The Effects of Swearing Secrecy

The phrase used by journalists “the public has the right to know,” is not valid in all scenarios. In the case of disclosure of personal information, people are sensitive about it. That’s where it lies the importance of secrecy and our word to keep such secrets.

However, there are cases where “prima facie duty of confidentiality” can be conflicting. An example based on my personal experience, was when one of my closest male friends liked a girl I knew from high school. I tried to help my friend by putting a good word for him with her. After a while, they started dating. She asked me to keep the secret and even considering that we were not close friends, I accepted.

There’s something about learning a secret that makes people feel important. Even if they are not close with the person who holds the secret, the human curiosity makes you want to know about it. It also allows people to feel that they belong and have an intimate bond with someone, as it was in the case with me and this girl. Even if it meant that knowing the secret might put my moral judgement in jeopardy.

She revealed, that she never had feelings for him as more than a friend, but she was giving him the chance to date her since she considered him a good person. That situation put me in an uncomfortable position because I gave her my word that I wouldn’t tell the secret and if I tell him I would be disloyal to her. But at the same time, If I didn’t tell him I would be a bad friend and it meant I support her decision to play with his feelings. Other people, like my boyfriend and friends, who noticed I was upset and knew something was going on, tried to penetrate the secret. I still didn’t disclose the information with anyone.  Having this information and not being able to do much about it such as, ask someone for advice, caused me anxiety. However, after giving it a lot of thought, I decided to do what I considered was morally adequate. Without disclosing the information to my friend, I advise him to take the relationship slowly and not commit without being sure of her feelings. In this situation, the girl was the one empowered with the information because she put my word and my friendship on the line for knowing the secret.

When she finally decided to tell him how she felt, they broke up and I was able to tell him the truth. I felt relieved, since I no longer had to carry that burden of information. He didn’t get mad at me because even if I didn’t disclose the information to him, I still indirectly warned him about it.




Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: