by Niall Doherty

“How should a blogger talk about their friends, family, and the people they meet? What do you think? Is writing something truthful and powerful worth it, if it hurts people’s feelings?” – Drew Jacob, Hemingway’s Long Game

Probably the most frequent praise I hear for my writing is how honest and transparent I come across. I like to write about embarrassing things that happen to me, my numerous shortcomings, my income and expenditure, controversial stuff like pickup, etc.

But you should know that I’m not completely honest and transparent. I do hold back. There are things I don’t write about.

Mostly, these are things related to other people’s privacy. To steal words from Drew Jacob

“I don’t give a fuck about privacy.

I don’t mean your privacy. You won’t find me in a tree outside your window. I swear. Not that I haven’t tried.

No, I mean my privacy. I don’t care if my personal information is online. I’m pretty mystified by people who do.”

I can relate. I care little about my own privacy and it baffles me as to why so many people — often genuinely good people with nothing to hide — are fiercely protective about it.

(The best explanation I can come up with is that society is so batshit crazy and judgmental that even the best among us will be criticized for our actions, and most people would rather not endure such small-minded criticism.)

I realize though that I don’t have to understand someone’s wishes to respect them, and so I try to respect the privacy of others. As such, I have to be careful when I write about other people. I have some great stories with powerful lessons that I’d like to share here on the blog, but unless I figure out a way to write them while preserving anonymity, I’ll be holding back.

I’ve learned this the hard way. I’ve inadvertently lost friends and damaged relationships on account of my writing. It’s not a nice feeling.

Truth versus loyalty. An ethical dilemma, and I find myself leaning towards the latter.

What’s your take on privacy? Why is it important to you, or not? What about respecting the privacy of others? Should truth take precedence over loyalty? Let me know via the comments.