Friday, May 21, 2010

HOW TO KEEP SECRET (tugas. english)

Posted by gta3andreas On 6:59 AM No comments

The telling and keeping of secrets is a time honored social tradition. As far back as we have the written word, we find instances of people telling, keeping, and betraying secrets. The telling and keeping of secrets is one of the basic human traits, in fact the recognition that you have portions of your life that you want to keep private and secret from others, (including parents), is one of the milestones in the psychological development of children.

From our youth until the day we die, we share secrets with others and are told secrets by others. These secrets range from casual, gossipy secrets to heart-rending life altering secrets. Unfortunately, the rules/guidelines governing the telling and keeping of secrets are unwritten, uncertain, and to some degree contradictory.

We have all be told that we should   "keep a secret"   and  "be trustworthy".   However, we are rarely (if ever) given meaningful guidelines on what exactly it means to "keep a secret" or "be trustworthy"...much less any guidelines, suggestions, or training on how to accomplish these two goals.
On the surface,  "keeping a secret", seems to be fairly straight forward. Someone tells you a secret.   You keep it.   End of story.   However, in real life things are often not that clear cut.

The contradictions we encounter about keeping secrets start early in life. Parents and children go through an elaborate and often confusing ritual where the child is sometimes allowed/expected to keep a secret   while other times the child is not allowed/expected to keep a secret.   Sometimes we are praised for keeping a secret, while other times we are punished, and the difference between these two extremes is rarely explained to us by our parents, (assuming that they even know).

This confusion and lack of clarity about telling/keeping secrets only gets worse as we go through grade school and high school. The rules and guidelines for telling/not telling blur. Social pressure to share your personal secrets blends with social pressure to reveal secrets you know about others.

The following sections discuss the nature of secrets, the general expectations of others, pressures to reveal secrets, and general guidelines on how to keep secrets.
Why do we need to keep secrets?
Everyone has experiences, memories, and feelings they want to keep private or share only with select people. This need to control parts of our personal lives is universal. Equally strong is our need to share experiences, memories, and feelings with other people. These two needs set the stage for the inevitable situation where we have information that we do not want to share with everyone, but that we do want to share with only with a select few.

There is a school of thought that suggests we would all be better off not having any secrets. This same line of thought suggests that secrets are unhealthy and counter-productive. While this approach sounds good in theory, in actual practice it doesn't work nearly so well.   Some people do spend way too much time and energy trying to keep things secret that should probably not be secret but there are still some things in life that are appropriate to keep secret.
Some common (and perfectly acceptable) reasons for wanting to keep a secret...
  • People would abuse or misuse the information if they had it
  • Not everyone would understand and the information would cause more problems than keeping the secret could cause.
  • Broadly sharing the information could hurt you or someone else.
  • Simply wanting to control facts and information about your life.
When is it inappropriate to keep a secret?
Understanding when it is inappropriate (or ill advised) to keep a secret is perhaps the most important thing to learn. Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast answers for this. Generally speaking there are several general circumstances where keeping a secret may be inappropriate.
  • When keeping the secret will harm someone else...someone innocent.
  • When keeping the secret does more harm than telling the secret would.
  • When the secret itself is illegal, covers up illegal activity, or relates to illegal activity.
  • When the secret is about something grossly inappropriate or dangerous.
  • Last but not least...when the secret is something that cannot be kept and will eventually come out anyway. In this circumstance, keeping the secret is futile and unless it doesn't take much energy and won't cause more problems down the line you are better off not even starting.

