Recently a friend of mine told me she overheard something that could lead to a very painful outcome for a colleague. My friend was afraid to approach her colleague for fear that she might be “shot” as the messenger of bad news. And yet, her conscience gnawed at her–if she withheld the information and her associate got hurt, she would never forgive herself.

My friend decided she would share what she’d overheard, being careful to withhold any judgement or blame regarding the source. Her coworker could then determine an appropriate response for herself.

When have you felt at a crossroads of whether to pass on information that might not be received well? It can be a tough call as to whether to pass it on, and a challenge for your sense of integrity. Perhaps you were meant to hear it, to help someone else avoid distress.

Sometimes it all comes down to how we deliver the particulars, while refraining from judgement, and maintaining a sense of compassion.