Are You a Trustworthy Confidante?

two girls sharing secretsWe seldom talk about confidentiality until something goes awry and feelings are hurt.

Recently, I was playing golf with my golfing buddy, and out of the blue, she said I should be a “bartender.” Of course, I asked why.  She said that she had talked with our mutual business colleague a few days earlier, who mentioned sharing a confidential personal issue with me. My golfing girlfriend found it surprising that I had not mentioned that conversation during our round of golf. Then, I got “it” - bartenders hold what you say in confidence.

Interesting, don’t you think? In my line of business, confidentiality is of utmost importance. What about in your work, your family and with your friends? If you are indeed a friend or trusted colleague, shouldn’t you hold shared intimacies and personal disclosures “close to your chest?” If I betray a confidence, it could ruin my business, end a client relationship, or cause irreparable harm within a friendship.

We should always choose our confidants carefully. If you are troubled, seek out a professional, clergy, or well-trusted friend. Your situation may change but know that friends are like elephants; they remember personal conversations, and you may forget to update them on changes. A good friend is like a diamond; treat them like something precious.

We have rules and passwords for practically everything, how about working on a personal code of behavior guided by your values and goals.

Quick Personal Behavior Code Quiz:

Score points: 1 – 5  (5 = almost always and 1 = seldom)

  1. I practice the Golden Rule (treat others as I wish to be treated)
  2. I honor my word (do what I say I will do – being accountable)
  3. I am truthful (practice telling the truth – no deliberate lies – being trustworthy)
  4. I am considerate (think about how my behavior affects others – being empathetic)
  5. I am a valuable confidante (others can trust that I will keep shared confidences private)

No judgment here, just a private moment of reflection to examine your personal code of behavior.

In today’s environment of open and constant social media sharing, some of us would be wise to find a “bartender” or well-trusted friend to reduce some of the mindless personal sharing we post. Confidentiality is a treasured value to be cultivated. Do you feel as though that value still has merit? Is it obsolete, old fashioned?

Your comments are welcomed. Join the conversation at and download the quiz.