It's no secret that gossiping is fun — especially if you're bonding with someone over something (or someone) you both hate. It can be irresistible to pass on something juicy that you've heard or found out about someone, even if you know you shouldn't. And, it turns out, it's not a lack of willpower that makes it so tempting to blab.
Kate Stewart, a psychotherapist and dating coach, says that the more effort someone puts into asking you not to tell someone something, the harder it is to keep that secret.
"The more interesting a piece of gossip is, and the more specific someone is about who not to tell, the harder it is not to say anything," she says. "It’s like you have a really amazing gift to give to someone for their birthday. You’d be so excited, you’d have a hard time not giving them that gift early."
And if you're in a relationship, it can be especially difficult not to tell your partner when you learn something about a friend, whether or not that friend is mutual. Stewart says that just by virtue of spending so much time with your partner (or time talking to them, if you're long-distance), it can be hard for gossip not to come up in casual conversation.
But unless they're super-chill — and sometimes even then — your friends might not like that everything they're telling you is making it's way to someone else. Not to mention gossiping about a friend can also have repercussions on your relationship with your partner, too.
If you tell your partner all their secrets, your partner may not like your friend anymore — and that may be difficult in your relationship.
Kate Stewart, dating coach
"If you tell your partner all their secrets, your partner may not like your friend anymore — and that may be difficult in your relationship," Stewart says.
Plus, if word somehow gets back to your friend that you let a particularly egregious secret "slip," like that they cheated on their partner, or still use comic sans font in the year 2018, it could cause a huge rift.
If you're really able to make sure that the gossip more or less stays contained, it's probably harmless, but if you know yourself, and know that you have the tendency to be a chatterbox about other people's personal lives, it might be the kind thing to be upfront.
"If you're aware [of yourself], you might say something like 'don't tell me anything I'm not supposed to tell anyone, because I'm chatty and will tell someone,'" Stewart says.
So while it probably isn't the worst thing in the world to tell your partner about a harmless secret — like your friend puking after a drunken night — but it's a good idea to weigh the consequences. How mad would your friend be if they ever found out their secret was no longer really between the two of you?