When I was young, I learned some very important rules of friendship and trust. I think it stemmed from the high value I placed on friendship. My friends meant the world to me, and they still do.
In fact, I’ve collected important friendships throughout my life. I have my childhood friends, and my high school friends, my college friends (actually a lot of those are the same high school friends, but I just added a few).
Then there’s my dental school friends, my Boston friends, my Maine friends, my doTERRA friends, my church friends, and you see…I just keep adding them. I love my friends!
I have always believed a key value of friendship is trust. And core to that trust is the golden rule of friendship which is…. Never, Ever Gossip!
I’m pretty sure I borrowed this from the Golden Rule. I can picture my mother telling me over and over, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Then there’s the image of Bambi saying it too, and who could forget that?!
My childhood best friend, Marnee, also was committed to this rule and I never heard her talk about anyone else. It was impressive, and I wanted to be remembered like that too.
Plus, haven’t you always wondered, when listening to someone speak about someone else…. ”what do they say about me when I’m not around?” That’s the classic thought running through my head, and I immediately lose trust in that person.
Of course we all need to have a confidant, someone who we can share our innermost thoughts and on occasion, let off steam. This job is just for 1-2 people, perhaps a spouse or best friend, sister or mother, someone really close and trusted.
Not your whole neighborhood, cheer team, or anyone that will listen.
The problem is when people think they can do this with just about anyone. And if you can easily feel close to people, you may cross the line and start sharing too much. You must have self control and be careful not to overshare.
And, when you do find yourself in need of talking things out, try to be discreet and not use names, or talk through scenarios rather than real stories. Perhaps you swap names, or if really necessary, speak with a therapist.
Whatever you do, don’t break the golden rule of friendship and be a gossip! Just like feathers blowing in the wind, you can’t get them all back, or at least not easily. Rumors really hurt.
And they don’t just hurt others, they will come back around and hurt you too!
Once you’ve mastered this with your friendships, you’ll reap the rewards of this skill in all relationships. This carries into your family life, work life, and pretty much all areas of your life.
Trust is a bedrock foundation for all thriving relationships so be sure to cultivate it now.
Are you a good friend and confidant? Can you be trusted and earn the trust of others?
If you need to work on this, then now is a good time to start. Take inventory of your friendships and the types of conversations you have.
Are they positive? Are you the first person to make sure people know what’s going on? Are you speaking unkind or critical of others? Do you talk to anyone who will listen?
If you’re having trouble keeping your thoughts to yourself, try flipping them upside down. If you find yourself starting to spread a rumor, or say something unkind, flip it and find something positive to say instead.
Or practice gratitude in place of that negative thought. There’s always something you can find to be grateful for. And if not, well then fall back to the golden rule and if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all!