How Many Secrets You Keep May Surprise Most

by Jack Dennis

Do you want to know a secret?

No one knows that…

A scientific study of 13,000 real life secrets found the average person has 13 secrets.

Most have been keeping quiet about them for at least 15 years. It’s human nature to keep secrets and tell little white lies, but until recently most people didn’t know that most people have as least one major secret they don’t want anyone to find out about. In fact, the average person has five of which they’ve never told another person.

When alone, people spend a great deal of mental energy just thinking about their secrets, according to Michael Slepian, a professor at Columbia Business School.

“People have this curious way of talking about secrets as laying them down or unburdening them,” said  Michael Slepian, the lead researcher from the management group.  “We found that when people were thinking about their secrets, they actually acted as if they were burdened by physical weight. It seems to have this powerful effect even when they’re not hiding a secret in the moment.”

We all have secrets.

The researchers were able to summarize the 13,000 secrets into common categories that involved things like drug use, harming someone, telling a lie, theft, violating someone’s trust, sexual infidelity, a secret hobby, and sexual orientation..

Among their findings:

60% chance a secret involves a lie or financial impropriety.

47% of secrets involves a violation of trust.

33% chance that it involves a theft, a hidden relationship, or discontent at work.

A separate UK study said at least 60 percent of Brits have a secret they dread friends or family finding out about. Secrets are wide ranging and include affairs, secret children, unknown marriages, shoplifting, getting caught drinking while driving, bed wetting, getting someone fired, debt, sexual turn-ons and phobias they’ve never shared.

Only 26 percent of those surveyed believed their partner would support them still if they did discover the secret.

Some of the most common secrets include:

  1. Having an affair
  2. An embarrassing incident
  3. Internet history
  4. Debt
  5. Sexual turn-ons
  6. Family history
  7. Phobia
  8. Purchases
  9. You smoke/used to smoke
  10. Real-life crushes
  11. Addiction
  12. You take drugs/used to take drugs
  13. Bank/credit card statements
  14. Age
  15. A criminal past
  16. Illness or condition
  17. Previous marriage(s)
  18. Pretending to like something/someone you loath
  19. Sexual orientation
  20. Tattoo
  21. Secret children
  22. Sexually transmitted disease
  23. Sexting/Snapchat
  24. Education/exam grades
  25. Pretending to be good at something

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