As Featured on News Cult: How to Keep Someone Else’s Secret

Keeping secrets is hard. Especially when they belong to someone else, because—whether you want to pretend you’re above gossip or not—the urge to blab is real. And the juicier the secret, the stronger the urge. But, in the interest of not destroying all of our relationships, it’s good to sometimes not sink ships. So here’s how to keep someone else’s secret.

Throw away your phone

If you don’t have the means to communicate with anyone, you can’t spread secrets. I suggest chucking it out of your window as you drive, for maximum cinematic effect.

Be empathetic

If the roles were reversed, would you want someone spreading your secret all around? (Just pretend for a second that you have something interesting enough going on that people would actually give enough of a shit to talk about it. As my tenth grade Mythology teacher wouldn’t shut up about, “suspend disbelief.”). Furthermore, if they did, you would exact swift, merciless revenge, so you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that (although no one does revenge quite like us, so we almost invite them to just try).

Develop a strategy

ya big MOUTH

Every time you have the urge to spill a secret, be prepared with activities you can do instead. I’ve listed some suggestions below.

-Break into song (preferably a Broadway musical)

-Spill one of your own secrets (just to restore equilibrium to the universe). E.g.:

•”I kicked a kid behind me in line at Starbucks yesterday. He had absolutely no sense of personal space. I have no remorse.”

•”I spend 90% of my time at work watching Netflix.”

•”I haven’t flossed since 1998.”

-Play dead

Have one confidant

Listen, I think it’s fine if you have one person you spill secrets to when you can’t keep them inside, just as long as your agreement with said person is that they will not tell another soul, and they can actually be trusted. This of course means you’re going to have to pay for their therapy because no one can handle that much of a burden without exploding, but it’ll be worth it in the end when you’ve transferred your vault of private knowledge to them and get to walk away guilt free. #notyourproblemanymore #suckaaaaaaa

Duct tape your mouth

Hey—you can’t be trusted not to just spit it out, so you have to do what you have to do. Plus people will think you’re making some hip artistic political statement, so if you wear flannel and don’t wash your hair for a few extra days too, no one will even think twice about the tape.

Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you

Don’t say anything you wouldn’t be ok seeing on the front page of a newspaper, as my mom always says (literally—we get it, mom; we got it the first 25 years you said it). Because that’s how far and wide your spilled secret can spread. Especially in this age of rampant technology. So if you remind yourself that if you tell a secret you’re not supposed to, it will come back to bite you in the ass (sounds like something a priest would say to a tattletale altar boy—on so many levels), it’ll be a lot easier to close your mouth. It’s not so much that we care that the secret gets out as it is that we care that it gets back to us. Some people may call that cruel and selfish, but I prefer to think of it as strategic realism. #it’sadogeatdogworld,guys #(dodogsactuallyeateachother?) #(…hopingnot)

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