The 7 Golden Rules of Keeping (and Telling) Secrets
While telling secrets is often ruled a no-no, we all do it.
And, quite frankly, when they don't hurt anyone, they're fun and fine to share. We're all deserving of a safe space to reveal details about our crushes, embarrassing moments, people that annoy us and so forth. But even though we give the OK to a few whispers here and there, there's still some etiquette that must be followed when dishing and receiving dirt.
Keep reading for the seven golden rules of keeping (and telling) secrets.
1. Don't Alienate Others
As noted above, secrets often get a bad rap—but understandably so. Much of the time, when secrets are shared, they're in front of people who aren't involved. It can easily imply someone specific is being talked about, and even if it doesn't come off that way, it's still disrespectful. Private moments should be held in private encounters, so save the secret-sharing solely for those who are to be privy of the information.
2. Don't Assume Someone Automatically Knows Not to Repeat the Information
If you really don't want your words repeated to anyone (or someone in particular), you need to make that explicitly clear to the person you're telling. While it's easy to assume something's common sense, it may not be to the other party involved. If you don't outright say "don't tell…," then, technically, no one betrayed your trust if your secret is repeated.
3. If Someone Says 'Don't Tell Anyone,' But There's Someone They Know You Always Tell, Ask First
Even if someone says "don't tell anyone," they often know their secret can be trusted with your S.O. or sibling or whoever it is that you share everything with. Before assuming it's okay to tell that certain someone, make absolutely sure it's okay with the person who shared their info with you. Sometimes there are secrets that are truly meant to be kept 100% secret.
4. All Secrets Should Be Kept Totally Private—Unless They Endanger the Person Who Told You
If someone tells you about their secret illness, for example, you should keep that to yourself. But if someone tells you their wellbeing is in danger due to another person or other problematic situation, this is where you get an adult involved. To reiterate, an adult, not a bunch of peers who could end up taking things way too far and embarrassing your friend. But, again, if something your friend tells you jeopardizes their life in a way that can be controlled, speak to a parent or other adult you trust and try to figure out the best plan between the two of you.
5. Be Mindful of Sharing Secrets With People Who Never Share Them With You
Some people prefer listening over speaking, but if you're constantly sharing private matters with someone who doesn't share them with you in return, it could mean they don't value your relationship enough to divulge deeply personal information. While that's certainly not always the case, it's just nice to have an even level of trust with someone before dishing all your dirt.
6. Avoid Sharing Things With People Who Constantly Blab Others' Secrets
Aside from withholding secrets from a blabbermouth, you should probably avoid this person altogether. If they reveal other peoples' personal information to you, they're almost certainly revealing your secrets to others. If you're obligated to spend time with this person, be incredibly mindful of what you say in their presence. You never know what may get twisted.
7. If You Spill Someone's Secrets, It'll Only Backfire on You
When you're considering spreading gossip, just remember that almost always, the decision to open your mouth will come back to haunt you. Sure, the game of telephone can confuse things as word travels, but ultimately, the origin of the gossip is traceable, and it will backfire on you. As tempting as it is to share juicy info about someone else, think about whether your reputation is worth risking for a few minutes of exciting chatter.
Did you mess things up by sharing a pal's secret? Click HERE for how to rebuild trust in a friendship.