A while back, I had a group of friends. The five of us would hang out after work – especially during the summer. Some of us were closer than others, and I think that happens naturally. One guy, Simon, had no filter. He would talk about everything to everyone – nothing in his life was secret. I think we all thought, this tell-all behaviour was reserved only for the events in his life. I was mistaken.

Whenever someone new started, our HR department would arrange lunch. Mainly for the team that the new person will be joining – but word always got around, and everyone would show up to the venue. Most times, this would turn into a 2-hour event. At one point, we had a hiring blitz – we hired about 20 people in less than two months. Halfway through the blitz, our CEO stopped the practice. He said it was sending the wrong message about our culture. After that, only the manager would take the new person out, and it wasn’t for lunch anymore, just a coffee.

Before the CEO cut us off, we had one of our last lunch events at the Shark Club. After we’d settled in, placed our orders and started chit-chatting while sipping on our drinks, Simon, out of the blue, tells everyone that he took Abigail to The Dungeon. Some of us heard him. The guys at the other end of the table didn’t – Abigail was somewhere in the middle.

Not everyone at the table knew what The Dungeon was though, and I don’t think Abigail heard Simon initially. If she didn’t, it’s ok because he kept going. He proceeded to tell us that Abigail got to spank someone, they did the BDSM test (I can’t remember what he said their results were), and finally, they are going to a rope class on the weekend.

All of that poured out of him so quickly – no one got the chance to tell him to shut up. Scandal! Everyone looked shocked. Some people were laughing, I think they thought he was joking but when we looked at Abigail – we knew it was real. The HR lady was outraged. She looked like she wanted to fire him on the spot. By the time our food came, we all just wanted to get out of there. A silent, awkward lunch – What do you say after that? Even the walk back to the office felt unnatural.

“A boundary is a limit or space between you and the other person; a clear place where you begin and the other person ends . . . The purpose of setting a healthy boundary is, of course, to protect and take good care of you” (n.d.).

Positive Psychology

Abigail made it through the rest of the workday (I don’t know how) – I think she left the company within weeks because I don’t recall seeing much of her after that. Of course, the entire office knew what happened before the end of the day. I don’t know what possessed Abigail to share that experience with Simon. She was at the company long enough to see that he had a big mouth. He would tell people things they didn’t want to hear, but even that didn’t stop him from talking.

I guess, like the rest of us, she figured he’d only talk about himself, or maybe there was no expectation of privacy or confidentiality. At the same time though, how can you not know that’s a line you shouldn’t cross – It’s not only about what he said but where he said it. And he went about his business completely unaware of the damage he’d cost.

I don’t believe Simon was reprimanded. He continued working there and was fired years later.

I was trying to figure out what to write. I told the boys what the word was and my son Matt came up with “boundaries.” Thank you Matt!


One thought on “Line

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  1. Indeed some boundaries should not be crossed at work or otherwise & in this day & age, we really have to be careful who we choose to share with as well as what we share & how.

    Liked by 1 person

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