Take the High Road – A Lesson from 9th Grade
The memory is as vivid as if it were yesterday. Lisa Carlucci shared with me that she and Tony Romano (can you tell I’m from the Northeast?) had gone to “first base”. When she told me, she specifically asked me to keep it to myself.
The next day, I happened to be in a situation where another classmate, Kimberly, and I were together. We were talking and she asked me how Lisa and Tony were doing…I couldn’t help myself! Yes, I did it…I divulged Lisa’s secret…
...But of course, I let Kimberly know that I was sharing in the utmost confidence, and that she needed to keep this information to herself, as well...
What do you think happened?
You guessed it.
The next thing I knew, “everyone” at school was whispering about Lisa and Tony. Lisa’s reputation was irreversibly tainted - and I lost a friend. I’ll never forget the look in her eyes when she confronted me; I still have a pit in my stomach, when I think about what I did.
A Matter of Personal Integrity
Breaching a person’s trust is so painful for both parties. Have you ever had someone confide in you, and then shortly after, told someone else to either feel “in the know” or to build yourself up? (Now, don’t get me wrong: If someone wants you to keep a secret that will put themselves or someone else in harm’s way then you definitely get a pass.)
I’m talking about personal things that leave an individual vulnerable, or do irreparable damage to friendships. Perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end, feeling betrayed and hurt, after sharing a confidence with a friend, who you thought had integrity. How did you feel?
The Privilege of Friendship
Of course, this story from 9th grade is blatant, but isn’t it common sense to keep things to yourself in most instances? For example, a friend shares concerns around their marriage, their children, body image, finances or some other insecurity or challenge that they may be facing. Rather than discuss that with others, out of “concern”, keep it to yourself.
“Do unto others as you would want done unto you.”
It’s not always easy, is it? There are so many times I’m tempted to start a conversation with, “Did you hear? X&$#....!” But then I pause...
...And I remember Lisa’s eyes that day in 9th grade.
It doesn’t take long to remember the lesson learned and choose integrity, which is much more important than a mere two minutes of giddiness with shared gossip.
Is there a Lisa in your past or present? Are you a trusted friend?
Having friendships is a privilege. Each relationship gives us opportunities to build trust and to choose integrity - and to become the person we truly desire to be.
What if all of us chose trust and integrity?? I bet there would be a lot less broken hearts.
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