Open Mouth –
I heard someone say yesterday that; “only a fish with its mouth open gets caught!” I like the saying. It’s similar to the wisdom teaching; “No one regrets a harsh word unspoken.”
One of the key tenets of my job is to ensure each client’s privacy. I am not allowed to talk about conversations, other information, or even affirm a client is a client to anyone who does not and should not know. It’s difficult at times when someone calls from another organization to inquire about a client to say; “I’m sorry. I cannot talk about clients. Period.” but sometimes I have to do it.
Though a challenge I think it would be great if everyone followed the rule of not talking about another without the other’s permission. However, often times it’s the opposite. We hear a juicy piece of gossip, an embarrassing story, someone is facing a challenging situation, carrying the burden of a struggling relationship and we can’t keep it to ourselves! We’ve got to share it. Like fish we’ve chomped down on the bait and once we’re caught we dangle it in front of others to see if they will take a bite also. Gossip turns to rumors and they always come back around to the person being talked about. The hurt they already felt is multiplied. Their burden becomes that much more to bear.
Instead of an open ear and open mouth to hear and repeat innuendos and insults perhaps we can offer the person struggling, a listening spirit and words of comfort and kindness.
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Other People’s Drama –
At one time during my adult years, I came across a quote that read; “An emergency on your part does not constitute a crisis on mine.” I don’t remember where it was but the quote has stuck with me.
There can be an almost irresistible draw when someone has a juicy piece of gossip or wants your opinion about a situation they’re facing. Before you offer your “two-cents” remember that once you pass through that door, enter yourself into other people’s drama, it may be impossible to get out. A couple of weeks ago I had a friend who was starting through the drama door and I reminded them; “make sure its worth it.”
The main issue with other people’s drama is there’s often a side to take, a team to join. This is usually the reason a person tells you about issues and problems in the first place. They want you in their corner. We puff ourselves up thinking; “They need our help. Our advice. Our support.” However, what they mostly want is someone to affirm them in the decisions they’ve already made.
I’m not telling people to not listen, empathize with others who need help, a willing ear or even a hand to pull them up but to understand that sometimes what people want and need are completely different things. Be aware and wary.