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Telling Tales Out of School

I don’t recall the first time I heard the expression “telling tales out of school”. When I searched for the meaning of this expression, I discovered this specific statement is the oldest of three expressions of the same ilk (“talking out of school” and “speaking out of school”). The same source says, “The usual meaning is, don’t gossip indiscreetly or reveal private matters, secrets or confidences”, which is likely consistent with how many of us interpret this expression.

Within the context of interpersonal conflict, conveying things that are not ours to share can easily result in discord. For instance, when the person who initially shared the information in confidence finds out it was told to someone. Or, the person who is told the information reacts to hearing things she or he ought to have known. Or, reacts to us for being the bearer of the information. On the other hand, there are times when disclosing secrets may be considered necessary, even if doing so leads to conflict.

Today’s blog invites those who tend to share confidences to consider how the possible outcomes can lead to conflict, even when sharing them may be considered a good idea.

  • Considering one tale you told out of school, what was it?
  • For what reasons did you share it?
  • What was the impact on the person you told? 
  • What conflict resulted, if any? With whom?
  • If you had not shared what you were told, what difference would that have made to you?
  • If you had not shared it, what difference would that have made to the person who conveyed it to you?
  • If you had not shared it, what difference would that make to the person you told? Others?
  • Generally-speaking, under what circumstances do you think “telling tales out of school” can lead to conflict?
  • Under what circumstances is it a good idea to share confidences?
  • When you feel compelled to share a tale at a future time, what will you consider that you may not have considered this time?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

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