Monday, April 26, 2010

In Confidence

Have you ever heard of that phrase "in confidence" before? It is such an intriguing and powerful phrase—almost magical in a certain way. I think the first person who came up with that phrase must have intended to use it for the sole purpose of attracting the attention of the person he was talking to.

But not only does it have the effect of attracting attention, that phrase has a kind of magical tendency to give rise to an unfathomable inclination on the part of the recipient of that information to spread it to others as quickly as he can!

When someone in the office had to resign, the reason for that resignation was strictly to be kept a secret. It's unclear why it had to be kept a secret, but the option of revealing that information at a later time remained open. Whether or not that option will eventually be exercised by the management remains to be seen.

And then from somewhere within the administrative team, someone, somehow had committed the indiscretion of revealing that information to someone who's not supposed to know that information—in confidence:

"I'm telling you this in confidence. Make sure that no one else knows about this. Only a few of us know, so don't go around spreading it!"

That in confidence thing then has the curious tendency to spread at an increasing momentum. From one informant to another, the information spreads like wild fire. There will be numerous versions of the tale, of course, but absolutely all of them contain that phrase "in confidence" and "you didn't hear it from me."

After a day or two, the whole office would know about that well-guarded secret, because the information was imparted strictly in confidence. Yet everyone did a wonderful job of keeping that secret!

Truly, that phrase "in confidence" is so powerful...

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