Did you ever say something, do something or share something with a friend, then walk away wondering if it was a good idea? If you have to ask, it probably was a bad idea. Once you say the words out loud or hit the send button, you can’t take it back- you just put it all out there to be judged by your friend.
Wait, my friend wouldn’t judge me so I have nothing to worry about. False. People who say they don’t judge others are lying to themselves. Human beings judge other human beings. It’s implanted deep in our carnal brains to protect us from perceived dangers. The best you can hope for is that the person with whom you shared the information is trustworthy. And therein lies issue number two.
Do you really trust your friends? Friend betrayal is usually unintentionally on purpose – like during a conversation that has absolutely nothing to do with the secret with which you’ve been entrusted- “Speaking of the rainforest, Kelly told me that her husband is having an affair with Jessica.” Or “I’m not supposed to tell anyone this, so I’ll just tell you– but you have to swear not to tell anyone else.”
Our need to share with others is incarnate. Early man created tribes- circles of like people sharing similar lifestyles and beliefs. It’s no surprise that we like to share. It’s built into our DNA. We share information, thoughts, ideas even our bodies with others in hopes of making a valid connection with another person.
Recently, I shared some details about my life with a friend of mine. There’s something about Facebook that makes you feel braver than you really are. Sharing that excerpt from my life made me feel so good that I felt the need to share even more, so I followed up our great conversation with a nice long detailed email–until I had spilled my guts all over the place. I hit the send button without hesitation. My immediate feeling was- “That felt great!” –Ahh sweet validation.
My second thought was- what if I typed in the wrong email address and some stranger is reading my private thoughts. Panic!
Email confirmed- Relief!
Then, after a few days, doubt starts eating away at my psyche- an important story of my life is out there with my friend- whom, by the way, I completely trust- (just in case she’s reading this post.)
I want so badly to believe that my friend will guard my email with her life. I imagine she secretly works for the C.I.A. and has sealed my story in a manilla envelope with the words ”Top Secret’ stamped in red on the front cover. If anyone ever tried to read it, my friend would run away at lightening speed, jump through a ring of fire into the sea, swim to a remote island and bury the envelope deep in the dirt- just to protect its contents.
What’s the worst that can happen? I will tell you. While drinking my morning coffee, I hear Matt Lauer’s voice with late breaking news – -“We’ve discovered a Top Secret envelope buried on a remote island off the coast of Puerto Rico and I will now read its contents to America.” – I drop my coffee mug in slow motion and it breaks on my kitchen floor as I let out a scream and run to the T.V. —“Noooo!”
That’s the worst case scenario.
You’d think I would have learned my lesson earlier in life- the day my mother found my diary under my pillow when I was 15. I can still hear the words she said to me as she waved my diary in the air- “Never write anything down you don’t want others to read.” Good advice mom.
Eventually, I relax with a bottle of wine and begin to remember why I shared the story in the first place- and I think – “Hey, that was a great idea!” – and everything is okay again.
This story and all its subject matter are fictional. Any persons or places stated in this story are purely coincidental.