Have you ever made small talk with an acquaintance only to have that individual tell you something so personal that it made you uncomfortable? I ran into this guy once whom I’d met at a party and hadn’t seen since. I shook his hand and asked how he’d been. Not that great. My wife caught me cheating. Pretty sure she’s gonna leave me.
What to say? I’m so sorry. Keep your head up. Everything happens for a reason. He countered my clichés with sordid details about his “hot” mistress while I hoped that the unwanted conversation would quickly run its course. I felt…violated? Probably the wrong word, but the feeling was certainly in that neighborhood. I felt he’d infringed upon me by offering such private (and unwanted) information.
I obsessed over the encounter for a week, vacillating between feeling like a victim and a jerk. After all, he was obviously hurting and just needed to air things out. To publicly own something awful he’d done. Who was I to begrudge him for that?