Have you heard of HIPAA? Health Information Portability Act of 19something says that a person's private information (i.e. name, address, social, diagnosis, etc.) should be held in the strictest of confidence. But sometimes we are just chatting with a colleague or friend and become so engrossed in the conversation we forget others around us can hear. Even if they don't want to.
Last night as I traveled in the Park and Fly bus from the airport to airport parking the couple on the bus with me began a conversation, rather the guy was talking and I believe the girl became as uncomfortable as I soon was.
"I like your hands," he said, holding them in his.
"Do you prefer gold or silver," he asked.
I look over at them for the first time. About my age, maybe farther into middle age by a few years than I but not much.
"I like them both," she quietly replies.
Did he just propose in a really vague way or am I just anticipating the fact that when I get home I'll watch the season finale of the Batchelor.
"Your finger looks really naked," he continues. Oh boy, now I'm feeling uncomfortable. "I feel so guilty. You should have a ring."
Okay, so he proposed while we were all in Arizona over the holiday but it must have been spur of the moment because he didn't prepare. Where is my car and how much longer do I have to be part of this extremely uncomfortable conversation?
"Don't feel guilty."
"Well, we are going shopping tomorrow and see what we can find."
Finally, my car straight ahead. I jump up and think…was he not aware of the fact that they were on a bus with five other people listening to this intensely private conversation?
Then I think about business conversations over lunch/dinner. How often do you get to talking about a customer or vendor or employee and get so caught up in the conversation that you loose track of the fact that others around can hear what you are saying?
Next time you have a conversation in public, look around, lower your voice and remember – don't say anything you wouldn't want to get back to the person you are talking about.