Benefits of Sharing Secrets

eye peeking through holeEveryone has a few secrets.

In close relationships, people keep secrets because they are embarrassed or fearful of a partner’s hostility and possible rejection (see Kelly & McKillop).

Research shows that it is often in one’s interest to keep some things private, especially when romantic partners are likely to respond poorly to the truth. Being rejected, scorned, or stigmatized does not help any one work through a serious issue.

But, keeping secrets can also be harmful.

Keeping secrets often prevents people from dealing with the problem at hand. Keeping secrets leads to increased stress, anxiety, and it often makes people think about the issue (event or topic) more frequently (see Kelly & McKillop).

For instance, people who have a secret crush on someone often dwell on their feelings more than people who are able to talk about such things out in the open. Keeping secrets can make things seem more important than they really are.

Likewise, revealing secrets is very helpful when it is done right; that is, in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Revealing secrets can reduce stress, it helps people let go of an issue and think about it more clearly (see Kelly & McKillop).

If a secret is bothering you, it really does help to get it out—as long people don’t respond negatively or use the information against you.

In fact, research shows that the simple task of writing down a secret, even if no one ever reads it, makes people feel better. Writing a secret down is cathartic—it reduces stress and anxiety (see Kelly & McKillop).

With this in mind, we have created a place where people can anonymously post their secrets and see the kinds of secrets that others are keeping. Maybe you will find that letting go of one of your own secrets is helpful and not so embarrassing after all.

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