It is an ancient belief that women cannot keep secrets. What is it that makes women such unreliable confidants? The answer is probably other popular beliefs, such as women love to talk or women love to gossip.
Some people believe that women generally tend to undervalue the gravity of things from a third person perspective. It is probably for this reason that we fail to appreciate the importance of the secret to the person who tells us the secret. The secret could relate to a surprise birthday party, or a strategically planned move at the office or maybe a more secretive confession of a shameful act. No matter the level of seriousness of the confession, it is the trust of the other person that is at stake. Try the following to be a worthy friend and a worthy protector of your friend’s secrets.
Try and focus your talkative energies on impersonal topics such as politics, sports, music, movies, etc. Learn to refrain from discussing excessively personal topics such as love, marriage, parenting issues, etc., because they eventually tend to act as harbingers of trouble. Be a knowledge seeker instead of talking just for the sake of talking.
Learn to listen
It is often said that the best speaker is one who listens effectively. When having a conversation with another person, learn to focus the subject of the talk on the other person. You will stay away from divulging unnecessary gossip about other people and also come across as a good conversation-maker to the person sitting opposite to you. Remember, people love to talk about themselves and they’ll love you if you let them indulge in their favorite habit.
Forget the secret
People often tell secrets to their friends just because they need to vent their frustrations of keeping it pent up inside themselves. They would appreciate it as well as you if you could forget their secrets immediately after they have confessed into you during a brief moment of excitement or anxiety. This is the reason the confession chamber at the neighboring church has been traditionally successful.
Visualize the consequences
It always helps to empathize with friends when they are confiding in you. As they begin to churn out the intricacies of their secrets, you should mentally attune yourself to imagine what could be the consequences of the secret coming out in the open. There might be instances when you do not feel that there will be heavy costs of divulging the secret. At such instances you should discuss this with your friend. If you cannot convince your friend about your viewpoint, it is possible that there are certain situations that make the secret important that you do not understand. It becomes your duty in such a case to respect the intention of your friend to keep the secret inside the closet.
If a secret has grave consequences if it is revealed and you feel that you may inadvertently divulge it in the midst of a conversation, you need to try something tougher, such as practicing mnemonics. Pick up a word that you think will commonly precede the talk that may force you to break the secret. And repeat that word 50 times over aloud with any combined phrase that will alert you to the possibility that you are approaching the moment when you might break the secret. For example, if your best friend has slept with any person before her wedding, pick up a word such as ‘premarital’ and repeat it over and over so you become alert to the presence of that word and avoid wading into troublesome waters.
Whichever of the above suggestions works for you, it is important to realize that the ability to keep a secret is an important component in any relationship. It may be your best friend, your spouse, your kids or your parents that may confide in you. It is important that you protect their secrets with all your might because it matters to the people who matter to you the most.