Can You Keep A Secret?

Is it safe? Is it secret?

We all have secrets, right? Whether they’re our own or those of our closest confidantes. Some knowledge is just not fit for mass consumption. Some skeletons in our closets are too embarrassing or damaging to expose. I harbor my own secrets and I carry those of friends who have deemed me worthy of keeping them. Sometimes bearing a secret is a heartbreaking burden.

I was recently asked by someone whom I don’t know incredibly well if I could keep a secret. “Can you keep a secret?” is such a loaded question. Of course, I can keep a secret. I shelter the secrets of others in a tiny lockbox in the corner of my mind that no one will ever access. I’ve kept secrets from both of my wives despite their insistence that it was my duty to share with them the secrets of my friends simply because we were supposed to share everything. Husbands and wives shouldn’t have secrets. Bullshit. Superbitch even once told me that I should share a friend’s secret with her simply because she aired all of her friends’ dirty laundry for me to see. “And how do you think they would feel about that?” I asked her. She had no answer.

I mean, how do you know who to trust anymore? For all this person knows, I could have been lying when I said my mind is a vault whose integrity is beyond reproach (I didn’t really say that, but I’m feeling poetic at the moment. Or something). I could have stoked the flames of the rumor mill as soon as I learned this scandalous secret. I didn’t and I won’t. I’m actually honored and a bit befuddled that I’ve been entrusted with such valuable information from someone I barely know. I take that honor seriously, but there are many who wouldn’t.

Secrets can be harmful, yet many serve a useful purpose. Despite my openness on this here weblog, there are yet things I haven’t shared and probably never will. There are bits and pieces of my past which shame me to even think about, let alone share. It is for that reason alone that I take my promise to keep a secret seriously.

A thought occurred to me, though. Who, when asked if they can keep a secret, would say no? Who among us actually believes we’re untrustworthy? Who, when presented with that most dangerous of questions, answers, “Nope, I’m a terrible gossip. Please don’t trust me with your sensitive information or I’ll Facebook it, Tweet it, Google+ it, make a meme about it, and shout it from my car window while marooned in rush hour traffic. Then, I’ll send a mass text to all my friends so they all learn this secret of which you’re so terribly ashamed. Then I’ll blog about it and pimp that post until it goes viral.” There are some who should be required to wear a sign that says that, actually.

Everyone, when asked, will say that they can keep a secret, but not all of us can. Some of us have an innate need to share news. Some of just have to tell somebody. Some of us simply can’t exist without drama. While I’m glad this person entrusted me with this shocking secret, I’m a firm believer that if you have to ask someone if they can keep a secret you probably shouldn’t trust them with one.

HK-47

Query: Can you keep a secret, meatbag? Speak! The master demands to know!

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About Twindaddy (328 Articles)
Sometimes funny. Sometimes serious. Always genuine.

140 Comments on Can You Keep A Secret?

  1. I can’t answer the question at the end.
    It’s a secret.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. WHAT a GREAT POST!

    Like

  3. Other people’s secrets, yes. My own, not so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m a really good secret keeper–of others and of mine.
    People tell me stuff they shouldn’t and I’m touched that they trust me. As you said, it’s an honor and a huge responsibility/burden. That said, it gets stressful sometimes…especially when folks try to get me to spill it. Finally, I’ve been around long enough people have finally learned to not even ask–they already know that I won’t budge (thank goodness no one has tried water boarding yet!)
    You shouldn’t be befuddled that people trust you…they just know. People just know. I’d trust you, too 🙂

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  5. WOW. Well.. crap. N/A

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      • Yea Wow. I wish I could say I’m totally a secret keeper But I’m trying to not keep secrets now but its where I’m at.
        Oh whatever.. Im screwy so I cannot respond right. I guess I would honestly say I cannot keep a secret because I don’t wanna. SO I would say don’t tell me. I have enough mess in this head to organize than to take on one more thing.

        Like

  6. That makes it difficult, to say the least.

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  7. As long as the secret is not to hurt anyone, I am an extraordinary great secret-keeper.

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  8. Keeping secrets, both my own and those of others, can be exhausting.

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  9. i agree about not sharing friends’ secrets with your spouse. there are things about friends that they don’t need to know, mostly because it would probably change the way they viewed them, and that’s not fair. i’m a good secret keeper but i don’t solicit secrets… for the most part if you’ve got something that needs to be kept secret you probably should keep it to yourself.

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  10. Maybe.
    I mean, I have some secrets that I’ve never told anyone, so it would seem that I could. But, perhaps I just haven’t received the right incentive to spill them?

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  11. I am either really, really good at keeping secrets or really, really bad. It’s my memory — I will either forget you ever told me a secret, or I will forget that what you told me WAS a secret. So it’s basically a crapshoot with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. “I’m a firm believer that if you have to ask someone if they can keep a secret you probably shouldn’t trust them with one.” <-definitely, but now i really need to know the secret. argh!

