Ouch. Just got my ass seared thoroughly. Why?
In a nutshell: A friend told another friend a secret that she didn’t want nosed about to the general public. That second friend told a few people (myself included), but (in my case, at least) neglected to say that it was a secret (she “assumed” I knew it shouldn’t be talked about). I ended up in a conversation with the first friend (you see where this is going, don’t you?), and our conversation naturally led to me saying that I knew about this situation. Friend who told the secret to me just got off the phone madder than the proverbial wet hen, feeling betrayed, and not sure she ever wants to talk to me again.
I’m not sure how upset I am by all this. I regret that she feels betrayed (it was not my intent to betray her), but at the same time, she should not have been talking about something told to her in confidence, no matter how much she wanted to (or felt she had the right to). I mean, if she had the “right” to talk about it, don’t the rest of us?
But it underscores something for me. People like their secrets. They like the titillation, the mystery. But it’s hard on those you confide in, particularly if you’re confiding another person’s secret that they confided to you. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard enough time juggling the balls of my own life without keeping other people’s balls in the air too.
(My step-kids used to say to me: “If I tell you something, do you promise not to tell Dad?” My response was always, “No. If I think he needs to know, especially if it’s something having to do with your safety, I’ll tell him.” Maybe I should start saying it again.)
I’m not without blame here — I should have said nothing, I see that now (although I mentioned “the issue” because I wanted the first friend in question to know we were there for her if she needed us). Confusing? You bet. Secrets are.