The following is a huge list.
“Are you seriously telling me to never share anything with anyone? Surely you don’t have to be that guarded, that secretive?”
Indeed. The point of this list is to simply remind you that it’s usually best not to share what’s private if you’re not sure.
People are good. People are amazing. I’m no misanthrope. What people aren’t necessarily aware of is their unconscious behavior.
The point is, sharing too much makes you more vulnerable and it won’t always be a good thing.
Is it okay to keep things private?
The question itself — the fact that so many people are now wondering if it’s fine to be a little more private — tells you there is a problem.
Of course it’s okay. And if you think it’s not, see if it was social media, or group mentality, or conformity that made you think it’s not.
Much like the moon, we all have a side we don’t wish to reveal. We may be aware of it, but don’t want others to see it.
Now, make no mistake — it’s not just your “dark side”. It’s everything that’s yours and yours alone.
Not only is it okay to keep some things private, but if you care about your mental health and inner peace, it’s basically a “rule”.
Things to keep private
You didn’t expect this, did you? Seriously though, secrets are secrets. Whether it’s your own secrets, or a friend’s.
There will always be that tempting side of you that tells you it’s okay to share a secret once in a while. It’s not. Just keep it to yourself!
2. Your past
Nothing wrong with talking about your past per se. However, it usually prevents you from becoming the best you can be.
Why? Because when you interact with people who know nothing about who you used to be, they will have no “limiting” preconceptions of you.
3. Goals and projects
Have big goals and dreams? Don’t tell anyone. I’m sure some would disagree and say it’s better to have someone who holds you accountable.
But even in that case, don’t tell the whole world! People won’t understand. If you really have to, tell someone who really gets it (e.g. because they have the same goal).
4. Things you invest time in
From projects, to hobbies, interests, etc. Not everyone will understand why and how you use your resources, including money (more on this in a sec).
Even worse, they may criticize you and say you are wasting time. But if it means something to you, why not? You don’t have to keep all your interests secret, just don’t mention how much you invest in them.
5. The glass that’s half full
A negative outlook never helps anyone achieve anything, yet some people are stuck in one and it doesn’t occur to them that they can change.
What you believe to be the truth is your truth; and you’ll tend to defend it. Don’t try to “convert” those hardcore pessimists because they’ll be too busy protecting their own limiting beliefs.
6. Your expenses/investments
Okay, let’s talk about money. This is a big one. First: don’t tell the world how much you spend/invest unless it falls into the category of “normal”.
Rather than improving their own money management skills, some will just look at others and what they perceive to be flaws or foolish decisions. Your expenses are none of their business.
7. Your monthly income
Second money-related thing to keep private: how much you earn. This is huge, too. You have no idea how people’s feelings will get in the way and make them say/think all kinds of absurdities.
For example, earn “too much” and you are doing something immoral; earn “too little” and you’re the loser who lacks discipline and has a miserable existence. I’m exaggerating it on purpose, but still.
8. Your savings
Third — the number on your bank statement is no one’s business but yours, for the same exact reason explained above.
Besides the tendency to judge, people have no idea why you may be saving (or not saving) a certain amount and even if you do share your reason why, some still won’t get it.
9. Your beliefs about money
Lastly, it’s important not to share the way you think about money unless you are clearly talking to a like-minded individual.
Money is evil. Money doesn’t buy happiness. There are so many toxic misconceptions out there and you’ll often find that it’s best to just keep your mouth shut.
10. Political views
I’ve seen it way too many times. A perfectly smooth, friendly conversation — that has nothing to do with politics — turns into the most heated argument because someone mentions a political thing.
I’ve literally seen people walk away. I’m sure you have too. It may be tempting to share your views, but if you don’t have to, it’s probably best to just never mention anything.
This is actually one of the topics of this blog. I’m more than happy to share my spiritual experience here, but I wouldn’t do the same when talking to others in general.
Not only is spirituality a very subjective thing, but some still associate the idea of it with things like religious fanaticism, misinformation on the internet, or even just being “a fool”.
12. Your love life
Your relationships are yours! Besides, sometimes it is the element of secrecy that makes a relationship so special.
Doesn’t mean it should keep it a secret, but it does mean it’s perfectly okay to not share everything about your relationships and love life.
Other things to keep private
13. Your problems
To be fair, this one depends a lot on who you are talking to. The act of asking for help, or even just getting those thoughts out of your head, with a friend you can trust can be invaluable.
However, in general, try not to share your problems because at best it will do absolutely nothing and at worst it will annoy others or project a negative image.
14. Your dark side
We all have one. We don’t necessarily have to fight against it, or pretend it doesn’t exist — that wouldn’t work, and probably wouldn’t even be healthy.
However, doing the opposite — identifying with it, and making it part of our self-image and making sure everyone can see it — would definitely be unhealthy. Keep your dark side private.
15. Your superpowers
Yes, I’m sure you have some. It could be an amazing intuition, a really cool talent, or even things like precognitive dreams or what people would call “supernatural”.
And it’s usually best to keep these things private. I mean, think about it — if you had an actual superpower, would you really tell everyone on social media?
16. The future
We are human beings. We like things like predictability and order. We dislike (or even fear) change because we realize there is always an element of effort or discomfort that comes with it.
If you’re the type that’s future oriented and you’re… ahead of your time, for lack of a better word, then perhaps you shouldn’t let everybody know about how cool the future will be.
17. Your tips/advice
Ironic, right? — I run a blog with hundreds of articles/tips, so clearly I am sharing my own thoughts and advice with the world.
What I’m referring to, though, is giving advice to those who don’t want to change. People only hear what they want to hear. So unless your message can be understood, don’t say anything, or be vague.
18. Your biggest fears
To identify your own deepest fears means to make them conscious, understand the reasons behind those fears, and ultimately make peace with them.
But don’t make the mistake of sharing them with others. A partner or close friend is probably okay. But in general, don’t be too vulnerable.
19. Your true desires
Wilde once wrote that “most people are other people”, that “their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation”.
Though it’s most people, not everyone, it still makes sense not to share all your true desires and ambitions with others because if they don’t conform they’ll think you’re crazy.
20. The cold hard truth
I’ll say it again — people only hear what they want to hear. The actual, honest, transparent truth doesn’t really appeal to the masses.
Never tell the absolute truth unless you feel you need to, because at best you won’t be understood, and at worst you may really hurt people’s feelings and you’ll be the one to blame.
21. Your unfair advantage
I’m not even competitive — I’m an INFJ, after all — but I do realize there is always some type of competition going on whether we notice it or not.
The trick isn’t to do what everyone else does, or do it better, but to focus on your own unfair advantage, uniqueness, innate skills… and keep your mouth shut.
22. Privacy itself
The last thing you want to keep private if you care about your mental wellbeing is… privacy itself, that is, the tendency not to share too much.
Some people will naturally have a desire to discover all these things about you if they realize you are a very private person. So learn to keep things to yourself… and keep it to yourself.