John Gray wrote a book titled ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’. It delved into the subject of how different these two species are yet how complimenting. Women are always curious to share and divulge secrets, while Men tend to keep things to themselves. Keeping secrets is a tough task for ladies, especially when they are told ‘it’s between you and me!’

“There are mainly two kinds of secrets: one is not worth keeping, and the other is too good to keep.”

The world is full of secrets. They range from the captivating to the critical to the quirky but sometimes when secrets surface into reality; they can have damaging chain reactions.

So just what makes an individual privy to telling or not telling? Some people divulge classified information just as easy as a glass of water, while others remain such tight-lipped even torturers would be hard-pressed to pry open their mouths.

There are three main reasons why people find it tough to hold onto a secret; Firstly, some people are simply more open than others and share their feelings and thoughts more freely, so it’s more about the person’s temperament than the severity of the secret. As long as the content doesn’t play with professional or social boundaries, there’s not much harm done.

Secondly, and in contradiction, others can’t deal with the pressure confidential information affords them, so are keen to offload it – especially if it’s to do with guilt. For example, if they’ve done something wrong and think telling the other person will help get it off their chest, they share it as soon as they hang up the call. They feel relaxed to not have the added weight of the secret on their chest. But, there is a significant risk of backfiring here.

Last but not the least, some people derive a sense of power by sharing other people’s affairs while they often don’t like other’s talking about them, so it’s almost a way for them to shift focus from their own business, which is kept tightly under wraps. People may even use secrets as a form of social validation; knowing something, that other don’t know helps boost self-esteem, not to mention the attention received on washing someone else’s dirty linen. Typically this strategy is about self-doubt.

Interestingly, our secret-keeping habits can be tracked back to our parents and their inclinations; be it murmuring behind an open palm or maintaining an unbroken silence. It is very learned behaviour, especially if you have parents who don’t talk about their feelings or worry people know certain things will bring shame upon the family. When you’re younger you pick up cues about being allowed to share information; it’s implicit learning.

Another funny thing about secrets is that as they change mouth and ears, they change form. They become more dramatic, more fascinating, more devastating. Each one analyses it as per their vision and they add their version before passing it on. So if by chance they reach the ears of the secret owner, they have multiplied manifolds. For Eg, I saw her coming out of the parlour. I saw her coming out of the parlour with someone. I saw her coming out of the parlour with a man. I saw her coming out of the parlour with her boyfriend. And that is how a perfectly innocent secret turned into a gossip. 

I still remember once I was at my maternal grandmother’s home. My Grandma made Mango Panna(a sweet, salty, spicy and tangy drink made from raw Mango, supposed to beat the heat in summers), but no one ate it, it was kept in the fridge for the night. I slept in the night too, but next morning I saw all looking at me and laughing, giggling with their palms covering their mouths. Upon enquiry, they laughed harder.  I got furious and shouted at them all. Then they revealed that they knew, I drank all the Mango Panna in the night. I was aghast. I hate Mango Panna. I asked each of my cousins and aunts from where they got this info. Each one pointed to another. It all crashed on one of my cousins. I asked her if she saw me drinking the Panna, she told no, she was told by another cousin. She in turns told that she only told she saw me eating Mango. In truth, I had eaten Papaya last night, which seemed so much like a Mango. It was all a big misunderstanding which was passed as a funny secret. I was furious but laughed and I am still teased by the name of Mango Panna. 

You all must be wondering who drank the Mango Panna then? Well, no one. It was there in the fridge, shoved in a corner, but because all were so sure I had it all, they never bothered to look properly. That is the influence of a tangy secret.

It makes me wonder that secrets are such curse. One has to go through severe dilemma while trying to decide what to tell and what to keep with you, whom to tell and whom not to tell, when to tell and when not to tell.

Secrets can be destroying

My father kept his health issues a secret from me and my mum. We came to know about it from his colleagues from Chennai who came for his funeral when he passed. I hate his secret. I wish he had shared this with us and could have been saved. He had his reasons. But his secret cost us big time.

My uncle kept his debts and loans a secret from his family. He told no one that loan sharks were hot on his tail. Today he is in big trouble, it came down to the matter of life and death when he finally revealed it, but it was too late. He was beyond help.

My friend kept it a secret that her In-Laws were torturing her, that she faced domestic violence at her husband’s hands. It was revealed when she landed in a hospital. Her In-Laws tortured her so much that she drank poison. Her parents were devastated that she didn’t confide in them.

A little girl kept it a secret that her father molested her every day. She never told her mum why she was so afraid to be alone with Daddy. She is a kid, yet she kept such a big secret, and when the mother came to know, she divorced her husband. The little girl believed she made her mum sad by telling her secret.

Secrets can be beautiful

Secret lover, clandestine love letters. Love is so much more romantic till it’s a secret.

Secret Admirer, every girl wants a secret admirer.

Secret recipe, we all have one secret recipe, which only we make the best.

Secret ingredients, that one thing that all wanna know but can never guess

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
― Roald Dahl