Confessions of a Control Freak: Secrets

Everybody enjoys the thrill of being a secret-keeper.

By: Abbie Goldschmid

Who doesn’t love a good secret? And who doesn’t love hearing the words, “You’re the only one that knows”? Oh, I certainly do. I desperately need my friends to trust me; otherwise, I always wonder if they really think of me as a friend. Now, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s ok for me to want to be considered trustworthy by my friends and want us to be vulnerable with each other. But as we all know, my little control freak-ness has a tendency of making a pretty good thing into one nasty problem. Secrets are no exception.

It’s not enough for my friends to build trust in me in their own time (who likes to be patient, anyway?). I will MAKE them trust me (yes, I know this is misguided). Here are just a few ways I try to get them to do this:

  1. Share all of my secrets: and by all, I mean ALL. I leave no stone unturned in my deep, dark, skeleton-filled closet. If you give me half a chance, I will be as vulnerable as possible with you (without fear of freaking you out), in the hopes that you might feel the same way about me. If I can be myself with you, you can be yourself with me.
  2.  I probe: You let on that you have a little secret to tell, I will do everything I possibly can to get it out of you. I will whine, complain, trick, manipulate…it doesn’t matter. I do what I have to do to get you to trust me (how ironic).
  3. I will guilt you: “Secrets don’t make friends.” You wanna be my friend? You better tell me your secrets.

Fortunately, after many wasted years of developing my technique, I’m finally willing to admit it: the trust I allowed to build naturally has lasted much longer than the “trust” I forced into being. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still pretty quick to share my secrets with you (and the rest of the world), but I’m working on not needing other people to tell me their biggest secrets to feel like my friendships are real. It’s rough. There are days when my curiosity just makes me want to explode in every manipulating trick I know, but we’re working on it. And it might even follow that people feel a bit more comfortable telling me their secrets when they aren’t manipulated…hmm, I suppose it’s possible. Eh, control freak problems.

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