CommunicationLeadership: Say it like a leaderResiliency & attitude

Confidentially speaking (6 traits to look for in a confidante)

This past week I had the privilege and pleasure of presenting at the PMI Manitoba virtual online conference. Project Management Institute is a leading not-for-profit professional membership association for the project management profession. 

In several of my four sessions, we discussed the need for self-care, building resiliency, and having confidantes. This reminded me of something I have done for a number of years and I found myself reconsidering how energizing and validating the following was.

Some time ago, I made time to do something that most women don’t: I had a “grown-up girls sleepover”. I picked a night my hubby was working and I prepared all the foods we girls love (think spicy, ethnic, and decadent).

I remember several years ago, my friend Christine joined me and we had a blast. We drank hot pepper mango martinis (delish! If you want the recipe, let me know). We talked all night until the wee hours… shades of high school, LOL. We spoke about our careers, our families, our challenges … everything. We confided in each other, and it was wonderful. Because of friends and nights like this, I feel validated, on-target and rejuvenated!

What are YOU doing to sharpen your axe?

Engaging in self-care and replenishing your energy is what makes you resilient.

Enjoying an activity that feeds your soul allows you a chance to build your reserves so you have the energy and mindset to handle unknown challenges coming your way. This investment in yourself helps you cope, and allows you to help others.

Everyone needs someone to confide in. It’s healthy. It’s normal. It provides relief. Having a confidante helps you talk your way to solutions and listen to non-judgmental suggestions in a safe and private place.

When was the last time you needed to spill your proverbial guts to someone? When you were so angry, upset, excited, happy (fill in whatever strong emotion you want) that you thought you were going to burst? Enter your confidante.

Who is your confidante?

Do you have a special someone you turn to? Maybe you have several. Who do you speak to when you know you need to talk or just listen? In the workplace, you may find your confidante amongst your colleagues, peers, mentors and even former bosses who can help guide you.

Regardless of where you find them, here’s a few things to keep in mind, there are some traits to look for when choosing your perfect confidante.

What to look for when choosing your ideal confidante:

… has proven discretion.

If someone is the fountain of office gossip, this does not bode well about how they would treat your confidences. Look for someone who you know to be discreet and tactful. If you hear them constantly talking about others, turn and run in the other direction.

… avoids judging.

A confidante accepts what you tell him or her without judgment. This creates an environment of trust and open communication. Your confidante doesn’t necessarily agree with everything you say, yet refrains from looking down the long nose of judgment. Confidantes are not condescending. You feel respected and accepted because you know you’re not being judged.

… listens well.

A confidante has the ability to take in all your information, allow you to tell your story. He, she, or they pull the pieces together for you to consider. Venting is allowed.

… offers suggestions.

Sometimes you need someone just to listen. Other times you want someone to brainstorm possible solutions with you. Ideally, your confidante will do both.

… is upfront.

A confidante will show support and will also let you know when you’re pushing a boundary, when you’re off track, and when you’ve exhausted your options. A good confidante is realistic.

… is available.

Often when you need a confidante it’s because you’re in a difficult and painful situation. Having to wait days, weeks, months to chat doesn’t work. Choose a confidante you know is interested and available when you need them.

Confidantes come in many shapes, sizes, and places.

If you don’t find the right one for you in your office, workplace or associations, consider checking out professionals. Counselors can offer wonderful perspectives. Coaching programs can give a trusted venue to share and move forward. 

Whatever you do, seek out a confidante when you need it because, we all need the insight of others we can trust, confidentially speaking.

©2021 Marion Grobb Finkelstein

Until next time, here’s to …
Better communication, Better business, Better life,
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
Sign up for  “Marion’s Communication Tips” at

Post your comments and reactions below. There are no right or wrong responses, just honest, respectful ones. I’d love to hear your opinion. What about this article resonated with YOU?

Marion Grobb Finkelstein

Marion Grobb Finkelstein helps leaders use their natural communication strengths to build resilient teams that talk.


  • Colleen Burlet says:

    Marion, this is a great topic! I remember high school – with YOU! You were my confidante back then. These days my friend Cheryl, who I met through work in 2014 has become my confidante. To maintain our relationship and our sanity, we have a monthly “ Sew Day “. We laugh, cry and help each other out mentally, emotionally.
    For the past four years we have gone on a weekend getaway to celebrate our birthday.
    Having a spouse is one thing, but having a friend/ confidante is so important to a well rounded life.
    Thanks for this newsletter and for sharing your work with us.

    • Colleen, thank you for your lovely comments. You are bang on the money about the importance of having a confidante. We all need a release valve and a cheerleader at times to help pull us through, believe in us when we don’t, and to listen without judgement and just support. Everyone should have a friend like you.

Leave a Reply