When someone asks "Do you want to know a secret?", what is your reply?

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  1. Erin LeFey profile image71
    Erin LeFeyposted 12 years ago

    I'm doing a research paper on the benefits and hazards of revealing secrets - I have a social theory I'd like to test, would you all mind telling me how you react to this question and why?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Erin LeFey profile image71
      Erin LeFeyposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      okay, so you don't want to know secrets...which has never been my experience. i find that when i answer something with a non-descript answer, i get a million questions that i just don't want to answer.
      if you say no, please tell me why.

      the second part is...do you feel people try to pry too much into your personal business, or ask you questions that you feel are none of their business? (now this of course is not a question of secrecy, but one of privacy) do you find that in wanting to be a private person, you are viewed as someone who is being secretive?

      thank you all so much for your participation!!! smile

      1. Erin LeFey profile image71
        Erin LeFeyposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Are there any more replies to this question? I was so interested in your answers, and I'm using your input for my final thesis. Thanks so much, I'm learning a lot from you all.

      2. profile image0
        EmpressFelicityposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        IIRC nobody has said so to my face, but I suspect that a lot of "sharers" (as I think of them) view "non-sharers" like me as being secretive and possibly even having something to hide.

        I sometimes think that people who ask you lots of personal questions have an ulterior motive (which they may not consciously realise themselves) of scoring points off you. If you say "sorry, that's none of your business", then the person asking you has an excuse to think of you as rude or uptight. Bingo - they can now go about their day thinking, 'Well, at least I'm not rude like Empress Felicity!' If you tell them what they want to know, then they can store the information for future use as "gossip currency".

        I've found a great technique is not to answer the question but just to turn it back on the asker by saying 'Why do you want to know that?' Alternatively, you can just ignore the question altogether and carry on the conversation as though the person hasn't asked you anything. Or answer it, but use the bare minimum of words and just stick to the facts, without justifying yourself in any way (which is what such people are hoping for IMO - again, it's another technique for scoring points off someone).

  2. paradigmsearch profile image60
    paradigmsearchposted 12 years ago

    My answer is almost always a big, fat "No!". smile

  3. Cagsil profile image72
    Cagsilposted 12 years ago

    I follow up their question with a question- Are you sure it's a secret?

    It might not be a secret but they might think it is. lol

  4. Greek One profile image62
    Greek Oneposted 12 years ago

    I reply with..

    "I already know you have Herpes... it's not a secret.. everyone knows, and those who don't know for sure just assume you do"

  5. habee profile image93
    habeeposted 12 years ago

    I'd prolly say no thanks. I wouldn't remember it anyway!

  6. IzzyM profile image86
    IzzyMposted 12 years ago


    Some asks me if I want to know a secret, I immediately think of the Beatles song.

  7. Disturbia profile image61
    Disturbiaposted 12 years ago

    I don't want to know anybody's secrets, I have enough of my own.

  8. Aficionada profile image81
    Aficionadaposted 12 years ago

    I can't remember ever being asked!  Most of the time someone will just start telling me some story and will say (early on), This is confidential.  That would be the point when I should have the choice to say, No thanks. 

    But since the few people who ever tell me things in confidence are trusted individuals, I don't often say No Thanks.  I'm not sure what I would do if any other person did the same thing or asked the question posed in the thread title.  I think in many or most cases, I would request not to hear it by saying "Perhaps it's best that I not know this."

  9. AEvans profile image72
    AEvansposted 12 years ago

    Sometimes I will listen. I can keep a secret. smile

  10. TLMinut profile image61
    TLMinutposted 12 years ago

    Usually what I'm asked is, "Can you keep a secret?" When I tell them no, they start telling me anyway! I remind them that I most likely will forget and casually mention it as an interesting part of a conversation later and THEY STILL TELL ME. Some will say, "Well, you'll keep this one, right?" Still no, buddy, I TOLD you.

  11. Lisa HW profile image63
    Lisa HWposted 12 years ago

    Nobody's ever asked me that.  If someone has it in his mind he's going to tell me something he doesn't want me to share, he'll usually just say it's in confidence and go ahead and tell it.

    For the most part, I'm happy to know someone's secret if it's a happy one (like what he's getting so-and-so for Christmas or that a new baby is on the way).  I'm grown up enough to be OK with someone sharing something in confidence about himself or his own life.  What I HATE are secrets about other people. Those are "secrets".  They're gossip.

    I also very much dislike it when someone asks me more questions than what I've already share.  If I say I bought a new TV and like it I don't want anyone coming back with, "Do you mind if if I ask how much it was because I'm thinking about buying one too."  (I figure they can get online and do their own research.  They don't need to know exactly what I paid for it."

