“Keep your business out of the street!” Most of us have heard this while growing up and throughout our lives. My family, in particular, is a very private one. We generally keep what goes on within in our family inside the family. As I have gotten older, the wisdom of that practice has become more apparent, especially when it comes to dating and relationships.

Remember back in high school when we all first started dating, we told all of our business? The minute we liked someone, all of our friends knew and usually most of the school. It was our first “piece of business” and we couldn’t wait to share it. Then, slowly but surely, we discovered the pitfalls of having everyone in your business.

One of my sister-friends has been married for three years. We’ve known each other for almost twenty years and for the majority of that time she’s always had a big mouth. She’s a sweetheart, but you definitely want to watch what you say to her. For that reason, she’s one of my sister-friends that I have to manage.

When she first got married she had a bunch of girlfriends that she’d met since we were adults. These other ladies were not mutual friends and I just didn’t trust them. But I would hang out with them when my sister-friend would invite me along. As I attended more and more outings, I realized that my sister-friend told an awful lot of her and her husband’s personal business.

Big mouth and all, my sister-friend really has it together! Plus, her husband is one of those ideal “good men” — very attractive, successful, caring, thoughtful, etc. The women she was hanging out with weren’t on the same level. Moreover, they were all single. I thought it was a recipe for disaster.

One day, I told my sister-friend that I thought she should be more protective of her family business. She was offended by my advice. I then recounted how I had heard her discuss many topics with these ladies that I felt were inappropriate. She’d discussed their arguments, their sex life, his family problems and some financial issues he’d had from his past. Way too much!

She quickly and not so politely told me to mind MY business. It was her business and her friends; she could do what she wanted to do. Amen, sister! “Do you, boo!” But, I warned her, “Mark my words you will get burned!” From then on, I declined the invitations to hang out with her and that group of women.

About a year ago, my sister-friend invited me out for brunch. We hadn’t seen each other in a minute so I was very excited. Well, before I could sit down good she was in tears. She was distraught because her husband had moved out. He had said it was temporary, but she was fearful that he might not come back.

Turns out, one of her “friends” was a human tape recorder. She made an advance on her husband and while doing so spilled everything that my sister-friend had shared with her. Imagine a man hearing ALL of his personal business parroted back to him by a woman who he barely knows and the information source is his own wife. Thankfully, my sister-friend’s husband is a stand-up guy and rebuked the woman’s advances.

Even still, he felt betrayed by his wife and they’d already been having some difficulties. He moved out to evaluate their marriage and make some decisions. It was a hard lesson to learn, but a necessary one. I knew something like that was going to happen. It didn’t seem right for her to share so much with people she didn’t know that well.

My sister-friend and her husband went to counseling and she had one-on-one sessions as well. Thankfully, they were able to work it out and stay together. But imagine if she were married to a different man with a lot less integrity. She still has a big mouth, but not about her business. She’ll tell yours, however, she’s learned to keep her own business to herself.

I love the phrase, “not everyone deserves a front row seat to your life.” It is the truth! I hear so many women sharing intimate details of their relationships with other people. It always makes me cringe. Now, your good girlfriend of thirty years is one thing, because we all need a confidante and sounding board. Other than that, I suggest you mind your business and keep it out of the street.