A wise man once said, “Never write anything down that you wouldn’t want the rest of the world to see”.

With today’s technology, there is very little mystery. At the touch of a button we can see what someone is doing, eating, wearing, watching, listening to or thinking about. We are constantly updated, given insight, details and pieces of information that we may or may not have wanted to acquire.

I too am guilty of this behavior. For whatever reason, I’ve joined the ranks of those who are anxious to document and share both minute and significant details through social media on a regular basis.

What happened to secrets or to true privacy? What happened to keeping things to ourselves, and more importantly, for ourselves?

Can You Keep a Secret?

In the 1985 movie Clue, a comedic “whodunit” film, Tim Curry plays Wadsworth the butler. At one point a character prods him for information to which Wadsworth leans in and delivers an impressive exchange:
Wadsworth: Can you keep a secret?
Colonel Mustard: Yes…
Wadsworth: So can I.

Wow. The first time I saw the film I knew that I too could do that. I promptly stole his line and have used it on more than one occasion.

I consider myself to be an excellent secret keeper. When someone approaches me in confidence, I get a far greater thrill of keeping their secret under lock and key than I would by spilling it to others. I value being trustworthy and the joy of having something just between us.

But Don’t Tell Anyone Else…

It’s safe to say that most of us believe we’re keeping a secret by telling one other person with the caveat of “I’ll tell you, but don’t tell anyone else”.

This does not a good secret keeper make. Once the secret has been released to the universe, it is no longer ours. We have forfeited ownership and control.

Why do we engage in this practice of over sharing? Perhaps it’s the desire to connect by providing something that others want. Perhaps we’re truly happy and want friends and family to share that with us. Very often, however, it’s simply for validation.

When inquisitors prod me for information and I refuse, their frustration turns to respect. They learn that when they need to confide in me, they can. It’s as though they’ve unknowingly administered a test and I passed it with flying colors.

Our Lips Are Sealed

Here’s a crazy idea. Instead of grabbing your phone, taking a photo of that beautiful flower, sunset or meal, and blasting it through social media, you keep that moment for yourself? Wouldn’t you agree that every once in a while you deserve the silent satisfaction of something happening just to and for you?

And the next time someone trusts you with personal information, let it stay with you and you alone. There is no automatic telling of your best friend or spouse, just the enjoyment of a deep connection between friends.

For many of us, this won’t be easy, but the satisfaction is a rewarding payoff.

The next time you’re tempted to reveal all, whether about yourself or someone else, consider keeping it to and for yourself. When in doubt, remember the line, “Can you keep a secret? So can I”.