You can’t deny the thrill of sharing a secret, especially when that secret isn’t really yours to tell. According to a 2009 British study, women who were told a secret were likely to bite their tongues for an average of just 47 hours and 15 minutes before blabbing. That’s less than two full days, and frankly, I’m not surprised.
In an age of celebrity blogs and constant social networking, over-sharing is now the norm, while keeping a secret has become a lost art.
As trivial as it might be, gossip is a guilty pleasure that just won’t quit. It’s what keeps US Weekly in business and it’s why Perez Hilton isn’t working at a Taco Bell.
Sharing secrets can serve many purposes. Some find it to be a positive form of catharsis, others use gossip as a communication tool to network or bond with a group, and some just get a twisted schadenfreude-esque delight out of the pain and suffering of others.
Anyone who tracks the ups and downs of Jennifer Aniston’s love life — you can go ahead and put yourself in that third category.
And it’s not just other people’s secrets that we have trouble keeping. We feel entitled to the intimate details of others, and, in turn, believe our own personal lives should be of interest to everyone else.
We’ve become so accustomed to living our lives online that we don’t even blink as we share the minutiae of all our milestones — birthdays, engagements, babies, divorces — with friends, family, future employers and hundreds of acquaintances we barely even know.
So does privacy count for nothing anymore? We’re posting, sharing and consuming an unhealthy amount of information about each other and ourselves; isn’t it time we start thinking about relearning the art of keeping secrets?
To clarify, secrets are not lies. I’m not condoning deceit, just the idea that sometimes withholding information is better than putting it all out there. Keeping secrets amongst our friends and lovers can actually be healthy. I mean, isn’t it nice to keep some of the mystery alive?
Here are just some things that are better kept to yourself: Your nauseating pet names for your partner, status updates on that skin rash you’ve been dealing with, photos of pelvic bones, weekly measurements of your expanding “baby bump” and anything involving your bathroom habits.
Please, folks, do away with full disclosure and realize that not every part of your life belongs to the Internet.