Why do people look up to you if you can keep secrets?
Simply put, this is matter of trust and integrity. When you keep a secret, you show by your actions that you respect the privacy of the person who shared their secret with you. Your actions further indicate that you respect and care for the feelings of that person. Additionally you reveal strength of character and integrity that others find appealing.
Everyone knows how tempting it can be to tell a secret or something they know. Everyone knows how difficult it can be to keep a secret when others are trying to get you to tell. Everyone knows how mean individuals and groups (even friends) can be when someone refuses to tell a secret. Anyone who can stand up to all of this pressure and still keep the secret, reveals a side of their personality that people (even those trying to find out the secret) respect.
KEEPING SOCIAL SECRETS:   (How Should it Be Done)
There are lots of ways and many techniques to keep secrets, (this web page could go on and on) but we will take a look at a few of the more effective techniques.
1.      Don't Tell
The most overlooked method is simply  "don't tell anyone". No one can pass on information they don't have. No one can betray a secret if they don't know it. Too often people feel they can (or simply have to) tell just one more person. And of course that person feels like they can (or have to) tell just one more person.     And so on...and so on...and so on. down the line.     How often has someone repeated a secret in your ear and then whispered, "but don't tell anyone that I told you".   How often have you thought that it's OK to "tell just one person".   This is the surest way for a secret to no longer become a secret.
  • Example #1:
    Jane tells Susie a secret. Susie is best friends with Lesa so she tells Lesa, and then asks Lesa "not to tell". Lesa doesn't tell anyone else in her group of friends, but Lesa looks up to and trusts her big sister Denise. Lesa tells Denise the secret one night during a conversation on a completely different topic. Denise (who by this time has no idea that this is really a secret) may accidentally tell someone else. This process, (or some variation of it) goes on all the time.
  • Example #2:
    Nancy lives in New York and spends 6 weeks in the summer at her grandparents in a small Nebraska town. Susie lives in the house next door to Nancy's grandparents and the two girls become friends over the summer. Nancy tells Susie a secret. In the fall, Susie tells the secret to her best friend Beth. Susie figures that because Nancy is now back home in school 1000 miles away, it can't hurt to tell Beth. Next summer Nancy comes back to spend 6 weeks with her grandparents. Susie, Beth and Nancy are swimming when Beth accidentally mentions Nancy's secret.
There are tons of examples...they all boil down to the same basic idea. Keeping a secret means DON'T TELL.
2.           Don't act like you know a secret.
People get themselves in trouble by acting like they know a secret.   Even if you don't go into a blatant,  "I know something YOU don't knoowww"   singsong...there are other ways of behaving that let others know that you have secret information. When you give off vibes that you know something other people don' are just asking for trouble.   Doing this invites...(dare we say challenges)...others to start pumping you for information.   The first thing that generally happens is, those with you begin to question and hound you for the info.   The more you resist telling, the worse it gets. Even if you don't actually reveal anything specific, you have revealed the presence of the secret itself, and that alone makes it much more likely that someone will find out the secret.
  • If you know a secret, keep it to yourself.
  • Don't act smug or imply that you know.
  • Don't start sentences and then suddenly stop, giving everyone the impression that you know more than you can say.
  • If you slip a little by accident, cover gracefully and change the conversation.
3.           Don't play "20 Questions"
People will often try to determine what a secret is, by eliminating what it is NOT.   They do this by asking questions (like the old "20 Questions game") and through the process of elimination figure out what the secret is. can give away a secret by helping someone figure out what it is not, as surely as if you sat down and told them was the secret was.   Regardless of whether people are just fishing for information, or if the suspect that know secret information.  don't get defensive...just don't provide information.   If you get pushed to provide info, and if not providing at least some information would lead them to a greater level of suspicion that you know a secret...then provide false information and contradictory information.   When possible, slowly change the topic. If this doesn't work, you can play the same game and start asking them questions.   This mutual exchange of questions may wind up confusing the issue enough (or taking the fun out of it) so that people stop.
Be creative, stay relaxed, come up with strategies of your own to deal with this.
Just Don't Tell the secret.
4.             Play Dumb
Sometimes people will go "fishing" and say things to see what they can find out.   They may (or may not) suspect the presence of a secret.   Don't take this bait.
  • Go along with the conversation but don't reveal anything.
  • Don't try to suddenly change the subject.
  • Don't get suddenly or unusually silent.
  • Don't get unusually talkative or defensive.
  • Stay calm, be normal, and simply act as though you don't know anything.
  • You can even fake being interested in the topic (but don't carry this too far), and ask if anyone else knows anything.
5.         Politely, calmly, and firmly...refuse to tell.
If people know (suspect) that you have secret information, and you really get cornered and they won't let up...simply say that you aren't free to discuss it. Despite that sinking feeling that you have been cornered, you actually have more options open to you than you might imagine.
  • You politely try to move the conversation to a different topic.
  • You might try a little "role reversal" psychology on them.

Ask them this question.   "If you told me a secret and you didn't want me to would you feel if I gave in and told other people?"
NOTE: This tactic (or some variant of it) puts the questioner in the position of having to think about what he/she is doing. Even if they joke and laugh it will often have made your point.
You can simply disengage and politely end the conversation.
Whatever you do...Don't get mad, don't get defensive, don't get flustered, and most importantly DON'T TELL.
6.           Lie
I list this option last because I prefer the other approaches.   However, sometimes lying is an effective technique. If people ask you direct questions about the secret, often a simple lie of, "I don't know" is sufficient. They may challenge you and assert that you "must know something", but unless you tip your hand by getting too defensive, they have nothing to go on.   A blank look and simple denials work well.
Some tips on telling an effective (and believable) lie.
  • Don't overdo it.     When people avoid telling what they know, they too often go overboard trying to convince other people. Keep it simple.
  • Relax and BREATHE.     When people try to withhold information they sometimes get nervous. This leads to shallow breathing and tense body posture. Both of these are tip offs that you are holding something back.
  • Talk normally.     Don't talk too fast or too loud.   You don't have to convince anyone of simply have to avoid telling. Even if they feel sure you know something unless you actually reveal the secret they are still just guessing. Relax, let em guess.
  • Don't get shifty eyed.     Maintain good eye contact, but don't turn this into a staring contest.
  • Give simple answers to simple questions.     If someone asks you if you know "Susie's secret boyfriend", simply say something like " you?".   Don't give long drawn out answers. Don't spend time trying to convince them that you don't know.
  • Don't try to change the subject too fast.     You don't have to prolong the conversation, but don't cause suspicion by trying to get out of it too quickly.
  • Don't get angry or defensive.     Both anger and defensiveness are prime tip offs that you are telling a lie or that you have something to hide. Stay calm.


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