Rule #133 : Tell no one – Debbie Wasserman Shultz Rule
Rarely does life show such a clear example of one of our family rules. I felt since she went to such great lengths to show what not to do, the rule has to be named after her- so thank you Debbie for such a stunning example of what not to do
Let’s talk about secrets- everyone has them some small, some large- things about our lives that we basically want to keep private. It may be something as significant as a past crime in a misspent youth, or something as trivial as dying the gray out of your hair, but it is something you want to keep private. You don’t want the world to know, you want it to remain something your keep to yourself.
The first rule of keeping your secrets safe is to tell no one. This is the safest and guidance to follow, and the one that absolutely guaranteed to never fail. If this is something about you that you do not want known, do not share it. Don’t share it with your wife, your trusted life long friend, you parents or priest- keep your month shut and it will remain a secret. A secret can only be exposed by telling someone else.
The second rule of secrets is that if you can’t follow the first rule only tell one person. If you need this second rule you have already failed at keeping the secret, but if you feel a absolute undeniable need to tell someone else- limit it to one trusted friend. But know in doing so it is now likely that your secret will at sometime will be disclosed.
People don’t intentionally violate secrets, but they too have their one trusted friend that they may share something with that is personal to you. People tend to become more careless with other people’s secrets turning them into gossip or stories- sometimes by accident and sometimes on purpose. People aren’t built to keep secrets or they would be born mute. The ability to communicate has been a weakness in human secret keeping.
Personally I tell my secrets to my dog Nittany. Unlike my other dog Piper who is a gossipy bitch, Nittany knows how to keep a secret and can’t be bribed by peanut butter or walks. Piper would give me up for an old milkbone and table scraps. Even dogs can’t be fully trusted.
The third rule of secrets is there is no third rule.
Telling more than one person makes it no longer a secret and you should assume that the whole world will eventually know.
Debbie pointed out in her actions the third rule also means you don’t write down, record even in code the secret. And above all be sure never, ever to email anyone your secret. Emails, even on private and secure servers are no more safe than writing messages on billboards on Broadway. Communicating confidential information by emails is just telling the world that you are stupid. Do not use email to communicate secrets.
Bill Clinton has lead a life of loving women, some he was even married to at the time. But I have to admire his ability to avoid using emails and text. He claims he has only send two emails in his entire life, and for his lifestyle that is probably the right amount. I would trust Bill with keeping a secret, especially his own. This is a mark of a two term president.
If for some reason you did not follow rules one or two, and your secret is now exposed there are two directions to take and you must quickly chose one or the other and not both. Option one is to deny. If you have assessed the situation and followed rule one there should be no one that can collaborate the story and your truth is as good as anyone else’s. Deny, and continue to deny until people get tried and go away. They will eventually go away.
The second option is what I call “so what”. So what that I lied, so what that I cheated on taxes , it is all in the past, and the past is the past and none of it matters. Of course it does really matter, and actions have consequences but the “so what” defense plays on the fact that everyone carrier some degree of guilt. Pretending that its all meaningless dredging up of the past is a good way of deflecting a secret that has come into the light.
The one thing you can’t do is blame it on someone else. Debbie’s , ” its the Russians fault” will fail because it is obvious to everyone that you had lied, got caught and now want to blame it on someone else. It didn’t work when you tried to get out of trouble by blaming your big brother for a larger crime, and it won’t work now. Boogiemen are rare in this age, and no matter how the truth got out pretending its someone else’s fault make you look like a bigger liar.
Debbie’s emails should be a reminder to all of us that something’s are best unsaid and to kept a secret. Good luck Debbie, I think its going to be a very long week for you.