Recently, I was having a conversation with my husband about whether he should speak to a friend about choices he was making that Keith and others found… wackadoodle.
“I can’t decide,” he said, “If I don’t tell him and he finds out everyone’s been talking about him, he’s going to say, ‘You should have told me!’ and that’ll be bad.”
Yes. That will be bad.
“But,” he went on, “I can’t see X changing what he’s doing based on my telling him. He’s just going to get pissed off at me.”
Agreed. That will also be bad.
You see the dilemma.
Perhaps some of you have encountered a similar situation at work:
You have a colleague with a history of disregarding broad hints, well-intentioned pointers, even outright advice, but who—when faced with termination—says to you, “You should have told me!”
The tricky thing is frequently—yet somehow not surprisingly—people are going to do what they are going to do until they are done doing it.
And being too clear with them has the potential to alienate them in the moment, and keep them from feeling safe around you moving forward.
So unless it’s a health or safety issue, I recommend repeating:
“People are going to do what they are going to do until they’re done doing it,” quite quietly, to yourself.
And keeping quiet about everything else.
If you are in a situation where you need to tell someone something, here are 10—count’em 10—things you should keep in mind: “Why and How to Tell Someone a Secret.”