Stop telling secrets you don’t want to share [Ellie]

Question: This girl and I weren’t friends, but now we work in the same unit. I don’t really know if I can trust her all that much because I tell her something that’s a secret and she goes ahead and tells other people, and she talks about me behind my back. I know this, because other people are telling me.

She’s the only one denying that she’s telling my secrets and saying they’re making stuff up. What should I do?

Answer: Zip your lips. This is trouble of your own making. “Secrets” are supposed to stay that way, except for when you feel it’s completely safe to confide in a close person you know you can trust and whose judgment you respect.

Instead, you’re just yakking to impress this girl and you didn’t realize it’d come back to bite you. Now you know. Tell her nothing more that’s personal, and drop the drama of who said what.

A workplace can be a community of caring colleagues. But it doesn’t happen overnight — or by spilling everything about yourself to anyone sitting nearby.

Question: My husband’s parents have kept his adoption a secret from him. I found out accidentally and confirmed it with his parents. Should I tell him? They refuse to convey important health-related information, such as the fact his birth mother died of brain cancer in her 40s.

We’re expecting a baby. I feel his parents are now putting our children in jeopardy by not divulging his family health background, though I’ve given them ample opportunity.

Answer: You have the right and good reason for making sure your husband learns that there’s health information he doesn’t know, which can affect him and/or his children.

However, do remember that this is also emotional information, for everyone. Alert your in-laws that you’ll be telling him, and ask if they want to be present when you start that conversation. If not, tell your husband the news gently, without scare mongering about health factors, or maligning his parents. They made their decision years ago, undoubtedly based on what they believed was best at the time.

Let him take the next step, which is to talk to his parents and ask whatever he wants.

Question: My parents aren’t letting me spend time with my boyfriend. Whenever I want to be with him, at his house or my house, my parents think we’ll do “something.” So, we can’t hang out at all. That is not fair.

The only time is when we see a movie at a theatre. We’re “with” people, and that’s why we’re allowed. When school was out for three weeks’ vacation, we couldn’t hang out. School is the only time we can be together.

Answer: Negotiate. Fighting your parents’ boundaries and labeling them “unfair” does nothing but confirm their conviction that you need their control.

Talk to them. Ask if you can bring your boyfriend over for them to meet, even stay for dinner another time. Let them see what kind of guy he is and how he treats you. That’s the only way they may come to trust him.

But they also need assurance they can trust you. By being helpful at home and keeping up your schoolwork, they’ll see that having a boyfriend isn’t interfering with your responsibilities.

You need to trust that they love you and are trying to protect you. That’s a good thing. If you work with them, instead of against them, they’ll ease up over time.


The “secrets” you reveal too casually often become open news to others.

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