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

Attitude Experience Happiness Health and Wellness T.R.A.S.H. Trivial Revelations Wisdom and Cleverness

Texans Jack & Dodie View All →

Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Space Explorers
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.

As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.

He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.

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