It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.
“Researchers found that women are overcome by the desire to gossip and can typically wait no longer than 32 minutes before spilling the beans. Depending on who the gossip is about, their husband, mother or best friend are most likely to be the initial recipients of the information. The study of 3,000 women by facial skincare brand Simple found one in ten admits being unable to keep a secret – no matter how personal or confidential the news is. And 85 per cent said they relish hearing gossip from others.” (“Can You Keep a Secret, Dear? Of Course (For 32 Minutes At Least)”" ; DailyMail.co.uk, 11/14/2011)
This is not about to be a lecture in how women are gossips and untrustworthy, don’t worry. After all, I love gossip. I’m the kind of person who, ten minutes into a coversation with an old friend, will say “What’s the latest? What’s new with everyone? Give me the gossip.”
The truth is that right now there’s much less gossip in my life, simply because my friends aren’t all in one group. Gossip really thrives in cliques or networks, right? Camp gossip, school gossip, neighborhood gossip. I’m guessing when the mommy phase comes along, there will be gossip there too. But right now, I get pretty little. Sometimes I’ll ask Callie to dish the latest and she usually says: “I don’t really know! I don’t see anyone that much.” Bummer.
To see our secret keeping abilities quantified…well, it is a bit horrifying. Though personally, if I tell someone a secret and say “don’t tell anyone,” I usually expect that they will tell their spouse. I always felt like that was accepted. If I specifically don’t want the hubby to know, I articulate it.
Also, I do sometimes share secrets with my Mom, but I feel like that doesn’t count. Who’s she going to tell? (Sorry, Mom.)
Maybe the answer is to take in your secret and immediately run to the TV. One two-hour episode of Biggest Loser and you’ve basically beaten the average by four times.
I think a lot of us have learned by now which of our friends are good secret keepers and which have big mouths. I like to think I’m a decent secret keeper, though I’ll admit my skills probably vary by the level of secret. If it’s something serious and I am told absolutely not to tell anyone, I won’t. I’ll also keep it to myself if I think revealing it will hurt anyone. If it’s something more exciting, like a friend is about to propose, I’ll probably tell Matt. Or Mom. Or both.
I know, who am I to judge which secrets are worth keeping? No one, that’s who. I’m just being honest.
Overall, I like to think of myself as a trustworthy person. I would never ruin a surprise or truly betray a friend, I hope. And certainly not in 32 minutes!
Does that half-hour estimate surprise you? Do you consider yourself a good secret keeper? Be honest! We’ll keep it between us.
You know what’s not a secret? MWF Seeking BFF, the book, is out in three weeks. December 20 to be exact. Yesterday the Cincinnati library called it a “future bestseller.” You can help make that a reality! Maybe you want to:
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