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  13. Great post. I had to chuckle, cause I imagined someone asking me if I could keep a secret and my reply being”no, I cannot”. How do ya like them apples. : ) I had a couple experiences where I genuinely entrusted in a friend regarding something very personal. I felt that all I had to do was mention, hey, can you keep this to yourself. Being lifelong friends, I had no reason to believe that she would feel the need to divulge something so sensitive and personal. It defied common sense to me, as I have an innate respect for those that trust me enough to share their confidential information. I found out later that she shared this information with her husband. And, why . . . did you do this. Why? Because, he’s my husband. To this day, I have never been able to wrap my head and heart around this one.

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    • I don’t get it either. I mean, if her friends knew how she spoke about them…just…wow.

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      • Yeah, that’s cheesy. I don’t understand what one gains from divulging someone’s personal information after being asked not to. I mean, when you think about it, generally, if not all the time, a secret involves some sort of drama. Why would anyone seek more? This creates a vicious cycle.

        Like

  14. Hmm. Good question. I do consider myself pretty trustworthy when it comes to secrets. I’ve held many for friends. Ones that were tempting to tell. But if I say, “yes” to that question, I hold myself to it. But there’s a caveat. If someone says, “don’t tell anyone, not even your husband”, you can absolutely trust me not to breathe a word. BUT, if someone said,” please don’t tell my mom/brother/sister/whomever”, I won’t, but I might gossip about it to my friend or hubs, IF it wouldn’t ever get back to anyone important.

    The moral of this story (I’m a gasbag today) is: be very specific with me. 🙂

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  15. “Can you keep a secret?” and “Will you keep my secret?” are two entirely different questions.
    My inner Xena Worrier Princess wants to point out that while it is flattering to be considered trustworthy, it’s also good to be cautious when someone you don’t know very well asks you to keep a secret.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I agree that there are some things you shoud not share with your spouse. My husband and I agree on this and about what kinds of secrets are okay to keep. It gets very tricky when kids ask you to keep a secret, Sometimes you can keep the info given a secret but other times you would HAVE TO tell someone to protect the child.

    Anyway, not to get heavy, it was a great post. Made me chuckle.

    Like

  17. I am the queen of secrets, my own and others. People think I tell everything, given the nature of what I reveal on my blog it would seem so. But that is just what I feel like telling, what hurts no one and is what I consider ‘public domain’. Oh the secrets I could tell if I opened the gates to the graveyard.

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  18. Oh, I’ll totally admit that I can’t keep a secret. I can and will, but I’ll usually tell you not to tell me, because I have to tell “just one person!!” Lol. I’ve kept several secrets over the years, but my friends and I have decided it’s not worth it! Now we say “keep this secret until XYZ and then you can share”. We all suck at it!!

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  19. I have a multitude of secrets stored in my memory banks and I’m not one of those people who uses them for revenge. However, if someone asks me if I can keep their secret and I know they are just looking to spread some drama or overshare, I tell them I’m incapable of keeping secrets and they better just stop right there. Sometimes it even drives annoying people away – everyone else already knows their secrets and I don’t want to be bothered.

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  20. You don’t always have to say you can keep a secret. It should be okay to say you don’t want the burden of a thing you cannot tell anyone… Because honestly, sometimes it’s a burden. Depending on the subject.

    When I was about 8, a holiday friend told me something and said I shouldn’t tell anyone, and up to this day no one knows! It was a stupid little thing but it feels wrong to break my promise…

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  21. Great question. Funny, I can keep secrets very well, but when asked your test question I always answer, “Well, that depends… I’m not a priest, doctor or lawyer.” Maybe I hang out with questionable types.

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  22. I can keep a secret (and often have to). But sometimes it nearly KILLS me!

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  23. Don’t tell me about the “light hearted” secrets. I will accidentally spill the beans about surprises and things like that. But the serious ones, those I will keep.

    I’ve been told a few secrets in recent years, things I wish I could have un-heard. They had the potential to damage relationships and the person who told me these secrets gave me no warning. It turned into a horrible situation with a lot of drama. And I steer very clear of drama. I had to distance myself from the person who shared the secret. Sometimes unloading a secret can put a huge burden on a person. I am generally not a fan of secrets. I’ll keep mine to myself or pay a therapist if need be.

    Like

  24. Gawd I hope so cos you got some dirt on me…

    Like

  25. You know, I have never really thought about it but you are right…who ever admits they can’t keep a secret? You have made me think deep thoughts today. 🙂

    Like

  26. I can keep a secret – as long as I don’t have to open my mouth to defend said secret. I’m a terrible liar.

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  27. I keep my own secrets pretty well…

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  28. My memory sucks something awful, and because of that I’m like a locked crypt whose key was lost years ago.

    I think.

    I can’t remember….

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  29. I find the best way to keep a secret is to pack it away in a closed box in a part of my mind and forget it. Ha! This can end up with the asker upset at a later date when they want to talk about it and i can’t remember. Oh well, i kept the secret didn’t I? You didn’t ask me to remember it.

