Trust is an amazing thing to experience and most solid, long-lasting relationships are built upon it. Whether with your beloved, with a best friend, or with your closest relatives, it’s always a huge relief to be able to trust someone with your deepest secrets. And we certainly won’t try to dissuade you from doing that, at least not completely. After all, one might say that our entire civilization is built on trust and would collapse without it.
At the same time, however, as with any other good thing, trust should be “used” in moderation. Even with those closest to us, sharing absolutely everything is often just a mistake. This doesn’t mean that we should be secretive and untrusting, and it doesn’t mean that we should lie and slander. It does mean that, while we are social beings, we are still individuals too. As such, some things are often best kept to ourselves. Here are a few reasons why:
- Sharing too much about yourself may give someone the ammo they need to harm you. This could be financial information you thought your business partner would never abuse, a personal secret you were sure your intimate partner would never betray you with, or just an opinion you shared that might ruin a friendship. We don’t mean to undermine your faith in humanity in any way – there absolutely are many people we can trust our life with out there. But it’s not all of them. And it’s quite often that the untrustworthy are very good at seeming trustworthy. Not to mention that people and relationships change and evolve with time, turning the ones into the others and vice versa.
- Sharing too much about what you think and feel might hurt others. Have you had that weird situation where you say something you think is harmless but it ends up hurting the ones you’re talking to? We all have done it at one point or another. Whether it’s something you shared directly with them or something that was relayed to them, it’s always unfortunate when that happens.
- Sharing too much can often hurt you even if there are no ill-doers around you to do the hurting. It’s very easy to lower someone’s opinion of you when you slander someone else, it’s easy to push someone else by constantly complaining, and it’s just as easy to put people off by bragging non-stop. Social interactions require balance and tact, and oversharing can very easily tip that balance.
So, in which areas should we be extra careful about what we share? There are 7 main subjects we’d recommend tip-toeing around even with your closest family. This doesn’t mean never talking about these things or keeping them a secret from everyone. But they are things to be careful about sharing.
1. Family drama
Family is something very personal. It’s the next smallest social increment after the self. As such, it should stay relatively private from the rest of the world. Even when we don’t get along too well with our birth family, it’s still the only such family we’ll get. We may not choose our parents or our kids but they are ours. And that means their secrets are our secrets. What’s more, even if you’ve detached yourself from your family completely, in the eyes of those around you, you’ll likely still be a part of it. This means that badmouthing your family is usually equivalent to badmouthing yourself.
A lot can be said about money and finances. Some view them as just a social construct, an outdated concept society should move away from. Others view them as a symbol of value and worth which is what they were originally intended to represent. And some even perceive them as the ultimate tool of power and influence. Wherever you sit on this issue, it’s undeniable that money – like it or not – is an important aspect of our lives. This makes your finances – and any information about them – a precious commodity that shouldn’t be easily shared. Even if you don’t think there’s any harm in doing so, you never know what may happen if the right number falls upon the wrong ear.
3. Future goals and plans
It can be said that most truly great human achievements were never done by a single person. They were always the result of mutual work and collaboration, even in the many cases when a single person has taken credit for them in the end. This may be true but it doesn’t mean we should share our goals, ambitions, and plans with everyone. Collaborative efforts or not, when you’re working toward something truly special and personal, it should only be shared with very few select people. Countless plans and initiatives have been ruined and hijacked after just being shared with the wrong person.
4. Personal grudges and resentments
Grudges and resentments are ugly emotions even though we’ve all felt them at one point or another. More importantly, however, they can be both embarrassing and have unforeseen and unwanted consequences. The best thing to do about them is obviously to try and let them go. This can take time, so in the meantime, it’s best to keep them to yourself. Oversharing your personal grudges can, at best, lead to embarrassment, and at worst – lead to resentment, scandals, lost friendships, and missed opportunities.
5. The good you’ve done
Modesty is a virtue and there are many reasons why. In principle, there’s nothing wrong with sharing about a past good deed you’ve done or just feeling good about it. There could even be positive consequences – you may inspire someone to do the same and help others! But, more often than not, bragging about your good deeds tends to sully them in the eyes of the people around you. We’ve all seen those celebrities or want-to-be-celebrities that are constantly pointing out the few minuscule good things they’ve done while trying to paint themselves as “too good for this world”. The brands and global corporations or multi-billionaires that donate a fraction of a percentage of their weekly income and try to claim the status of a “savior”. Avoid looking like that. Let your good deeds stand on their own and don’t brag about them. It’s better if they’re left unrecognized and unappreciated than for you to ruin them by talking yourself up.
6. Personal failures
On the other end of the spectrum and on a much more intuitive and self-centered note – talking too much about your personal failures is also a huge mistake. There are an awful lot of people who are so self-conscious and who experience even their smallest failures so deeply, that they can’t stop talking about them. Wanting to share your pain and disappointment is understandable, and it can even help “humanize” you in the eyes of those around you. But there are obvious flaws in doing that too, especially if you’re doing it too much. 1) you may be losing the other person’s respect, 2) you may be depriving yourself of opportunities you didn’t know existed, and 3) when it happens too much it can become too tiring to listen to. This doesn’t mean that you should never ever talk about your failures and only brag about your success but it does mean that you should be careful and balance the two sides.
7. Personal and religious beliefs
You know those religious folks who’re always telling people what they should believe and why? Or those atheists who are always badgering people for believing this or that? Yes, the two groups tend to dislike each other quite a bit but for most people around them, they are equally annoying. At the end of the day, our personal and religious beliefs are just that – personal beliefs. They are for us to ponder and contemplate and not for others to meddle into. When we want someone’s opinion, guidance, or advice, we ask for it but when we don’t – most of us appreciate it when everyone else leaves us alone. And just like you don’t want others scrutinizing your personal beliefs and sharing theirs over them, they tend to appreciate it when you do the same. There’s no point arguing with your uncle during the holidays, with a co-worker during lunch break, or outright ruining friendships over what amounts to personal opinions and beliefs.