Can People Trust You?

Can People Trust You? Can You Keep a Secret? | Millennials with Meaning
Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

“Don’t tell anyone.”

Has anyone ever said that to you before? I’ve gotten that request about as many times as I’ve made it, which is a lot. I’m a fairly private person (I know, it’s God’s sense of humor that I have this all-too-public blog), and it’s important to me that when I say something to somebody in confidence, it stays that way.

When I say I’m going to keep a secret, I mean I’m not going to tell anybody. Not my family, not my closest friends, not even my dog.

I used to assume everyone else had the same standards, that everyone knew what the “no one” in “Tell no one” meant. I mean, it’s pretty straightforward, is it not?

It didn’t take long as a kid, though, to realize not everyone stood by those promises as much as I thought they should. People I thought I could trust would blab my secrets and I quickly realized I’d have to be more cautious in who I shared my thoughts and feelings with.

Even as an adult (Maybe especially as an adult), it can be hard to find people who are completely trustworthy, who will actually keep things in confidence when they are asked or when they promise to. I’ve had friends in the past who’d say our conversations were “just between us,” but by “just between us,” they actually meant just between us, their parents, their siblings, their significant others, and two or three best friends. Those were the people they trusted, so they didn’t think those people counted.

To me, though, they definitely counted. If I had wanted those people to know anything, I would have shared it with them myself! These other individuals ended up learning a lot about me that I never would have wanted them to know, and it was a pretty horrifying realization when I figured out how many people were privy to my private thoughts against my will.

I don’t know about you, but when I say, “Don’t tell anyone,” I mean don’t tell ANYONE! At all!

There are only two exceptions, in my opinion:

  • If you’re married, it is understandable and almost expected that you will confide in your spouse. It’s important not to keep secrets in a marriage and to foster communication. However, it should be understood by both spouses that the outside party’s private matter remains private and does not get discussed anywhere else outside the relationship.
  • If someone is being harmed, it is okay – and encouraged – to alert someone. Whether you confide in a friend, family member, or the local authorities, it’s important to speak up if someone is being hurt.

That’s really it. I can’t think of any other exceptions. If you can, go ahead and enlighten me in the comments below!

I challenge you (and myself, too) to think about all the times you’ve promised to keep somebody’s secret. Have you?

I haven’t – not every time. It’s something I want to be incredibly and increasingly diligent about.

If you know you can’t keep a secret, be honest and say so before someone spills their heart to you. And if you are capable and just don’t want to follow through, check your own heart. Don’t spread gossip just to cure boredom or make yourself feel better – it’s not worth it. Guard other people’s secrets as if they were your own. Follow the Golden Rule.

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Luke 6:31 NIV

If you’re honest with yourself, where are you on the trustworthiness scale? We’ve probably all made mistakes in this area. But I encourage you to really think the next time someone asks you not to repeat something confidential. Is that a promise you can make? If it is, keep it. Loyalty is hard to come by, and we all need people we can trust. If you don’t have those kinds of people in your life yet, be that kind of person to everyone you encounter. Like generally attracts like, and you will reap loyalty when you sow loyalty.

Let’s all resolve to be trustworthy people today…and every day.

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