While people may argue that “this is between you and I” is grammatically incorrect and should be replaced by “this is between you and me”, this is not the purpose of this story. The purpose of this story is to achieve higher communication authority, negotiation power and emotional competence. Let me start by saying that most Sicilians will never say “this is between you and I”. This is for the simple reason that private information should stay private. In today’s digital based social interactions and lack of focus, we often share confidential information indiscriminately. As I said in one of my recent blogs, we should nurture digital messages as our grannies treasured a handwritten letter written by a loved one. And we should learn to keep information just to ourselves.
We should not say “this is between you and I” as this breaks a fundamental communication code. Information you have gathered through your trusted network, or information shared with a “confidant” network should stay just with you as should you value and protect the integrity of these relations. When you decide it is in the interest of the public, or of your colleagues to learn a fact, just share it assuming that this will be repeated. What I mean is, if you share it, be comfortable with this information being reproduced through different formats and networks. Make sure that this information shared is accurate otherwise, it will just be gossip, rumors, or meaningless. Also be aware when you say this is between you and I, you are potentially undermining your own trustworthiness as you are giving away “secrets” that you probably obtained because of trust you have built with your friends and colleagues.
Let’s all learn to go Sicilian and keep confidential and private information just to ourselves. When we talk less and focus on listening, we learn more, and we become more authoritative and respected. We also become more socially competent as we learn how to read the better room and chose to communicate when we are adding value.