“Don’t tell me what they said about me, tell me why they were so comfortable to say it around you.”
This sounds a little confrontational or accusatory to me. Just a little, maybe. However, I wondered how I might react to this question and how some of my trusted fiends might react if I asked it of them. In both cases I have to put myself in real dialogues with others. I mean, a general answer doesn’t seem possible, as it might differ from person to person.
I tend to have immediate honesty answers that change with reflection, but the first answer might be along the lines of “maybe, they are uncomfortable talking to you”. There’s deep truth in this reactive answer for me. There’s something I’m dealing with right now where I have chosen the go through a friend for feedback, because the client we both have for different services isn’t comfortable communicating. In a general sense, the client is uncomfortable expressing themselves, not just to me, but seemingly many of his service providers. I’m not getting passive aggressive feedback either. I’m forced to instigate the communicating at all times, if I want to get a glimpse of what is really wanted and to keep my hope of being on there same page alive.
This same situation m might be a great place for me to ask the question. I’m not sure my friend will be Abe to answer it to my satisfaction, but that has more to do with my expectations, than anything else. As you can see, I’m not talking about the phenomenon of gossip, which, in my opinion is more destructive.
Now that I think about it, any scenario like this breaks the communication. Asking why the other person is uncomfortable about talking to me, or more comfortable talking to an intermediary could be a great learning experience. Perhaps hard on the ego… yes, probably hard win the ego, but the ego seldom helps in growth. Hmmmm….