Some things better left unsaid
Published: Saturday, February 9, 2013
Updated: Saturday, February 9, 2013 18:02
It's OK to be open about some things. It's OK to feel like you can trust some people. It's OK to like to share parts of your life with friends. But it is NOT OK to basically tell the whole class your life story.
Unfortunately, I see this a lot. People will share intimate details of their life that not everyone needs to know. I think it's great to have people to talk to and trust, but there is a time and place for everything.
People need to learn the boundaries of privacy. Those boundaries have definitely been blurred. The classroom and hallways is NOT the place to talk about your private life. Your dorm room is a much better place for that.
I think we can avoid this awkward and unnecessary sharing of information by following some simple rules.
My favorite is the golden rule. If you have nothing nice to say, don't say it at all. This rule is definitely relative, though. We all need to vent. I totally get that. And there are people willing to listen and give advice. Just be aware of where you are when you choose to vent. Just because you're mad at someone for the moment doesn't mean you really want to say something about them that might ruin your relationship with them. If you know it would hurt someone's feelings to say it, then just don't.
Secondly, think before you speak. Come on, people. This one is obvious. If you wouldn't want your mother, father, or other close relative to hear what you're about to say, then don't say it. Because that probably means you wouldn't want complete strangers to hear what you say. When you say inappropriate or incriminating things, you're basically asking for rumors to be started about you. And they will be. Someone will hear what you said and before you know it, basically the whole campus will know. It's not right, it's not fair, but it's true. If you choose to think before you speak, you can stop yourself from saying something you don't want the whole campus to know.
Finally, use your resources. Phones are great. If something just happened that you are dying to tell someone, text them. If you don't want to text the whole thing, tell them you need to meet them somewhere (private) and discuss it there. I don't suggest calling them. If you call them, people will still hear the conversation. And bad things can be interpreted from that. But texting someone to set up a time to meet can provide some peace of mind. At least knowing that you're going to meet someone to talk about the conversation can help keep you from blurting it out to the next person who you even remotely trust.
Obviously, these rules aren't full proof. Despite following these rules, everyone slips up. We all say something in public and then think “maybe I shouldn't have said that.” But I think if we at least try to follow these rules, we can catch ourselves. And avoid the embarrassment of letting out some information that we don't really want people to know – and that a lot of other people don't really want to know either.