    Like

  30. I can and will always keep a secret. I piss people off to this day for keeping secrets, but oh well, they aren’t mine to tell.

    In trying to trust, I’ve made mistakes and have retreated back to not sharing…but hoping that the secrets i have shared stay safe…with those who haven’t yet betrayed them…yah, that sentence screams trust, right? Whatever.

    Like

  31. Are you implying that you cannot trust us with a secret?

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  32. I don’t even tell people what other people tell me that isn’t a secret. The only exception to this is if someone starts talking about hurting themselves (or others), at which point holding a secret becomes a bad, bad thing.

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  33. I have actually asked someone not to tell me. I have said tell me a story but leave out names. I believe I am trustworthy but when it comes to people I share my everyday life with I have to be careful. I slip up sometimes without thinking. Secrets sometimes find there way out when I have been drinking. I hate it….mostly though … the big secrets I lock so tight in my head The NSA would get them out of me.

    If I spill a secret I always confess as quickly as possible to my friend…mostly they laugh at me and say…oh that’s ok everyone knows now… jeez….

    Like

  34. I am better than I used to be! I can totally keep a secret now. Oftentimes, I prefer NOT to know the secret because it usually is bad news, or information I would rather not have. The burden then shifts to the listener in deciding morally if they have an obligation to tell someone else – if it affects them, etc. I am so stressed out thinking about it! If its good news then it’s fun to keep the secret.

    Like

  35. I hate secrets. My own make me feel guilty. Other people’s make me feel responsible. Surfeit of both in a Catholic upbringing. Secrets smack of gossip. I’ve been betrayed in telling and felt compromised in the receiving. I don’t like them at all. I’d rather folk didn’t tell me things. Except for my best of friends and family. Then I’m zipped. I don’t need the hassle of other people’s problems. My job is full of them. I have to keep them. I don’t want or need extras. Plus I always want to take advice from other people in an abstract way and I’m never sure if that’s telling!

    Like

    • It’s all so complicated, isn’t it?

      Like

      • It is. I genuinely dislike knowing things that I can’t speak of. I like talking! And, mostly, I’ve found that secrets hurt other people. I know it’s not always true. But if I’m told a secret my advice is usually to go directly to the person it’s about – cos they’re always about people, aren’t they? – and deal direct.
        Unfortunately, people don’t ask me to keep secrets. They tell me stuff (stuph?) and then say, ‘Don’t say anything.’ I feel bound and gagged. And I hate it.

        Like

  36. I used to work with a couple of ladies who were quite frank about not being able to keep a secret. As soon as you met them, they would tell you straight up – if you know something you don’t want the whole company to know about, keep it to yourself because we can’t keep a secret! And they very genuinely could not keep a secret! They were a font of knowledge if you wanted to know what was going on!

    Like

  37. & This is why I hate my Reader. I miss posts like this all the time. I’m glad I stumbled upon this. & I can keep a secret but it depends on how sensitive the info is. I mean if it’s something really, really bad…yes. If it’s something small – I’m probably gonna keep it between me & my son’s father. BUT if it is something that I feel is going to cause harm to that person or others, I mean serious harm…then I will sing like a canary to someone that can help them.

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  38. You know, I think the next time someone asks me if I can keep a secret, I’m going to give your “blurt it to the world” answer. I’m just curious to see how someone would react to that. Seriously, though, the only person I tell secrets to is my husband. I tell him everything because it satisfies my need to blurt without actually telling the world and he forgets everything I say in 6.1 seconds, so it’s all good.

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  39. That last line nailed it. I may say something like, “Between you and me…” but I don’t ask people that I truly trust and I wouldn’t share secrets with people that I had to ask that question of. Great post!

    Like

  40. Can’t believe I missed this one. Great post.

    Can I keep a secret….. Yes, I’m incredibly well at keeping secrets – because I just don’t have an “gossipy” type of personality. But as mentioned by others you would need to let me know that said thing is a secret.

    Keep a secret from my hubby? If it’s not something that affects our marriage sure. I try to be as open and honest with him as possible – good communication (Something I need to work on daily) is a key to a good marriage. But even if I do tell him, it’s not likely to go anywhere. We try to keep our noses out of other peoples’ business.

    Like

  41. Really thought-provoking – who would say no? What would the reaction be if someone did? Would they be vilified or would people accept that that is more often than not the most honest answer to give?
    As for the couples, I usually subconsciously accept that if I tell someone something, their partner is going to hear it to – especially if I’m friends with them both. Perhaps that’s because I’m the type of person who would also share everything with my partner…

    Like

    • My ex-wife used to get mad at me if I didn’t share the secrets of my friends. She would always tell me that I owed it to her to tell her those things since she told me things about her friends. One, I didn’t want to know those things. Two, they weren’t my secrets to tell…so I didn’t.

      If someone told me they couldn’t keep a secret I’d be shocked, but I wouldn’t vilify that person for telling the truth. Honesty like that would be a refreshing change of pace.

      Like

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