I am at a dinner at a friends house. We are sitting around after dinner and talking. One person starts talking about a subordinate at their job.
The subordinate is not nice. The subordinate may be trying to steal his job. The subordinate is messing with him.
"She doesn't know who she is messing with," his wife chimes in.
"Yes," he nods, "She will find out."
Other people say "That sounds awful! She must be a horrible person." Some make suggestions about what to do. Some are mean. Some are funny and mean. Almost everyone is chiming in, either with sympathy or suggestions.
I want to say, wait. I want to say, none of us but you know this person. I want to say, this is only one side of the story. I want to say, I am sorry for this person that we are all saying bad things about. I want to say, maybe it looks different from their perspective. I want to say, maybe she is at a party telling everyone about you and everyone is chiming in.
I don't speak up. I am afraid. I get up and move to the other part of the house. I hope that when it all starts hurting less then I will be able to speak up. Gently. Lightly. Say that I feel sorry for the person because we are thinking about them in a negative light, and perhaps we could all send wishes for this relationship to be better, for kindness, for their motives to be changed if indeed they were trying to steal a job. For their fear to be lifted if they are fearful and ambitious. For healing.