The trouble with keeping secrets
Secrets are a part of every one of us and society sometimes dictates what should or should not be exposed.
Secrets are a part of every one of us and society sometimes dictates what should or should not be exposed. We all hear things like ‘hush…no one should hear it, fake it till you feel it ETC. Every day we are reminded of the consequences of talking too much about our lives, we see young people make mistakes because they don’t speak up about things some things must remain secret.
I once read of a woman who was driven out of her marriage because she went to the police about her husband sexually molesting their daughter, their family thought she disgraced herself and them by reporting him to the authorities and sent her packing. There are several stories like this one. People are not upset about what was done wrong, they are upset that it’s out in the open.
A secret is usually something we do not want exposed or discovered by others. Growing up I remember how I and my friends loved the concept of ‘secret admirer’, on our birthdays, it was usually more fun to receive a gift from a secret admirer.
People like mystic. Mystery. In fact in Lagos and some other parts of the country when you give beggars money they pray for you, that your secrets will remain secret, never to be revealed and the alms giver replies with a fervent ‘Amin’.
Here are a few tips on managing information in our dangerous era of free flow of information and social media openness.
CONTROLLING THE SOURCE
I have always heard that the best way to control information getting out is to tell only one person. That way you can trace where the information is supposedly leaking from, though this doesn’t stop the damage done, it makes you weary of the ‘backstabber’.
A friend once told me of an incident that occurred in her second year in University, her then best friend came one midnight to express displeasure as well as end their friendship, her reason being that she had told only my friend about her pregnancy for an older man and subsequent abortion. Her emphasis was on ‘only’. She kept on repeating ‘Onyeoma you are the only one I told, only you’.
Somehow almost everyone in her hostel block heard about the abortion and her quarrelsome roommate even confronted her about it. My friend went to a religious school almost 15 years ago, according to her, they tended to judge each other quite a lot. It was a long and ugly argument that night and their friendship never recovered from that incident.
My friend confessed to telling one other lady, she never expected to her spread the word. The lady is known for being seemingly taciturn and mature in her actions, she was in the same department as my friend. An older lady, who wasn’t even in same hostel as them, she must have told someone and who told someone... And the rest is history.
NON DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS
Have you wondered why people sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) before they divulge information or even hire people? It’s to protect themselves and other people involved. It also helps people manage information better and avoid scandals and embarrassment.
A young child once blurted to me that his father kills people, his parents quickly whisked him away from the room, smacking his mouth as they left. The boy made me laugh, but I always wondered about what he said. The ability to keep a juicy gist or information to one’s self is becoming a hard to find quality.
Someone once said, if it was that easy why didn’t the person who told me keep the secret it to his/her self? Sometimes people who love you betray you, not out of spite or hate. It’s just that people will always be people and will even disclosure valuable information about themselves in the heat of a gisting session.
BE CAREFUL WHO YOU BURDEN WITH SECRETS
Most times when we tell people our secrets or plans, we burden them in a way, because more often than not people are incapable of juicy managing information. Sometime ago a lady, let’s call her Jane, resumed in a new place of work and a colleague, let’s call her Rose befriended her. Rose was resourceful, hardworking, knew how to get the buy-in of the people working with her and was the envy of her peers.
She wasn’t perfect but she was someone you can easily be office best friends with because she knew how to not blur the lines between work and friendship, Jane was senior to Rose in hierarchy.
One day Rose chanced on a rare moment Jane was on the phone, worried about a certain issue and in tears, Rose quickly left the room when she saw Jane’s distraught state and didn’t probe when she later came back into the room, but Jane surprisingly let guard down and told Rose what was troubling her that day, the two of them chatted like close friends and Rose offered really valuable advice and information, Jane was grateful her for help and told her to keep their discussion to herself, Rose assured her that her secret was safe with her.. Boy, how wrong Jane was. Incidentally Rose couldn’t manage the information, you see Rose always saw Jane as having a perfect life and this new information was too much to take in, she just had to share.
In reality, not everyone is that kind of friend you tell the secrets to and truth is Rose wasn’t even Jane’s friend in the right sense of the word, she caught Jane in that vulnerable moment, and Jane let her in momentarily. Some days later a few other office colleagues were either calling Jane to know if she was ok if they were close to her or staring at her when she want looking if they were not too close to her.
Jane confronted Rose, but of course Rose denied, though her admission of guilt was in her later actions. She started avoiding Jane and later told people she regretted telling another office buddy. Jane was hurt because she didn’t plan on sharing her personal difficulties with the whole office. We are not wrong when we share, because a problem shared is half solved, but we should try not be too quick as well.
The ability to keep a juicy gist or information to one’s self is becoming a hard to find quality, a rarity. Someone once said, if it was that easy to keep a secret why didn’t the person who told me keep the secret it to his/herself?
Chineze loves to read and write. She shares her wide range of opinions with family and friends and is a sucker for good food and good people. She can’t wait to be referred to as a ‘Novelist’. She also shares her thoughts on her blog
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