Two women gossiping and laughing: Why you should definitely spill a secret

psychology
Why you should definitely spill a secret

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We should not keep all secrecy to ourselves. Why that is, and how our sanity can sometimes even benefit from spilling secrets.

We all have secrets – some bigger, some smaller. Some we keep to ourselves for life, others we share with people we trust. In the latter case, of course, we expect them to keep what we tell them to themselves. And for really big, potentially explosive information, they definitely should. Divulging little secrets can even be good for your own psyche. Why it is like that.

Is the person with their secret just using us to get better?

Most of the time, when we share something we’ve done, said, or heard with someone, we do it because it feels like a relief to let go of that secret. A sorrow shared is a sorrow halved and all that. But here is actually the crux: because by telling someone something, we impose on that person to keep our secret to themselves. So we expect from this person exactly what we didn’t achieve ourselves.

So does that mean we should gossip about every embarrassing secret our best friend confides in us? Of course not. In any case, we should calmly weigh up how big the secret is, what the betrayal would trigger for the person in question – and how important this person is for us. After all, we don’t want to abuse the trust of someone who is close to us and for whom we are important.

When it can be healthier to tell a secret

But if a colleague tells us for the umpteenth time that she hasn’t done this or that task properly and expects us to keep quiet, it can be important and healthy for one’s own differentiation to draw a line. It’s best to tell the person directly not to tell us these toxic secrets anymore just to make themselves feel better.

But in some cases, it can actually be healthy to say something like that. You don’t have to go to the boss right away, but you might confide in a friend or colleague who is close to you. In this way, you yourself lay down the burden that was given to you without being asked – and you don’t have to worry that your colleague will lose her job as a result.

Should i tell you a secret? Gossiping is social glue

Another argument for (occasional) gossiping of secrets: It brings us closer to the person we’re telling. Gossip and slander fulfill social functions – our ancestors did it to strengthen interpersonal bonds, strengthen the group and protect it from danger. The same applies here, of course: be honest with yourself about the consequences it could have if a secret comes to light, and which of the people is closer to you – the one whose secret you know or the one you want to tell it to. But rest assured: at least the urge to want to spill something is quite natural.

So, when we tell someone else a secret, we usually do it because it makes things easier for us. At the same time, we burden this knowledge on the other person. When a person is really close to us, that’s part of the relationship – both confiding and keeping to yourself. But if we have the feeling that someone is using us as an emotional trash can by simply passing on to us everything that is bothering them, then we are certainly not obliged to keep our mouths shut and the burden in every situation to wear for that person.

Sources used: metro.co.uk, medium.com, psychologytoday.com

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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