Friday 1 February 2013

Secrets – Don't Tell Anyone BUT …

What is it in human nature that seems to cause so many of us to treat a “secret” like some kind of trading chip  - an international currency which will be accepted anywhere and can be instantly traded for more of the same?  

Whenever someone begins a conversation with the likes of “Can you keep a secret?” I have some immediate thoughts - negative thoughts. "Yes, I can keep a secret but obviously you can’t, so I will never divulge any to you." There is also the classic “I’m not supposed to tell anyone but …” and I think "So why are you?" In each case a trust is being broken if they tell me. The loose jaws really come out of the woodwork in a corporate environment, especially when the boss passes on something in confidence.

I loathe this. Is it just me or does anyone out there agree? I think along the following lines:
When someone trusts me well enough to tell me something about themselves or about some thought or concern they have, it is a compliment. This person sees me as a true friend. If they ask me to keep it to myself I do. To do otherwise is to betray the confidence placed in me. I admit that sometimes it is difficult, but for me it is a matter of pride. Unfortunately, most other people do not seem to agree. 

I have a friend who once passed on something that he was not meant to and I called him on it. He laughed and justified his actions by saying that if the source really wanted to keep it a secret, then they wouldn't or shouldn't have told him in the first place. Maybe he was right.

I suppose the only true secret is the one that never leaves the cranium. If you pass on a confidence - note the word I am using -  to a trusted friend - great!  That is one of the benefits of true friends. They are hard to find. Afterwards you have the choice of telling someone else but they do not. If a group of people all agree that something which is about to be spoken or has been spoken is to be kept strictly among the members of the group then that qualifies as a secret as well. No member however should decide independently to tell someone outside the group. 

When someone at the office seems to know just about everything before anyone else hears it they like to call it “networking.” Developing the biggest network often becomes a game practiced by both sexes. What they do not seem to realize is that some people (me for sure) conclude that the inventory of confidential information they have in their brains might have been ill gotten. People won’t continue to “network” confidential things if they receive nothing in return and It is very likely that the collector gave up something for the information in question. 

With the internet and Social Networking today it is easy to collect and dispense as much public information as desired and to be the first. Many well-known TV and Radio personalities make a career of it. But to me secrets conveyed directly to me are and will remain sacred.

Naturally all of this is just between us.

The Brewster

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