A few years ago when I was living in the Bay Area, a friend of mine quit his job. His boss was a total jerk, I believe my friend referred to him as a “tool.”
Like a fool, I told him what I thought of his boss. I told him that I never really liked him, his outlook on people or his professional opinions. He agreed, we got spun up and went home happy. He felt much better off.
The next day, his old boss called and apologized for being a jerk and offered to rehire him at a higher commission rate. My buddy was elated. He and his boss got thick. And they decided that I was a terrible person. My friend told his boss EVERYTHING I said, including the adjectives. His boss went “jedi” on him and convinced him that my opinions and my hopelessly romantic view of people was laughable. He used the phrase, “laughable.” It worked.
My friend wrote me a nastygram. I freaked out that he would repeat what I said in confidence and you can imagine what that meant for our day to day friendship.
This happens to us over and over, doesn’t it? We want to validate someone in a breakup, and we get drunk with conversation adrenaline and say some terrible things. When someone leaves the company, we kick their carcass around for months — blaming them for everything that goes wrong. What if they come back? What if they become a customer or supplier? D’oh.
Most importantly, when your best friends gets a divorce…same advice my faithful readers: JUST SAY, “I’M SORRY.”