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The guide to keeping a secret: Learn how to keep a secret

Updated on April 14, 2012
It's ok to gossip. But it's not okay to break someone's trust by spilling the beans on their secrets. Read on and learn how you can keep a secret.
It's ok to gossip. But it's not okay to break someone's trust by spilling the beans on their secrets. Read on and learn how you can keep a secret. | Source

Can you keep a secret? In a perfect world, keeping a secret would be as simple as keeping mum and not telling. Whether you want to learn how to keep a secret that your friend told you at school or you want to keep a highly sensitive matter at work under wraps, read on for tips that will help you zip the lip when it is most needed.

No means no! Don't go back on your word.
No means no! Don't go back on your word. | Source

1) Learn to say no

Suppose you are having a chat with your friend Katie.

Katie: You are good friends with Amy, aren't you?

You: Yes

Katie: What's going on between her and Jack?

You: I don't know (even though you know)

Katie: You must know. Everyone is talking about how she and Jack got frisky in a party last weekend. Did they?

You: Really? I don't know.

Katie: Oh c'mon. Amy is like your bff. She must've told you. Did they really make out that night?

You: Katie, I really don't know. I wasn't even at the party.

Katie: Please tell me. I won't tell anyone. I promise....

A persuasive conversation like this is generally enough for secrets to be passed on from one person to another. If you really want to learn how to keep a secret, one of the first things you must do is master the art of saying no. Once you decide not to say anything, stick to your decision. Keep saying no until the person trying to persuade you gives up in his/her effort in getting something out of you.

2) Don't have too many best friends

It's great to have many friends. But having too many best friends can spell doom for you. Why? Simply because one of the qualities of a best friend is that they share everything, even the deepest and darkest secret. So if you have more than a few best friends, you are probably looking at sharing heaps of secrets and creating a web of complicated and messy relationships around you until one day the whole web crumbles down like a stack of cards.

Talking to a pet is a wonderful thing. You can share all your secrets!
Talking to a pet is a wonderful thing. You can share all your secrets! | Source

3) Talk to a pet

Let's stay away from complicated jargon like therapy and psychological outlets and stick to one simple and easy to understand fact – When you feel like you really need to talk to someone about a secret, go talk to your pet. Whether it is your uber cute cat or your loving dog, you can be sure that your secret will remain a secret. It will provide you with a means of emotional outlet and you will be satisfied that you had someone to talk to.

4) Learn to hide your emotions

Emotions that you display via expressions or body language are probably the first visual giveaway of your thoughts and feelings. Let's go back to the conversation between you and Katie.

Katie: You are good friends with Amy, aren't you?

You: Yes

Katie: What's going on between her and Jack?

You: I don't know (even though you know and you start looking away from Katie and start playing with your fingers)

Katie: You must know. Everyone is talking about how she and Jack got frisky in a party last weekend. Did they?

You: Really? I don't know. (You seem frustrated)

Katie: Oh c'mon. Amy is like your bff. She must've told you. Did they really make out that night?

You: Katie, I really don't know. I wasn't even at the party. (You get annoyed because this conversation seems to be never ending)

Katie: Please tell me. I won't tell anyone. I promise....

As you can see, your body language and expression will probably reaffirm Katie's belief that something did actually happen between Amy and Jack. So if you want to keep a secret under wraps, learn how to hide your emotions and carry a steel face when you are quizzed by a gossip monger like Katie.

If you feel the urge to vent out your thoughts, write them down in a personal diary. Writing is a terrific and personal outlet for emotions.
If you feel the urge to vent out your thoughts, write them down in a personal diary. Writing is a terrific and personal outlet for emotions. | Source

5) Write your thoughts in a personal diary

If you don't know the immense pleasure that you can get by writing a log or a diary, write a letter by hand today and see how much more warm it is than writing an email. Writing is a passive and subtle form of emotional outlet and that's exactly why the pen of a poet or a writer will literally weep his/her emotions out on a piece of paper. You too, can use writing as a tool to keep a secret by penning down your thoughts in a diary. You can write down how you feel about stuff and virtually say anything you want to your lovely diary. Just make sure you keep the precious diary behind a lock and key, else you will spill out all your dirty secrets.

