Monday, September 27, 2010

Keeping Secrets

I have a love/hate relationship with secrets.

Sometimes they can be wonderful, like a surprise for a friend or good news you know you'll be able to share soon.

Sometimes they can be irritating, like having a pen name and not being able to tell anyone in town about good writing news because they all think you've been actively trying to sell a book for ten years now with no success. (Gee, Kate, issues much? LOL)

Sometimes they can be agonizing, because you REALLY REALLY REALLY want to share and you just can't.

I'm pretty good at keeping secrets. (Okay, NNN, stop laughing. I have a point.) Let me rephrase - I'm good at keeping secrets when they aren't mine to share. If it's someone else's news, if it impacts another person, I'll keep my mouth shut as long as necessary. A few years back, we took our kids to Disneyland, and didn't tell them until we pulled up at the hotel. They thought we were on our way to the Grand Canyon (which we did eventually visit, after Disney), and the fact that we were taking the same route we'd used for Disneyland in the past was merely a coincidence. As tough as it was to plan the whole thing without letting anything slip, it was worth it to see the looks on their faces as they realized what was actually going on. It was priceless.

On the other hand, I have been known to preemptively spill my own personal good news to a select few, even when technically I shouldn't, just because it's so hard to keep it all inside. I know, that makes me weak, but I think it's pretty human as well.

So how about you? Are you a never-tell, "loose lips sink ships" type, or do you share a little soon sometimes? What do you think about the art of keeping secrets?


Skylar Kade said...

I've got the same problem as you, Kate. I like to preemptively share my own secrets. So far, it hasn't bitten me in the butt. As for other people's secrets? I'm like Fort Knox there.

And btw, what a timely post! :D

Anonymous said...

I can definitely empathize. I also write under a pseudonym. My friends and family know I've published erotic romances, but I refuse to tell them my name because I know they would be shocked if they read what I've written. They THINK they want to know, but they really don't.

The one thing I believe about secrets is that most people when trusted with a secret will tell one person that they think won't matter. But then that one person will tell one person, who tells one person. And because it's such a small world, there's a good chance it will come back to you.

Maia Strong said...

I'm with you (and others, I see) that if it's someone else's secret, or if it's a secret *for* someone else, I am the proverbial clam (with one exception that turned out to be what I believe was the best kept and yet widely held secret EVER). When it's my own, I walk a fine and squiggly line. And don't get me started on the pseudonym issue...instead just wait for my Slash & Burn post to go up tomorrow. :-S

PG Forte said...

Okay, you're right, I'm laughing. I'm trying reeeeally hard to stop though. lol!

I'm great at keeping other people's secrets--as long as I know it's a secret. IF you don't tell me it's a secret though--and it's kinda surprising how many times people don't--all bets are off.

My own secrets...yeah, I'm trying to remember the last time I had one of those.

Kate Davies said...

Heh. Yeah, I bet y'all can guess what was the impetus of this topic. :)

It's funny how we can separate personal secrets from other people's secrets in our heads, isn't it?

And for some reason I now can't stop thinking about the Friends episode where both Rachel and Joey know about Monica and Chandler secretly dating, but are unwilling to be "the one" to spill the beans first. :)

Skylar Kade said...

PG, I have the same issue--if someone doesn't TELL me it's a secret, it may become chat fodder.

Cara, you're so right about telling that one person. This happens a lot in high schools/colleges where there's only so many people in the social sphere.

Danielle said...

I am pretty good at keeping secrets. But if the secret is about me then I am not so good at it lol. I had a dilemma at one point with a secret. My best friend told me a secret about how while her parents were going through a rough patch her mother was leaning on her heavily. She was pregnant with her first child and the stress from her mother wasn't making things easy. She told me all this. I told her if she didn't tell her mother I would. She told me if I said anything to her mother that our friendship was over. So I never said anything. Eventually her parents got a divorce. The baby was fine and life went on. But to this day I wish I had said something. I have always wondered what would happen if I had gone throuh with my threat.

Kate Davies said...


You make a good point about negative secrets - ones that can hurt others because they're being kept. I've spilled those kinds of secrets before, and been okay with that, although you do run the risk of blowback from them. It's a fine line, and not nearly as fun to deal with as the good secrets.

Debra St. John said...

I do love keeping secrets when it's a surprise for someone, even though I feel like I'm going to burst until the time for the big reveal comes.

Kelly Jamieson said...

I love secrets, as in surprising someone with something great. I hate bad secrets. And I REALLY hate secrets that are kept from me!!