Can you keep a secret? Have you ever said this? If you have, I’ll let you in on a little secret. You just revealed the secret dummy, so I guess you’re not very good at keeping them. If a secret is revealed, it’s the fault of the person who let it out to begin with. I remember an old saying, something like “A person who can keep a secret may be wise, but not nearly as wise as a person who has no secrets to keep.” Seems to be some truth there. Just don’t say this. To anyone. Ever.
Can you keep a secret? Have you ever heard this? If you have, and you answered yes, I’ll let you in on a little secret. You will eventually tell. It’s in our nature. We can’t resist. The immediate reward from the thrill of revealing a secret far outweighs the delayed risk from the consequences of revealing the secret. And most of us are all about immediate rewards. We’ll take our lumps later. The Washington D.C. press corps would have nothing to do if it weren’t for people telling secrets. Just say no. To everyone. Always.
Gossip and secrets are two leaves on the same tree. Gossip serves no good purpose, but it does serve to enforce behavioral norms in social groups. The aversion to being gossiped about in one’s group can be a powerful influence on one’s behavior. Gossip can also serve as a weapon in social groups. A group member can start a rumor, a smear campaign, as an attack on another group member. In this instance, the “secret” is intended to be revealed, and not revealing it, not passing on the gossip, is often viewed negatively by the group.
Although it’s taken a long time, I’ve finally learned that there’s nothing about me that is so deep, so dark, so embarrassing, or so earth shattering, that I need to keep it a secret. And if you’ve got something that is, I’d rather not know. Just keep it your little secret.