Go on, unburden yourself: I’m here

I HAVE a failing.

Well, I have many failings ... zillions of them ... but for the moment, I'm prepared to tell you of this one only.

I have never been able to hold information to myself, especially when I have been told to do exactly that.

The moment I know something even remotely gossipy, I feel compelled to tell others.

It's an affliction I wouldn't wish on you.

The only way I can live peacefully with it is to ask people not to tell me their stuff.

Say the words, "This is confidential", to me and I immediately go into a sweat-soaked dilemma.

Never say to me, "This must go no further", because I will take it as far as I can.

Do not utter the phrase, "This is just between you and me". It will ignite a bushfire in me that will rage out of control.

Finally, never look me in the eye, lower your voice, and whisper: "I'm going to tell you something I've never told anyone before." That's gold to the non-secret keeper. Your long-buried information will immediately go out far and wide.

Holding on tight-lipped to peppery gossip is a waste of time. What's the use if you can't tell others?

Yet I do admire the disciplined person who can stay quiet when there is much to tell. You have my admiration because keeping secrets is agonising.

To my despair, I often catch myself murmuring sotto voce to someone: "Now look, I've been told not tell you this which means I'm immediately going to tell you."

Imagine if I held a secret vital to a nation and I was kidnapped by enemies?

My interrogators would have no need to even hint at torture to prise it from me.

They may lock me up and before they could even approach with a grim look and pair of nail-pulling pliers, I'd be asking them to lean in closer so I could whisper my secrets in their ears.

"Anything more you'd like to know? You can put the pliers away."

However, before you think too badly of me, one thing I have never done and will never do, is pass on something that would hurt someone.

There is a difference between being bad at keeping secrets and spreading nasty gossip.

Spiteful tittle-tattle repeated is hurtful and the tittle who tattled has no place in my world.

Keep that a secret, if you will.

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