shhh-218x300Ask Rene:
My Co-Worker Blabbed My Secret!

A friend at work betrayed me by revealing a secret I shared with her to another coworker. My mother used to say that if you have a secret and you can’t keep it, how do you expect somebody else to keep it? I get it now! Still, I’m angry because I thought she could be trusted and it felt good to finally reveal this part of me to someone. She knows I’m upset and I know she feels bad. Should I forgive her?

Sign me: 

Betrayed in Baltimore


Dear BiB:

This is a big, giant UGH! In my book, there are fewer things worse than someone who can’t keep their trap shut, especially when it’s something of a sensitive nature. So it’s kind of hard for me not to want to go after this person with both barrels. But you know some people have, as my mom used to say, no home training. The question at this point is what to do now. So here’s what I would suggest:


Two thoughtful businesswomen in serious conversation

First things first, you need to talk. My M.O. would be to take her out to lunch and have a nice long chat, away from the prying eyes of co-workers and the stress of deadlines. Then ask her why she told something you entrusted her with. Perhaps it was a mistake (her mouth was in drive while her brain was in neutral) or it could have been more malicious. Get to the bottom of what happened and why.

Read more: Retro Rene: Ask Rene.. Should I Tell On The Office Cheat?



You can try to mitigate some of the fallout from the spilled secret but mostly it’s just going to have to fade in time, which might take longer if it’s salacious in nature. But once you’re past that, you have to decide what kind of relationship you’re going to have with this person. is the infraction egregious enough to cut her out of your life? I mean I know that sounds drastic but if you’re terribly hurt you might have to do that, at least temporarily. Maybe it wasn’t that horrible and you’re able to get over pretty quickly. Either way, you have to decide what your relationship looks like going forward.

Read more: 10 From GEM: 10 Lessons To Teach Kids Of All Ages



What I’m saying here is it’s okay to be gracious; heck everyone makes mistakes and perhaps her spilling the beans truly was one. And forgiveness is important; if we don’t, it’s [as South African President Nelson Mandela says] like drinking poison and expecting our enemy to die. BUT.. and this is a big one; forgiving is one thing, forgetting is something totally different. That would just be foolish. So accept her apology (if one is coming) but keep your lip zipped next time.

Read more: The GEM Debate: Do We REALLY Have To Forgive?


One more little piece of advice, it’s probably not a bad idea to keep work and home life as separate as church and state for reasons like this… and many more.

Good luck!

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