Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Uncomfortable? SAY SO!

Good grief.

A few months ago someone asked me to essentially "open up" to them about a difficult time I was experiencing. She told me she was "there" for me.


So I did - having every personal, professional and legal reason to believe that I was speaking strictly in confidence. I was distraught about a number of things and was completely vulnerable and open when I shared my misery. I shared my feelings, no holds barred.

But, alas, she couldn't handle it - she thought I opened up too much.

How do I know?

Because she told the person about whom I was "opening up" that what I told her made her uncomfortable and shared some of the more vociferous excerpts of my comments.

At least I assume this because she only told me a highly revised sanitized version when she found out there was, in fact, a legal reason to believe I was speaking strictly in confidence. I still have no idea what she actually told the person in question.

Needless to say the outcome of this little triangle was a disaster.

At first I felt guilty - but I always do when there's a problem, I have since I was a little kid.

Seriously. after reading about a terrible crime in the news I have to remind myself I don't even live in the same country, state or city where the horrible event took place and have a solid alibi for where I was and who I was with anyway.

I know - strange. But I know other people who react the same way, so I don't feel *too* alone or crazy.

At any road.

I was shocked at the disclosure of confidential information, dismayed that the third person in the triangle would actually buy what was said ... but mostly that the person who asked me to "open up" didn't say four simple words to me:

"1. That. 2. Makes. 3. Me. 4. Uncomfortable."

That's what I tell people who tell me things that make me feel ... uncomfortable. And the folks I say it to stop talking about whatever makes me uncomfortable.

Think of all the misery those four little words would have saved. The "problem" could have been solved quickly and openly.

Apparently she's not used to dealing with very passionate and emotional people like me (I'm surrounded with them, find them exciting and have no problem dealing with any feeling tossed at me) and just imploded. I have no idea and won't suppose any further.

This is how she "handled" the situation: She stopped emailing me or returning my phone calls and instead shared my information with the other person.

Apparently the old sucky juvenille "silent treatment" was intended to send me a message to stop talking to her.

Stop what she invited me to do.

The lesson I learned from this: Never open up - even by invitation - personal feelings to anyone other than a trusted friend, regardless of the person's profession - a profession which should guarantee confidentiality without any sort of written agreement evah.

Interestingly, as a journalist over the years I have maintained confidential sources and information that I'll carry to the grave with me - never thinking of disclosing or revealing them. As in, evah. I'm one of those folks who would go to jail first.

There were no signed agreements, no formal statements, I just gave them my word.

I share this not only because it's true and an interesting cautionary story, but several people have told me that my blogs seem to reflect exactly what they're going through when I write about my adventures.

As serendipitous as that might be, I genuinely hope you haven't suffered from this sort of situation! It took a couple months out of my life to recover from its unfortunate ramifications.

After trying to comunicate with the third party, who also practices the "silent treatment" school of therapy, I had to turn it all over to karma.


Post a Comment

<< Home