This year, I’ve made an early New Year’s resolution: to just shut up already. When I get into a sticky situation, I end up talking to way too many people about it, which pretty much makes it gossip, a habit that I do not admire in myself or others.
I had just such a situation last week, and I solicited far too many opinions. In the end, I handled it my own way – without as much grace as I could have, but the someone involved pushed a lot of my buttons. I’m allowed occasionally, as are you. But no, I’m not giving you any details. I’m turning over a new autumn leaf.
The previous such conflict also ended with Way Too Much Information being shared with Way Too Many People. Names were involved, and there are some people – OK, pretty much everyone – who are not averse to passing along such tidbits. This is a small town, and gossip can be hurtful in more ways than one. I regret it, and I vow to stop.
I have an inscrutable policy about what I’ll share and what I won’t. To wit: I refuse to get a Facebook account because I don’t trust its privacy policies (among other reasons). Yet one of our most loyal blog readers has told me more than once that he admires my “courage” for revealing things in this space that are so … revealing. But this is cyberspace, where stuff gets around on its own, and for all my sharing, I try hard to stick with the generalities.
Do you belong to LinkedIn? I do, and though I hardly ever use it, I continually get emails whose subject lines query, “Do you know Jack, Bill and Sally?” Sure, it’s fun to see how much hair Bill has lost. But I don’t know Jack, and I wonder if Jack knows that he’s being used like a worm on the end of a fishing line to get me and who knows who else to mosey over to LinkedIn more often. In one case, “Jack” is someone whom a mutual acquaintance wanted to set me up with. But hey, now I could do it myself! Wouldn’t Jack be thrilled?
There are very few places to hide any more. Every time I browse online for shoes, they leer out at me from an ad on the next site I visit. This frightens me in a very meta, Big Brother sort of way. Barring future legislation, that’s something I can’t control. But hold my tongue? Yeah, I can do that. I’m starting now.