Character Assassination

9 01 2008

Character assassination is a terrible thing.

A friend and I were having a conversation recently and we pondered this situation. What should you do when some one comes to you with information but then asks you not to reveal them as the source of this information? Of course, it is always info about another person. And it is always negative. Now, you have this information that you need to confront some one with. You confront the person and the person says your information is not true and then asks who would say such a thing.

Oh-oh.

Now you end up in a position of protecting the person who, apparently, told you a lie. Why do we feel that we should protect that confidence? We end up protecting the liar but, because we agreed to keep a confidence we have entered into an unholy alliance. There is a feeling of obligation not to reveal the source of the story even though we now have doubts about the truth of the allegation.

On the other side of the fence, there is a wounded person who has been slandered and does not know by whom or why. What a stinking mess.

This is the conclusion that we came to:

If someone has to pre-empt their comments with the disclaimer, “You ain’t heard that from me,” I am going to run the other way. If you don’t have the conviction to stand behind your word, a red flag should immediately go up in my mind. That is some information that I do need rambling around my brain. You can just keep it for yourself. From now on, I will stop the conversation and let the person know that I cannot be trusted to keep that confidence. That ought to send a liar into the land of the mute.  It also keeps me from being placed into the middle of an attack on some one else’s character. There are more than enough people out there who are willing to tear people down. I want to be one who will build people up.


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One response

10 01 2008
carolyn

yes, yes, yes. wisdom is a good thing.

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