There’s nothing worse than a dater with loose lips. While I totally understand the impulse to seek dating advice or share the blow-by-blow of your love life with close friends or family members, I urge you to do so with extreme caution. I strongly feel that dating should be conducted with as much dignity and discretion as one can muster. I know, it’s hard sometimes when FEELINGS are involved. Oh FEELINGS. I have ended up in too many uncomfortable situations because of my own inability to keep my mouth shut. I’ve also had the misfortune of dating a couple of dudes who had no idea how to keep our private business under wraps. So let this be a reminder to them and me and to all of you: Don’t let your FEELINGS overtake your COMMON SENSE. Think before you speak about someone you dated, especially if you have friends or colleagues in common. Not only does it make you look bad to be running your mouth and burning up Facebook and Twitter about your dating escapades, but on the off chance that it gets back to him or her (and it always does), it could really hurt someone’s FEELINGS even more. After the jump, some hard and fast rules for making sure you aren’t undatable because of your big mouth.

1. Consult before you spill. I have spoken before about how online dating isn’t my thing. Therefore, I meet the majority of men I date through friends and colleagues. The few times dating someone in my “circle” has gone terribly awry is when the guys have talked about “us” to people we know mutually. Not only can this be embarrassing for all parties involved, but it tends to turn things into a big, sloppy game of telephone. Ugh. Dating is enough of a headache already without other people being involved. Not that it’s really anyone’s business anyway, but it’s natural for people you know in common to ask what happened, which is why when two daters with mutual friends split, I recommend crafting a press release of sorts. Decide on a story together that you will tell mutual friends with vested interests. Example: “If [person who set us up] asks about what happened, let’s say that we felt that there wasn’t a romantic connection and decided to be friends.” Keep it neutral and positive and it will keep people out of your bidness. And NEVER speak to mutual friends/colleagues without consulting with the other person first. This is just a disaster waiting to happen.

2. No shit-talking. Your mother taught you (recite it with me): If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all (or post it on Facebook or Twitter). Miraculously, this rule applies to dating. Can you believe it? You may think he handled himself like a total shit bird (thank you for that word, Julie), but there’s no need to share it with the world. I mean, do you really want to waste your energy making sure the world knows what a shit bird he was? No. You don’t have time for that anyway. Plus if he is truly a shit bird, everyone will find out soon enough. He will reveal himself. And you will continue being great and gracious and lovely.

3. Private life details stay private. This is just an advanced form of the Golden Rule. When involved with someone intimately, you’re privy to private information about their lives. This may include stuff about their job, family or friends. No matter how much of a shit bird the person was when they ghosted or dumped or started acting shit bird cray, this info stays PRIVATE. This should not be used as a weapon, as a form of emotional blackmail or revenge. This should not be repeated to strangers, mutual friends or your dog. You would want it the same way for the personal info you divulged. You wouldn’t want his dog to know either. You should feel honored that the person trusted you enough in the moment to share something with you. Respect that trust. Even if it was fleeting.

4. No talking about the sex stuff. For God’s sake, do I even need to say this? If he had a small penis or she made funny noises during sex or WHATEVER. You need to keep your pie hole shut about it. A real gentleman or lady never repeats these kinds of details. You may talk need to vent or discuss with your closest friend. He wanted to do WHAT to me in bed!? Help me understand! Fine. If you must confide, you must. Just make sure they know how to keep a secret.

5. Be civil when you see them. Stiff upper lip and no crazy nervous breakdowns when you run into them at the next birthday dinner or professional event. Smile and wave. Exchange pleasantries. Show that you’re the kind of person who can handle breaking up and still seeing that person socially. If you have unfinished bidness with them, broach the subject another time when other people aren’t around.

This post originally appeared on The Frisky. Republished with permission.

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