I’ve got a secret to tell you. Are you ready? Lean closer, don’t tell… I can’t keep a secret.
Unless it’s something serious, I’m probably not going to keep it to myself. If you’re pregnant, leaving your partner, quitting your job, doing anything that actually impacts someone else in a major way, or is important, no problem. I’m a vault. But if you’ve told me something casually that happens to be interesting, or you have some other secret that’s not actually all that important, I’m probably going to repeat it.
Especially if it’s my own secret, then you’ll know before I’ve even opened my mouth that I have a secret. Which is also why I should never play poker, or any other game that involves keeping a straight face (Mafia Wars, Death By Winks, Avalon, you have all defeated me).
But here’s the thing: I almost never get caught. Why? Because the people I tell can keep a secret. And I only ever tell one person.
Throughout high school I had a best friend I was inseparable with. I would tell her everything. And I mean everything. She became my walking, talking, personal diary. Whatever you told me, it was a pretty fair assumption she would know. But she never repeated anything. If she didn’t know then my really-close-friend-almost-sister would know. Or my boyfriend. And if it was really interesting, or if I’d heard it via the grapevine, then all 3.
The desire to tell when you know something really juicy can be hard to rein in. Especially for someone like me. But for others, like said best friend, it’s relatively easy to control. Some people are amazing at keeping secrets and don’t give anything away. The Viking, for example, had me convinced for a few months he had an adopted sister who was African-American and lived in Georgia. I made some reference to this sister in front of The Viking’s brother (Viking 2?) and he didn’t batt an eyelid, but continued on with the tale.
Me? I’m the world’s worst practical joker and will not only give away my own secrets, but will ruin all your practical jokes as well. I’ve been known to, rather loudly, say “No you’re not!” when the Viking is spinning a tale.
Once, as a kid, my parents threw my brother a surprise birthday party at TimeZone. They took us kids there saying it was for his birthday and when we arrived all his friends were there with presents and cakes. I was blown away because I hadn’t known! My parents, ever the practical (and blunt) type, simply said “If you’d known, he would have known in 20 seconds.”
When we bought a house we made the decision to not put anything about buying a house on Facebook until we’d unconditionally exchanged contracts. That was the hardest few months of house hunting ever! And I’m sure when/if I finally do fall pregnant I’ll suddenly disappear from all social media and social events in order to not blurt it out immediately. Which the Viking, after his first wife’s pregnancy was announced publicly without their permission, has given me strict instructions I’m absolutely not allowed to do.
Over the years I’ve trained myself to be better at keeping secrets, partly because the secrets have become more serious and less of the “Sarah kissed Brad” variety. Also because I’ve trained myself to forget things I’m not supposed to repeat almost immediately so the first time you’re aware I know something is when you tell me and I suddenly exclaim “Oh yeah, I knew that!”
But I’m still total bollocks with my own secrets, or with practical jokes.
I do take some solace in the fact I’m not alone, with a friend of mine who recently fell pregnant (and has now announced it publicly) lasting only 3 days before she told her closest friends. And other friends announcing their house hunting long before they’ve secured a property. Or others telling the whole world via Twitter they’re looking for a new job, even though they haven’t yet told their boss. Guess I’m not the only one who can’t keep a secret.
Can you keep a secret? Do you blurt things out immediately, or spread gossip? Can you keep your own secrets? Got a secret to tell me?