I was watching a TV series last night, in which “murky secrets from the past” were being uncovered. So far, so standard. It was well done, and I enjoyed it. Towards the end of the episode, one character shouted at another – a long term friend and colleague who had been involved in the “murky secret” “But you didn’t tell me” – and then, in the pain caused by that not telling went on to blow up the room and everybody in it.
Which seemed a little drastic.
The poet says “of all the words the saddest are “it might have been”.” Which might be true. But “you didn’t tell me” are words that so often show a rift and a hurt.
Not, normally, to the extent of blowing up a room, thankfully.
A colleague was nearly caught out the other day because somebody did not pass on an important piece of information – which, by not knowing, she might well have acted wrongly. And interestingly, as she shared this, many of us replied “yes, me too”. I wasn’t told – how could I know?
One of my friendships is currently reshaping itself because “you didn’t tell me” is a truth that cannot be ignored. The not telling has demonstrated something that has been true, but now intrudes.
And yet – another friend has very deliberately “not told” for very good reasons, and asked some of us who know not to tell certain others – and this makes perfect sense.
Is it possible to get this one right – to tell what needs to be told, and yet not overload, or break boundaries.
I seem constantly to be negotiating this.
To say nothing of the moments when Patient Colleague and Creative Colleague have to remind me that just because I have thought it does not mean they know it….
And I am not sure I get it right.
Perhaps the best rule of thumb is assuming good will, and trusting.