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Are You Trustworthy?

Are you the person people tell something when they want it broadcast to the world?  Have you told just one person something you knew you shouldn’t share?  Well you’re not alone – we’ve all fallen short.  This is a refresher on how to be a worthy confidant and ultimately build better friendships.

I’ll start with something my dad loves to say – “Spend half the year staying out of other people’s business and the other half minding your own.” When I follow this bit of wisdom, my life is amazingly calm and drama-free.  This is classic advice for avoiding the perils of gossip.  It applies to personal relationships, professional networks and all the groups in between.  Don’t gossip about the things you saw, heard and experienced because someone trusted you enough to confide in you.

People share with you, but might not be comfortable sharing with the world.  Respect the personal and private nature of certain conversations.  If you wonder should I tell this, then you shouldn’t.  It is not acceptable to get in front of several people and say – “You don’t mind if I tell everyone about your cousin Dawn who stole $500,000 from her job do you?” That’s not cool.  Not ever.  No matter how close-knit the circle the person dealing with the situation should be able to decide with whom, when and if they will share it.  Even if Dawn’s arrest for embezzling half a million dollars will be a front-page story, respect your relationship with her cousin enough to be discreet.

Sensitivity and discretion are essential to building enduring friendships.  No one will trust you if you blab everything to everyone in the world.  You might be comfortable with everyone knowing the intimate details of your life, but most people are not.  In these days of reality TV and social media, we sometimes forget that there are still occasions for privacy.  If it is so juicy that you must share put it in your journal (using initials or nicknames.)  Writing it down will take it out of your mind and hopefully it won’t come tumbling out of your mouth!

Friends and family need you to respect their need for privacy. You must show them that you are trustworthy.  It will make all the difference – especially when you need a confidant.


  1. March 7, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    “Spend half the year staying out of other people’s business and the other half minding your own.” I love that quote :)!! I really enjoyed this post and you are spot on. Nice!

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