steps to consider how she might feel. Of course, knowing all throughout, she hasn’t heard the entire conversation. She hasn’t spoken to me to hear my side. It hurts because I wouldn’t consider mentioning anything said by our other friend / what they shared…but only connect with her about why I am or was concerned.
Because I love her and value our friendship.
Again, since I can’t speak to her….here are a few lessons I’m walking away with, which may also be helpful to you…
LESSONS AND TAKEAWAYS THAT MAY HELP YOU
I’ve learned people don’t always recognize damage they may cause by making the decision to share something private.
I’ve learned some people love to share secrets because it makes them feel bigger while making others feel small. I know, crazy – but true.
I’ve learned people can’t and don’t always keep things private. I mean, duh – I already knew that but when these people are friends, you’re re-educated.
I’ve learned that trust is earned over time.
I’ve learned when trust is broken it gives you the control of what happens from there.
In situations such as this we lose control. The only way to gain back some amount of control is by understanding we are in control of how we communicate AND what we communicate. We control our own behavior and, most importantly, we are in control of the expectations in our relationships and friendships.
When trust is broken we are (thankfully) in control of what happens from there. We hold the choices.
We can edit what we share, choose to not be deeper friends and simply be polite, we can spend less time with these people, we could open up and let them know how they made us feel (or not…I haven’t revealed anything to them. I’ve simply moved on knowing what type of friend she is).
Sometimes though, when relationships go through challenges like this – they can make a friendship stronger. Which is what I am ultimately hoping for with my friend. So my hope is that over time she will be willing to open up a bit and communicate about it. It is the best way for apologies to be said – in person…face to face – and a stronger friendship can develop from there.
I’d love to hear your stories and tips on this topic so please leave a comment – a positive one! We’re here together to build a positive online community.
Can’t wait to hear from you guys!
I’ve been working on a few other posts similar to this so let me know if these are interesting topics to continue folding in…of course, organizing is my first love and will always be the main topic around here. But I have been working SO intimately with SO many families and moms over the years that I’ve also become a mini life coach. Love it and would love to continue to help a broader audience with these sticking points in life. I’ve been researching life coach certifications as well – which would be an awesome value-add to this business. Anyway, let me know your thoughts – because I value them!
Back soon – xx,