Here’s what “Need To Know” is: You have information, and you provide that information to the person or persons that is most relevant to the information, usually because they are as involved in the given upcoming situation as you are. You don’t provide the information to anybody else unless it is vital they need to know it.
That’s “Need To Know.”
Growing up in my family, I had been on the “not involved, thus no Need To Know” end of the stick before, and let me tell you, it SUCKS.
When I was ten, I’d woken up after a long illness, only to have the house totally empty because my folks went to run some errands and — figuring that I’d still be asleep when they came back — didn’t bother to leave a note of where they were going.
When I came back from Italy and, seeing nobody of my family to pick me up at the airport, I called my parents’ home number, only to find out that they had changed the number and didn’t bother to tell me because they had assumed I’d be home on Christmas, not the end of the fall semester.
I found out my grandfather had died when I called my parents’ house, asking for my dad for some car maintenance advice, and my mom told me he couldn’t come to the phone because he was on a plane to the Philippines for my grandfather’s funeral — since I obviously couldn’t afford the airfare and thus couldn’t make the funeral, nobody bothered to tell me that he had died. In fact, they were surprised that I didn’t know, and all I could think was, “I don’t friggin’ LIVE at the house anymore — how the HELL was I supposed to know? Telepathy?”
I hate “Need To Know.” It takes the non-Need-To-Know person, the person out of the loop, for granted such that the cumulative message seems to be, “Well, I guess I’m not that very important to them.”
That’s untrue, of course, but that’s what it felt like.
After moving out, I’ve come to accept my folks’ “Need To Know” form of communication; I’m sorry to say that I’ve used it on them as a form of retributive justice, I suppose. But they don’t even bat an eye.
I still hate it, from them and from anybody else, for that matter, but I’ve learned to live with it.