When is it Okay to Keep a Secret?


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I am a pretty honest person. At times, brutally honest. I’d rather keep my mouth completely shut than tell a lie. . .

But, is keeping a secret sometimes the same thing as lying? You know. . . A lie of omission? I’ve always been inclined to think so.

When is it okay to keep a secret?

What do you think? (Image from morgueFile.com)
What do you think? (Image from morgueFile.com)

To protect someone’s feelings, maybe? If telling them the truth is going to hurt their feelings, perhaps it’s better to lie? No. . . Even then, I still think it’s better to “rip the band-aid off” by telling the truth & letting the healing process begin. . . Even in keeping it a secret & not actually lying about it, you still run the risk of them realizing later that you knew all along. It’s a trust & respect thing, I think.

What about keeping a secret in the interest of self-preservation?  But, then, what kind of self-preservation?  Is keeping a secret to protect your own feelings okay?  What if it’s a matter of life or death? Is it okay to keep a secret to protect your life? What about the life of someone else?

Is it alright to keep a secret only when the consequences have been thoroughly weighed? When you have a really good idea of all the positive things that could happen — or negative things that could be avoided — by keeping silent?

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When IS it okay to keep a secret?

Honestly, I have almost always erred on the side of caution & just ‘fessed up whenever an opportunity presented itself. . . Unless it is someone else’s secret I have vowed to keep. . . &, even then, I usually only vow to keep it if I can do so without lying — in other words, I’ve always said that if I am asked a direct question, I will not lie. . .

I know. I am being vague. Oh well. It’s just a question that popped into my mind based off a private conversation I had with one of my besties recently. . . I thought I would ponder “aloud.” What do YOU think? When is it okay to keep a secret?

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Reta Jayne

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  • Tough one, really.

    Surprises are fine to keep. And confidences. The word ‘secret’ has overtones. I tend to be wary of things which ‘shouldn’t’ be discussed openly, if it’s not something which is somebody’s own private business.

By Reta Jayne

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I am Reta Jayne. I help women learn to love themselves again (or more!) through no-bull discussions about mental health, self-care, & more. Click the email icon to subscribe to & communicate with me via email.

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