Sefer Chofetz Chaim, Chapter 2, Halachos 8-10

In halacha 8 we saw that it makes no difference how the speaker said don’t repeat it to anyone. A secret is a secret, even when said in a group of at least 3. However in the footnote, the Chofetz Chaim said, that it might be possible to repeat it to others if the speaker only said to not repeat it to the one being talked about, but he wasn’t sure. He also said that if two people are speaking and two are listening that does not count as a group of 3. The 3 must be only listeners not also speaking. The reason being, and this is an interesting but important psychology, is that Chaza”l say that bad people often regret what they do or say, therefore in this case if two were speaking an only two listening then it is very possible that those speaking might regret the negative they said about there fellow and wouldn’t want to repeat it so the news would never spread.

In halacha 9 we learned that adding anything to what one hear in front of 3 is absolutely forbidden whether it is just adding an acknowledgement that what you heard sounds nice or must be true and definitely embellishing what you heard is absolutely forbidden.

In halacha 10 the Chofetz Chaim warns that if you know that if one of the people listening is someone who is known to accept everything on face value as truth and has a tendency to spread it then you must be very careful not to speak to him anything even a hint of negativity about anyone. He concludes that the chances of being able to check off all that has to be checked off in order to use the leniency of apie tlasa is very far-fetched and even if you do there are poskim that say the leniency should not be used because it has no source in the Talmud. So stay far away. We concluded that even in a case where the statement made can be taken in two ways, should also be avoided, therefore if you want to bring your message across be as clear and positive as possible, like in a case where someone asks where he can get a good meal, be straight forward, don’t say this family always has something boiling up in there pot.