According to a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology earlier this year, the average person juggles 13 secrets at any given time, and the mental effects are, well, conflicting. On one hand, the researchers found that disclosing carefully guarded info can create a sense of intimacy among two people, reports Psychology Today. The authors of the analysis point out that there's "a social silver-lining of being confided to." On the other hand though, the secret can also become a burden on the other person, and eventually compromise their well-being. Meaning, you kind of just passed on your suffering as if it were a secret-induced cold.
The authors of the analysis point out that there's "a social silver-lining of being confided to." On the other hand though, the secret can also become a burden on the other person, and eventually compromise their well-being.
One study that appears in the research found that the amount of strain you cause to your confidant may depend on how close you really are to them (read: whether or not they're in the "Favorites" section of your contact list). Two hundred participants were given 2900 secrets total on the subjects of theft, trauma, infidelity, and more, and those with bestie-status reported feeling both closer and more burdened by the other's secrets at the end of the study. Plus, those who shared a larger network of friends in common felt even more weighed down by the disclosure.
So how do you go about navigating the double-edged sword of keeping and telling secrets? According to psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne, PhD, you should take time to consider the repercussions of letting loose a specific piece of intel before actually sitting down with your BFF. "Keep in mind that you are also burdening the recipient of your confession as you consider its risks and benefits," she says. If you believe the secret will ultimately bring you closer together, then bring on the Gossip Girl-style blast. But if not, keep it to yourself.
No joke: 7 friends (total!) is all you need to live you best life. But no matter the number, make sure to gas the heck out of them
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