How to Keep a Secret

The feminine woman of excellence, dear reader, knows how to keep a secret.

 

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Biologically, psychologically, and emotionally, however this can be challenging.  For most people, keeping a secret raises stress hormone levels, and this triggers a pretty strong desire to share what we know.  It’s a natural instinct to want to let another person what we know – this has an evolutionary purpose as well – letting another in on a secret could protect you if you need someone’s help in situation.

But there are other times, dear reader, when not keeping a secret is worse than keeping it – when someone could be harmed by revealing it.  It is, for example, not appropriate to share what was told to you in confidence from a friend that trusts you.  A good case study is when a friend tells you about her love life – sharing this information with the wrong people could hurt both her and whomever else might be involved and the personal nature of the information means that if it’s revealed in the wrong context, it will without a doubt cause damage.

 

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Generally, says von Reiche, “secrets do create a lot of separation from other people, and they also prevent you from feeling truly authentic.” But psychologists say there are also situations where it might be better to withhold information from people, even close friends, if the revelation of secrets would cause more pain to you and others. – CNN Health

Oftentimes, it’s highly likely that when you reveal all of yourself to someone, or in certain contexts, that will not turn out well:

It’s important for people to be comfortable and confident with all parts of themselves, McDonald says. But there are situations where revealing part of your identity would do more harm than good.  “It can be unhealthy to reveal certain parts of ourselves if there are people close to us that would be very unaccepting of it, because of the pain and the separation that that would cause to reveal that,” McDonald said.

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Keeping a secret, dear reader, assumes that you have the teller’s trust and confidence; he or she has faith in your self-control and relies on that to unburden themselves, while also not putting themselves at risk of a full reveal for the whole world to know.

Assuming that basic level of self-control is in place, there are a few guidelines to keeping such a secret.

The best way, dear reader, to keep a secret, is to pretend that you have no knowledge of it, that is complete ignorance.  The reason why this is the best method, is that it is very plausible and believable.  There was a point when you didn’t know whatever the secret is, and when you tell someone that you are ignorant, there really is not much that they can do past that point.  All pressure to tell what you know disappears – after all, you can’t possibly tell someone something you don’t even know yourself.  Most people simply drop the subject if this seems to be the case.  There’s far less likelihood that you’ll cave under pressure if there’s no pressure, dear reader (:

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“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” – George Orwell

“The best way of keeping a secret is to pretend there isn’t one.” – Margaret Atwood

“We women talk too much, but even then we don’t tell half of what we know.”

The next best method is to transfer the emotions of the situation or generalize to tell a story that is also true, but not the secret.

At last resort, tell a white lie.  That is, come up with something else that could be the secret.  However, this is a last resort, because most people are only moderately skilled at this.  It is easy for most people to suspect when they have been either misinformed or at least haven’t been told the entire story, and if they suspect this is the case they will in all likelihood want to press for more information.

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