6) Think before you speak to avoid fumbles

'Think before you speak' is probably one of the most abused and used piece of advice on offer by personality development coaches and management gurus. Why? Simply because it is the most easily avoided mistake we all can make. The problem is however, it is easier said than done. As much as we'd all like to say the right thing at the right time, we all have our slip ups and fumbles when we say things that we wish we wouldn't have, especially when it is a secret. It happens to the best of us. Let's re-visit the conversation between you and Katie, with a twist.

Katie: You are good friends with Amy, aren't you?

You: Yes

Katie: What's going on between her and Jack?

You: How did you know? (Oops you shouldn't have said that)

Katie: So, something did happen. Tell me all about it!

To avoid gaffes like this, make sure that you are totally aware of the words that are coming out of your mouth. Especially during conversations that involve sensitive topics and issues.

Alcohol can make you do and say stupid things.
Alcohol can make you do and say stupid things. | Source

7) Zip your lip when you are drunk

If it is possible to wake up in someone else's bed after binging on alcohol and going through the nightmare of having a one night's stand, blurting out a secret really doesn't sound like a big deal, does it? To keep it short and crisp, you should avoid yapping about things that may make your break your promise when you drink. An easy way to do this is remind yourself of the things you shouldn't be talking about before you take the first sip of your alcoholic beverage. That thought may act as a barrier between your not-so-conscious state and your tongue.

8) Don't be defensive while guarding a secret – Manipulate your conversations

Guarding a secret can be a really tough job but you can make it easier by not trying too hard to guard it. Confused? Here's the deal. Unless you become an expert at hiding your emotions like we talked about earlier, chances are that your emotions will be an easy giveaway of the fact that you are indeed, hiding something. You can easily avoid this by taking your mind away from the secret itself and being less defensive about it. While doing so, you can even manipulate your conversations and work them in your advantage. Let's revisit the conversation again.

Katie: You are good friends with Amy, aren't you?

You: Yes

Katie: What's going on between her and Jack?

You: I don't know. Why do you ask?

Katie: You must know. Everyone is talking about how she and Jack got frisky in a party last weekend. Did they?

You: Who told you? Are you sure or is this going to be like last time when you were completely wrong about Tim and Sarah? (Let out a mocking grin)

Katie: Ummm....

You've just put Katie in a spot because now she has to reveal who told her about Amy and Jack by asking who told her this thing in the first place. You're also making her think twice because she was wrong last time. Now, you have the upper hand. Feels good, doesn't it?

The ability to keep a secret is the sign of a strong character and a trustworthy personality. Remember the consequences of telling a secret to someone - It's just not worth it.
The ability to keep a secret is the sign of a strong character and a trustworthy personality. Remember the consequences of telling a secret to someone - It's just not worth it. | Source

10) Remember the consequences of not keeping a secret

If you've pulled all the possible stops to keep a secret but you still can't help yourself from telling it to someone, remind yourself of the consequences that may follow, some of which may be

  • You may lose a friend for life
  • You may cause a lot of emotional pain and hurt to someone
  • Your inability to keep a secret may be the reason why two people fight
  • You may cause someone financial loss
  • You may very well instigate a situation which becomes someone's worst memory ever
  • All your friends will come to know that you really can't keep a secret and will never trust you again
  • If karma gets to you, someone will talk behind your back and spill your secrets too

Comments

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    • profile image

      Flora Breen Robison 

      6 years ago

      Excellent guide. Certainly, I find it stressful trying to balance the fact that I prefer honesty and needing to not give away anything via my face and voice. It is very hard doing this as a member of a committee or Board of Directors when talking to people involved in what have been closed meetings-especially friends.

    • jonmcclusk profile image

      Jonathan McCloskey 

      6 years ago from Cinnaminson, New Jersey

      The best way to keep a secret is to not accept one in my opinion. Don't except to keep a secret less you're really committed and it is necessary. Excellent hub.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal

      The illustrated examples are so wonderful.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 years ago from The Caribbean

      Controlling the tongue is not always easy, but it is always possible. Thanks for sharing these helpful hints. Enjoyable hub!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I think you've made some great suggestions. I have become much more conscious in recent years of what I share with others. I try hard not to be a gossip and it isn't always easy when with a couple of people that are doing just that. Rated up and useful.

    • profile image

      timmathisen 

      6 years ago

      Interesting hub. I like how you used dialogue to illustrate your points. Voted up and useful!

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