Culture

Keep it to yourself while I tell everyone

Secrets are currency. Gossip is currency. Whispers at a watercooler can be currency. People engage in old-school bartering of secrets and gossip. Some people use secrets to solidify relationships or get new relationships started. Secrets are bonding agents. Can be superglue in some instances. And these secrets are not always deep. They can be quite silly, as a matter of fact. And, these silly secrets can take up much of your mental bandwidth and barter potential.

The other day I got an early morning phone call from someone who wanted to run something past me. First off, when someone wants to do such a thing they havd already decided what to do. Don’t fall for it and go in hard with thoughtful advice. Listen, nod, and encourage them to do what they think is best. It’s a mental health win-win. I promise you I am not super jaded. Just wise. I listened intently to this individual who called and I agreed and encouraged them to do what they were hoping to do. They felt good. I felt good. Then, this individual stated “but don’t tell anyone. Let’s keep this between us”. I took that seriously. I can be a secret vault. I have enough currency that I didn’t need to share this. Besides I liked this person and wouldn’t betray their confidence. But most importantly it was a very silly secret that I just did not understand why it needed to be a secret. It would be the equivalent of me telling someone to keep secret that I’m changing my nail polish color from purple to orange. But then again maybe someone would be able to mine that for valuable psychological input into my state of mind.

I promised to keep the secret. But apparently there had been no real need to do so. Later on, I received various forms of inquiries as to whether person x was truly going to enact behavior z. I tilted my head and wondered why I had been sworn to secrecy if they had gone ahead and told many others. Was I being tested? Was I being paranoid? I decided to keep my mouth shut. But there are others out there who do this very thing. They make you promise not to tell while they are busy broadcasting it themselves. I suppose it’s their prerogative. But this is why you shouldn’t get too invested when someone tries to run something by you. Listen, nod, and encourage them to do what they had planned to do. Also, seek out some youtube acting lesson videos. It will go a long way towards keeping your sanity.

13 replies »

  1. SMiLes.. Hehe.. A ‘Secret’ is
    There are Pyramid Friends
    Who put Us At the top
    Of the Pile With Secrets…
    And Peas and Carrots
    Moms Like my Blessaid
    Mother who made
    Sure my Sister
    And me Got the
    Same Number on
    Each Plate Perhaps
    There is not really
    A Difference When
    Love Becomes yes a
    NumBers Game sort
    Of Like the Pyramid
    Schemes of Blogging
    Liking 10 of my
    30K Word Blog
    Posts in a Minute
    That Just Amuses
    Me As The NumBers
    Game of Becoming
    Famous With
    Fortune my
    Greatest Avoidance
    to stay too Big to
    See Oars on for them
    to Nowhere Land More
    Anyway just a bit
    Of Blogging
    Gossip as that is
    The Human condition
    And At Core What Blogging Is as
    i Huff and
    Puff it Now
    All too With all
    My Lone Wolf Might..;)

    Like

    • I have a slightly different approach when talking to kids at school. My take is this: “Information is not necessarily part of your story unless someone wants you to testify in court about your first person experience with an offender. Just because you know part of someone else’s personal story does not mean you have the broadcast rights to include it in your charming narrative. I was a police officer for years and that was my practice — although as a police chief I can tell you the only thing worse than the “little old lady” gossip is “Men is Blue gossip.”
      On the other hand, I’d like to mine your head for great mystery novel and morality plays for YA Fiction. This is great insight.

      Like

  2. Telling you a secret can be more of a resource as the secret itself. By telling you it is a secret, they are communicating that you are special. As soon as they tell someone who blabs it, the strategy fails and the special trusted relationship isn’t so special anymore.

    Most people cannot be trusted with a secret. Whoever actually kept the secret ends up feeling a bit used. “You lied to me when you implied I was special.” There really isn’t a way to track who did and who didn’t keep the secret if it quickly becomes general knowledge. it makes a poor test.

    Or it could be they really wanted the secret leaked but also wanted a fig leaf to hide behind. That also leaves one feeling used.

    The social art of gossip and secret sharing and secret keeping is lost on me. Maybe that’s why I fail at the water cooler. I just figure I’m more likely to handle it wrong than right. I file it away as stuff I really don’t need to know and don’t care about. The conversations I hear go over my head and I have little to contribute.

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  3. Two people can keep a secret only if one of them is dead.

    If someone tells you a secret, you can be sure they eventually want it out. The timing can be tricky, but if someone wants something to STAY secret, they shouldn’t tell anyone at all.

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  4. I lie to those who I’ve promised to keep the truth from, and elude to events in vague and detail lacking ways to those I trust if it is required
    A secret kept, a truth revealed and both achieved as required

    Though as my mother reminded me recently when I tried to not reveal something by coming up with plausible variations on why things were a certain way …she had already worked it out and knew already!
    Luckily only my mother has the ability to tell you the killer five minutes into a murder mystery!!

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