I let someone down yesterday. He asked me to keep something to myself and I didn’t. There was a problem associated with the topic and he credited my leak with the cause - then he called me on leaking the information.
I am fascinated to watch myself go through the 5 stages of grief, both because my emotions seem to map so well to this theory and because I am able to observe my own behavior so clearly. (That being said, my observation is not inline per-se.)
“I didn’t leak this. This was somebody else.”
“It wasn’t my leak that caused this to happen! This problem would have existed regardless!”
“I’m so sorry, how could I have done this. This sucks. What kind of person am I? How did I get into this place? Somebody please, tell me I’m OK. How could I have hurt his feelings? Will he ever forgive me? Will he ever tell me anything again?”
“This leak was the right thing for the company. This information needed to be let out. I didn’t let it out to the people who I was told explicitly not to tell, just somebody else. He should have known. Really, I did the right thing.”
I did this. Regardless of whether I thought it was innocuous, regardless of whether it caused the issue or not, regardless of whether the end result was good or not, I was asked to hold something in confidence and I did not.
I don’t have an excuse. I don’t have a reason. I just have the knowledge that I’m not perfect here. I either need to keep information private when asked to, or I need to be prepared for others to stop confiding in me. I need to think about the person I want to be - the confidant, or the leak? This isn’t cut and dry. With people I truly treasure, the risk of losing their confidence is too great to outweigh the benefits of any leak. With others, the risk is likely justified.
In the meantime, I have let one of my dearest friends down - and I feel sad. Although I anticipate he will forgive me, this isn’t something either of us will likely forget.