Speak No Evil

Happy Friday all!! Though I am currently not working, and Friday matters less to me, I do still cheer it (and I still don’t like Monday). Interesting, huh?? I don’t know whether this is just a past habit carried from my working time, or it is because during the weekend my friends and hubby are more available to have fun with.

Waking up late, I started my day by reading two articles related to speaking. One was on being mindful of our speech, and the other was about a lady who got fired for speaking ill of her boss. This really got me thinking about an old dilemma I had. The question I had in my mind was: When is it appropriate to reveal a bad aspect of somebody and when is it not?

Here, I’ m not thinking of those blatant hurtful speech such as those who spread rumor to smear others. It is more those scenarios that are kinda grayish, at least to me. Here is one scenario that I found myself in:

The (possibly) cheating business partner

Sometimes ago, I have a friend, called him Goodjim, who started a business with another friend, called him Badjack. After a period of time, Goodjim revealed to me that he is in the process of suing Badjack because Badjack, according to him, corrupted some of the money that were supposed to be invested in the business. Goodjim told me how the book was cooked. Knowing Goodjim, I have a feeling he is telling me the truth, the truth from his point of view at least. Since I don’t know Badjack well, there is no way I can know what Badjack’s point of view is.

Then, at a gathering, I met with another friend, called him Juststarted. He told me that he was about to go to business with Badjack.  Upon hearing this, I stopped on my track. I found myself in dilemma whether to reveal what I heard about Badjack or not. If Badjack is what my friend told me to be, I wanted to protect Juststarted from being cheated on. My hesitation came from the fact that I did not know for sure what the reality was between Badjack and Goodjim. Is it possible that both have a valid point of view? Is it possible that Goodjim did not admit his role in causing the business failure? What would you do in this situation? If you were to reveal the information, how could you do it best and with compassion? Are there scenarios where it is clear that speaking about the bad aspect somebody is not appropriate or possible? (I am thinking of the time when an interviewee asked me if there is anything negative about the management team. Hmm… honestly, there were some, but I chose to be safe and political there – talked in vague manner and only about very minor things. Was this wise?)

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