Communication: We Don’t Need Another “Tell All”

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July 22, 2010

As my mother once told me, there are some things better left unsaid.  As I participate in social media, and life in general, I find this to be true.  Now, I’m all for sharing a bit of personal information here and there.  After all, this is the way you make connections with people who have similar interests or views.  And this is also a good way to strengthen relationships once you start talking with someone.  But, at some point, people can begin to share too much.

In the last 24 hours I’ve heard stories of people sharing all the personal details of their relationship troubles on FaceBook and had a casual acquaintance tell me far too much about her personal life.  This morning, I woke up to read that actress Barbara Eden of ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ fame is publishing a “tell all” book about her failed marriages, her son who died of a drug overdose, and other extremely personal stories.  To this I say ENOUGH!

The world does not need another “tell all”.

It’s time to go back to reigning things in a bit and employ some of the golden rules of communication:

  • Do not disparage other people publicly- Doing this will ultimately reflect negatively on you.  If you have problems with someone, do not put it in writing anywhere.  That means no “tell all” book, social media site, e-mail.  Nothing.  I know everyone needs to vent now and then, but do that verbally with a trusted friend.
  • Keep some information to yourself- This goes hand-in-hand with the first tip.  There are very few people with whom you need to share stories of your arguments, failed relationships, arrests, health problems (in detail), etc.  Again, find a friend or family member you trust and tell them.  Don’t post these stories anywhere.
  • Speak positively about others- Karma, baby.
  • Thank others and be gracious–  Recognize people who enrich your life by supporting you and helping shine a positive light on you.  They are the greatest gift.

So, do you have any tips to add of how people can improve the way they portray themselves?  I know you do, so be sure to share it in the comments.

3 Comments

  • Trish
    A fine and useful message.
    Working relationships are for the long run. People have a keen sensitivity about the level of respect and regard in their interactions. Positive attention is a vital investment; disparagement occurs at a big cost to all involved.
    http://www.workengagement.com/crew

  • Trish – good stuff, love the karma comment. Probably a function of age and an accumulation of lifes ups and downs – I could not agree more with your thoughts above. My view and learning is to imagine all the disparaging comments you might make being made about yourself – and, on the personal stuff – imagine what you are saying or doing being shown to your family or on the evening news – would you still be ok with it.
    Thanks again for inspiring dialogue.

  • The problem with the comfort of a seemingly annonymous stranger (i.e. the internet) is that people tend to spill their guts to the said annonymous stranger. But you never know who is watching or reading your posts!!!! I learnt that the hard way…

    Lawyers for years and years have said to watch the blogging and Facebook activity.

    And the oldest rule of all should be remembered- don’t say anything you would not broadcast on television or to someone’s face, as it will get back to them. In the case of blogs and Facebook- it definitely will.

    Another great piece of advice is that if you’re trying to hide from a boss, friend, significant other, or someone similar in this category, don’t don’t don’t sign onto your Myspace or Facebook page, and certainly don’t blog or put up pics about your exploits. The times you sign in are time and date stamped, remember. Your credibility can be destroyed with simple and easy to retrieve evidence.

    On a somewhat related side note- I do believe that the popularity of social networking could have a backlash because too many people are getting caught by their own stupidity by not covering their tracks electronically.

    Your advice is GOLDEN, and I do hope that people will heed it.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.

HR HAPPY HOUR LIVE! TALENT ACQUISITION & ONBOARDING

THE FUTURE OF WORK

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