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Am I wrong? Is she being unreasonable? Would be unprofessional to tell her what transpired, when I was asked not to by my management?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Friends, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (11 January 2017) 7 Answers - (Newest, 13 January 2017)
A female United States age 26-29, anonymous writes:

I was called into a meeting today at work to discuss something, which wasn't a HUGE deal but which was asked to be kept confidential until he other people involved had been informed.

My friend at work asked me what the meeting was about and I said, I'm sorry but I was asked not to say anything at the moment.

And then she said, you don't trust me, I expected you not to tell other people but I never thought you wouldn't tell me! I feel like it would be unprofessional to tell her when I was asked not to, and that she is being unreasonable. Am I in the wrong?

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (13 January 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntYou simply say you are a trust worthy person and that is why you are keeping things confidential like you were asked and you are keeping your word. If she was a true friend she would understand and not try to get some gossip from you.

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (12 January 2017):

chigirl agony auntYour friend at work is stuck up or having a bad day. Of course it'd be unprofessional of you to disclose what the meeting was about when you were told specifically not to. Your loyalty is to your work first and foremost, not your colleague friend. If her fragile ego can't handle that, then that's too bad for her. Not really your problem.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (12 January 2017):

Confidentiality means you keep what you've discussed to yourself.

If your friend would expect you to risk your job when you've been informed by management not to disclose information; you can't trust that friend to protect your privacy either.

That in itself is clear indication that co-worker would tell another friend your business, and anything else you wanted to kept private.

Disclosure of your meeting may place your job at risk, and place you and your employer under serious liability. There is apparently an investigation underway. If it is confidential, that means there may be legal concerns.

Keep a lid on it.

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (12 January 2017):

N91 agony auntKeep quiet.

I wouldn't put my job at risk to give out info that sounds like it's going to be released anyways when the correct people have been informed.

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A female reader, Aunty BimBim Australia + , writes (12 January 2017):

Aunty BimBim agony auntSay to you "you are my friend, why are you asking me to act unprofessionally and to put my job at risk"

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (11 January 2017):

Honeypie agony auntYep, I'm with Abella,

SHE is being unprofessional and unreasonable here. YOU were told to keep the lid on it, so your "friend" wanting some juicy gossip doesn't get special access.

Guess who could lose her job if you DID tell her? Yep, YOU.

YOU ARE doing the right thing here.

If she gets pissy about it, TOUGH cookies, stand your ground.

It's IS the right thing to keep CONFIDENTIAL information separate from office gossip and even "friendly" banter.

"Loose lips sink ships"... you know that saying right? Makes sense doesn't it?

Don't let her try and manipulate you into telling her.

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A female reader, Abella United States + , writes (11 January 2017):

Abella agony auntShe is being unreasonable and unprofessional. She is also trying to guilt you into revealing something that will break the trust with your employers if you reveal what they asked you to not reveal.

Explain that friendship is one thing. Versus your professional relationship with your employees and your employer.

IF you were to tell her anything it will backfire on you. Once you tell anyone something you were asked to keep private then it will not longer be private.

And IF by "accident" she told someone else and word got back to management then where would that leave you? One or more people could point the finger at you as the source without revealing that they asked you to tell them. The YOU will attract the wrong sort of attention from your managers who will feel that you betrayed their trust.

Your professional attitude at work is what keeps you in your job and allows you to do your job as you have the trust of your employer. Break your trust with your employer then where will your career go?

There may be a time when you need to discipline an employee. What if that employee is your friend? You will still need to address a work issue that needs to be addressed. You will not be able to be lenient on a person just because, aside from work, the person is a friend.

In this instance you would be unprofessional to tell her anything.

Your friendship needs to be kept separate from your professional relationship and your contract with your employer.

If she wants to blur the lines between friendship and confidentiality at work over a matter that you were told to keep as confidential then she is not being a friend at all. She is being selfish and disrespectful. And very unreasonable, in the circumstances.

Let her know that your refusal is not about your friendship with her at work. It is about you respecting a confidence and you behaving in a professional way. There are some things that do need to remain confidential in a work situation and such information in the wrong hands can jeopardise or prejudice an issue at hand. The employer has a right to ask you not to reveal a confidence. They also have an expectation that you will comply with their direction to not reveal anything about the matter that they want to remain as confidential.

Your friend is not entitled to even a hint about content or subject matter of the confidential conversation that you had with management.

It is not about your trust of your friend.

Your friend is trying to put you into a position that can potentially adversely affect you IF you do do what your friend is asking you to do.

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