    My answer to that kind of question might be either, "It wasn't much, why do you ask?" or else I may lie.  If they ask nosy questions that cross the line, then I don't owe them honesty.  Or, I'll just say nothing at all; and they seem to get the message that their question isn't going to be answered.  Again, if they cross the lines of what's "proper" and socially acceptable, then I get to cross the lines and give them a blank look and no answer.  lol

    As for my own secrets (or the secrets of others that I happen to know):  I tell NOBODY - ever.  That's the only way there's a 100% guarantee the secret won't go farther; and to me, there's nothing worse than someone who can't be trusted to keep in confidence something someone has shared with them.

    1. profile image0
      Maun and Squantoposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      question: how long did it take you to come up with this reply?
      it seems like a very diplomatic reply. are you gonna lie to me and say not that long or just not respond so i get the point?

  12. Spacekid profile image61
    Spacekidposted 12 years ago

    i would say "that depends..."

  13. profile image0
    Charlene Marianoposted 12 years ago

    Well, most of the time, I am all ears when I hear this especially if the person who said is someone I revered.

    I must warn you though if you tell to a person, "Can you keep this a secret?", it is sure that what the other person will do is opposite to your request. Your secret will be spread like a bush fire.

  14. Eaglekiwi profile image76
    Eaglekiwiposted 12 years ago

    If I was given a dollar ,for every secret I was asked to keep -Id be a millionaire smile

    Yep,I can keep a secret ,but only if its a safe one..

  15. Quilligrapher profile image76
    Quilligrapherposted 12 years ago

    I always say, "Don't tell me anything that I can't share with my wife."

  16. JherusiaLhean profile image60
    JherusiaLheanposted 12 years ago

    for me.... I will just say "NO" too.. well secrets are not good and you'll be stressed keeping it.

  17. HattieMattieMae profile image60
    HattieMattieMaeposted 12 years ago

    I don't need to know keep it to yourself

  18. Glenn Stok profile image96
    Glenn Stokposted 12 years ago

    My reply would be, "How many other people have you told?"

  19. Rosie2010 profile image70
    Rosie2010posted 12 years ago

    It depends.. if an adult asked me that question, I would likely say "No!" as knowing a secret is quite a burden. But if a child would ask me the same question, I would definitely say "Yes"

  20. profile image0
    Maun and Squantoposted 12 years ago

    what would i say if someone asked me if i wanted to know a secret hmmmm...if it were a child i would deffently say yes because the secret might be something very serious. if it were an adult i would assume that they were messing with me and say no if i didnt know them and yes if i did. but most likely i would say no unless it was a good friend but then if it were a good friend they wouldnt have to hide secrets from me in the first place. so then the answer is quiet obvious, the answer to the question is that i would say no.

  21. thebigbagblog profile image60
    thebigbagblogposted 12 years ago

    I ask, "What, other than gossip, do you have to support what you are saying"...You'd be surprised at peoples responses then.

  22. Mercia Collins profile image66
    Mercia Collinsposted 12 years ago

    no thank-you, people who say those kind of things are generally gossips.

  23. profile image0
    EmpressFelicityposted 12 years ago

    As to what I'd say if someone asked me if I wanted to know a secret - my experience is that if someone really wants to unburden themselves of something important, they won't use a coy choice of words like 'Do you want to know a secret?'! I have to admit I'd probably answer yes to the question out of curiosity, but if the "secret" turned out to be gossip about someone else, then I'd play Devil's Advocate and come up with reasons why the gossip probably wasn't true.

  24. Erin LeFey profile image71
    Erin LeFeyposted 12 years ago

    I guess no one would really come out and ask a question like that. Not after fifth grade anyway smile I've been doing some more research, too.
    People always tell me secrets because I'm the kind of person who doesn't spread things - I just don't care to gossip either. Like all of you don't. I guess people now just will come out and say things with no preface and tell you after, "please don't repeat that."
    I've found that people with a secret (something very personal) about themselves will go through a really thoughtful decision process before deciding on who they want to share with. If you are the recipient of that information, its only after they have gone through a tough deliberation process and they have decided that you are the ONE. Deciding to come forward with that information is scary, they could be rejected, laughed at, humiliated or judged. How you react is really important to them. There is a lot I'm finding on this side of it...what do you think about that?

    1. profile image0
      EmpressFelicityposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I was in this situation a few years ago. By which I mean I was the person with a secret to offload, and I went through exactly the decision process you describe. I chose someone who I thought was discreet and would react in a sympathetic yet non-judgmental way. And to be fair, she was sympathetic and non-judgmental. But then she told me that she would have to tell her colleague, who "really ought to know about this". I was NOT a happy bunny, but went along with it (don't think I had much choice in the matter anyway).

      The moral of the tale (for me anyway) is if you tell someone something very personal and you don't want to risk the the world and his dog finding out, you might as well offload to a sympathetic stranger who doesn't know you or any of your circle.

  25. Erin LeFey profile image71
    Erin LeFeyposted 12 years ago

    if you ever feel the need to offload a secret anonymously, there's a great site called postsecrets.com. There are a few books, which I would completely recommend if you want to "feel" how therapeutic it can be to unload a secret. They are written by Frank Warren in the Post Secrets series. It's a wonderful project.


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