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Who can you trust to keep a secret? - Barking up the wrong tree

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"60 percent of people confessed to sharing even their best friends’ secrets with a third party."

Even professional therapists share details.

And never tell anyone "Just between you and me..."

Via Jesse Bering's excellent The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life:

And let’s face it— even for adults, keeping a secret is hard work. You may personally be very good at keeping secrets, but consider that, in one study, 60 percent of people confessed to sharing even their best friends’ secrets with a third party. Another study found that a quarter of people shared “confidential” social information entrusted to them with at least three other people. In fact, there’s even some data to suggest that simply prefacing your secret sharing with a request for confidentiality (such as “Please keep this close to your chest” or “Just between you and me”) can actually make your confidante more likely to betray your trust, because you’re essentially flagging the coming information as being strategic and gossip worthy, as high-value social knowledge. Even professional therapists aren’t altogether immune to the urge to share their clients’ secrets among themselves, as several studies have revealed.

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The only way two people can keep a secret is if one of them is dead, it seems.

So, keep as few secrets as possible and know that if you share a secret know there's better than 50-50 odds that secret will get out.

Also titled, why only to trust people who have already been successfully entrusted previously. :)

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