“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and they start telling you information about someone that you didn’t ask for or want to know? Recently, I shared with a friend that a mutual friend’s daughter had passed away. She told me that she already knew and immediately began telling me that she was addicted to drugs and had been incarcerated for assaulting a family member. I have known our mutual friend for years and she’d never shared this information with me, probably because it wasn’t my business and still isn’t. Yet, as she continued to ramble on, I couldn’t help but wonder how she could feel so comfortable sharing this young lady’s sorted past. It was our friend’s family’s private business. I remember thinking, that story is NOT YOURS TO TELL. Why do people share information and stories that are NOT THEIRS TO TELL? Do you know or have you known people that do this? Do you share stories that are NOT YOURS TO TELL? I DON’T!!! So for this week’s blog, let’s talk SHIP about sharing stories that are NOT YOURS TO TELL!!
I sincerely try to honor and uphold other people’s confidences. When you tell me something, it stays there. I won’t discuss it or share details with others because I realize that other people’s stories are NOT MINE TO TELL. Just like other people’s stories are NOT YOURS TO TELL!!! Actually, it’s a personal peeve of mine when someone fills in the gaps and shares the personal business and stories of others. Honestly, it’s uncomfortable hearing details of a story from someone when I know the story is NOT YOURS TO TELL. No matter how juicy or salacious the story is, if the person who is experiencing it doesn’t share the details, then neither should you. Because their story is NOT YOURS TO TELL!! Yet, it happens all the time. In an effort to be sociable and make conversation, without regard, people freely share the personal business and stories of others.
I recall when a close friend who was going through a painful divorce shared with me some of the details that resulted in him ending his 26-year marriage. He shared with me what he wanted me to know and I was cool with that. But, another friend felt the need to share with me the deeper details of why his relationSHIP was really ending. She told stories of domestic violence, alcoholism, and suspected adultery. Since the friend having the experience hadn’t shared those stories with me, listening to them became uncomfortable. Because I knew those stories were NOT HERS TO TELL!! Last week, it happened again when a coworker told me that another coworker had accepted another position within the company. Although I was ecstatic for my co-worker, I wanted to respond, it’s NOT YOUR STORY TO TELL!! Unbeknownst to her, I’d encouraged the other coworker to apply for the position. I told her that based on her skills and abilities, she needed to view the newly created position as if GOD was opening up a door specifically for her to walk through. After finding out she got the job, I sent an email congratulating her on the new position and she responded, “I wanted to be the first one to tell you” and I responded, “and I wanted you to be the first one to tell me, too!” After all, it was actually HER STORY TO TELL!!
Have you ever noticed that the people who freely share the personal business and stories of others rarely provide insight into their own lives? The friend who shared the stories about our friend’s divorce failed to mention that her husband had a side chick for a year before she found out. Yes indeed, she had her own story to tell but chose to keep silent. For her, sharing the stories of others was much more comfortable. But what I find most interesting is that people who freely share other people’s business don’t realize how it makes them appear. It’s a reflection that evokes feelings of distrust. It demonstrates that they aren’t trustworthy, lack boundaries, can’t hold the confidence of others, and disregards genuine friendSHIPS. How can anyone feel confident sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings with someone who makes it a point of sharing other people’s stories? You can’t!! To me, telling stories that are NOT YOURS TO TELL betrays the confidence of others.
Unfortunately, some people have a tendency to act like they own everyone else’s story, and that it’s okay if they share them with others. Truth is, you don’t own other people’s stories and their stories are NOT YOURS TO TELL Know that you don’t have to tell stories that are NOT YOURS TO TELL. YOU DON’T!! You have choices. Choose to respect that other people’s stories are THEIR stories to TELL. Accept that your story is YOURS to TELL and that my story is MINE to TELL. So the next time you’re having a conversation, only share WHAT ‘S YOURS TO TELL!!!
SHIP TALK: Do you share stories that are NOT YOURS TO TELL? Do you know people that do?
At, www.whatstheship.com, we appreciate your support and hope you enjoy our weekly blog posts. We’d love to hear your thoughts. So if you’d like to leave a comment, please scroll to the bottom of the page. Just remember, I’m sensitive about my SHIP.