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What is a secret?
Before I discuss the 5 ways to keep a secret, let me explain exactly what a secret is. A secret is an action, information, or something of a confidential nature told to you with the express instruction not to divulge it to anyone else.
The secret is shared by two people. The one who has the secret to tell, and the person the secret is being told to.
Of course there are some absolutely personal secrets that you may want to keep to yourself. My article is not about personal secrets because the process of keeping secrets to yourself is very straight-forward. You just do not discuss your secret with anyone. The secret information is for you, and for you alone. It's at your own discretion if you want to share your personal secrets with anyone.
My article is not about legal issues or wrongdoings that one should not do in the first place. The secrets I will be discussing are those of a light nature and can be as simple as you going off your diet and splurging for a day, and telling your best friend all the details but instructing him or her not to tell your significant other, or someone else of your slip up. That secret is between the two of you.
Get the idea? My article is about light secrets -- nothing deep or heavy.
Now that we have the preliminaries out of the way, it is a good time to start discussing the five ways to keep a secret.
5 Ways to Keep A Secret
1. Decline the offer. By this I mean if you know right off the bat that you cannot keep a secret, then tell the secret-giver you rather not know about his or her secret. Depending on how well you know the person, you can let him or her know that you may unintentionally let the secret out of the bag, so it would be best not to tell you the secret in the first place.
2. Put the secret out of your mind. This may be difficult to do, because someone just told you a secret that you are not to spread to anyone else. You may have to play a mind game and simply first acknowledge that you indeed heard the secret, then just like you delete emails and they go to the recycle bin -- imagine that you have emptied your secrets recycle bin and you no longer have access to it or want to get the secret back.
3. Let honesty rule. Let's say someone told you a secret and you vowed not to telll anyone his or her secret. If you go against your vows, you are at most a liar and a dishonest person. Are these the traits or how you would like someone to describe yourself to others. I think not. So once the secret is revealed to you, let your honesty and integrity overcome any urges you may have to tell the secret to someone else.
4. Write the secret down and promptly discard, or shred the paper upon which the secret was written. Even though you are not divulging the secret verbally to anyone, the act of writing the secret down should lift the burden of you having to keep the secret to yourself. In a way, you have shared it on paper -- now you must promptly get rid of it.
5. Feel empathy for the person who just told you his or secret and act accordingly. How? Simply by putting yourself in the person's place who just told you the secret, and imagine how distraught you would feel if a secret you told someone was out in the open. Look at the situation from the other person's point of view. The results could be devastating, depending on what the secret is. By so doing, you may be prone to keep the secret rather than tell all.
If truth be told, eventually the secret may get out regardless, whatever it is.
Follow one or more of the 5 steps above and you will not be the one who let the "cat out of the bag!"