Secrecy: Personal Anecdote

Lies are used and are sometimes necessary to guard secrecy from outsiders.

I have had to lie to keep a secret from resurfacing. The problem with keeping secrets is that it becomes a burden for the person that receives it. There is a constant struggle to prevent others from discovering what you know.

According to Dr. Frederick Blevens on his presentation titled “I’ve Got a Secret: The balance of concealment and revelation,” outsiders will be motivated to learn a secret by the desire to control (among other things). It is a natural instinct to achieve power and dominance.

For example, if somebody has a secret that they are keeping from you, that means they may have an advantage over you. You feel powerless and out of control. Only by learning it will you regain that control and hold the power of awareness.

I held the power by learning my best friend’s secret. I also held the burden of knowing it, along with the responsibility to keep it from outsiders. Not only did I have to keep quiet, I too had to lie in order to do protect it.

Not so long ago, my best friend had told me that he needed to go to a public notary to finish a renewal process. I offered to go with him.

He hesitated, then said yes vaguely. It didn’t take long for him to confess to me what he had been holding for almost 5 years of friendship. A few years ago, when he was 18, he was entrapped by the police. They were conducting an operation related to prostitution.

The girl posing as a prostitute, to whom my friend declined politely by saying “I would but I have to go to my friend’s” was an agent. As he turned the corner, he got stopped by police and was taken to jail. It was not until he got there that he fully understood what was going on.

He told me this because I would have seen the court documents (his case was dismissed, of course) when I went with him in the morning.

I had to turn to lying when one of our closest friends wanted to go with us. He didn’t want anybody else to know, so I had to tell her in the morning that I had a stomachache and we were going to go another day.

I felt empowered and in control. I had the advantage of knowing something not many people knew. I could even say I felt special. I was an intimate, which according to Dr. Blevens is meaningful to outsiders. I definitely had to lie to protect secrecy; it was my duty after being confided with the story.

I would also say that this situation empowered me more to a personal level. However, relationship-wise, it empowered us both, because it demonstrated trust on his side, and loyalty on mine.

On a final note, it is important to mention that secrets from others that are confided in us are just borrowed items. They are not ours to vent. There are extreme situations that may require to, but for the most time, it is necessary to keep a secret as is. Sometimes, even lies are necessary.

Good writing style, more narrative than analysis though. 




I’ve Got a Secret

Some secrets are meant to be unveiled. Especially if the person keeping it is in a position of authority or influence.

In 2014, I worked at a restaurant in North Miami Beach that I am choosing not to name for confidentiality reasons. At that said restaurant, I worked with an assistant manager who I caught embezzling money out of the cash register while we were closing shop after a long night hosting for Superbowl weekend.

My assistant manager, (we’ll call her “Ana”) often came to her shifts late and treated all of the staff like subordinates (even though we were, technically.) You can tell her disdain for the general staff by the way she treated the back cooks; shouting orders at them, rolling her eyes and saying slick comments under her breath. She was the epitome of unprofessional.

When I noticed her taking the money, I decided to turn away and mind my business. The next morning, I ran into an emergency and had to ask one of my co-workers to cover my shift. When I came in to work the next day, I was immediately met with sass by Ana: “Emergency? what were you dying of laziness, DJ?”

I took note of what she said and payed little mind. knowing the shady personality she had, I knew I’d catch her in the act again and this time I would make sure I took a video.

Earlier than expected, Ana was at it again. My plans were to use the video as leverage for a raise. As she transferred funds from the register to her designer purse, I reached for my phone. Reaching for my phone, I ruffled some papers in my purse and Ana turned around.

She immediately asked “what did you see?'” I told her, everything, obviously.” She then tried to manipulate me by telling me she never meant what she told me earlier and it was only a joke. I didn’t care. I wanted revenge for all the times she disrespected my co-workers and I. I loved the feeling of having leverage over my boss, especially a crappy one.

I told her flatly, “You’ve been doing this for a while, I already got it on camera,”I lied. “I want a raise no questions asked. Then we can both forget this ever happened.”

Saying those words made me so empowered. Being 15 years old at the time, I felt powerful having so much control over a situation– knowing I can make it or break it for the career of a 30-year-old woman who was terrible at her job.

“You got it, DJ– just don’t tell anyone I’m begging you. I have three kids at home if I lose this were on the streets.”

Surprised at how easy this was, I packed my things and walked out the restaurant. I never said a word about it until this day. The following Monday, Ms. Ana sent a very embellished email to corporate describing my “diligent work-ethic”and I got a two dollar raise.

Very good narrative but could use more connection to the concepts!



cfd dft



Keeping Secrets

By Brandon Bravo

Most of the time, keeping secrets and lying to those we care about is considered bad. However, I am here to argue that keeping secrets and lying are sometimes necessary. Plus, how they are related to each other in my story.

good thesis!

Back in high school around senior year, my group of friends invited me down to go with them to an Arcade all the way to Kendall. He offered to take everyone in his car as well. My parents were and still are very strict. They are Cuban after all and anyone with Hispanic parents will understand.

Anyway, they barely allowed me to ever leave the house back then. They never allowed me to get in any car where my friends were driving. I also knew that my parents were never going to take me to somewhere as far as Kendall.  However, I had an idea.

I knew that my friend was taking the whole group in his car. Plus, his house was close by. I told my parents I was just going to hang out with my group at my friend’s house. Reluctantly, they allowed me to go. Little did they know that I was going to be at an Arcade in Kendall.

The group of us went, all in the same car, we had a grand time at the arcade. We also ate some pizza after. We ended up back at my friend’s house at around 12:00AM. Just in time for my parents pick me up. The worst thing that happened was how I was nagged at for staying over so late. I never told them what happened because if I did, I would have lost their trust and I knew they would never allow me to do anything with my friends again.

The night at the arcade was one of the most fun times I ever had then. I know it does not sound like a big deal now, but back then, it felt like I was free that day and that all the worlds problems just didn’t exist. Like I said, back in high school, I barely did anything outside of the house. If my parents found out, they would make sure it’d never happened again. At least now that I am older, they are way less strict than they used to be.

So basically, I lied to my parents and told them that I went to a friend’s house and just chilled with my group there. I lied so I could keep the secret that I went to an Arcade in Kendall.

Like it was said in the lecture, lies and secrets are related with each other. If someone asks about a secret, the only way to keep the secret a secret is to either deflect the question or lie. In this case, I lied to protect my secret that I went out to Kendall. A secret that, if known by my parents, could have most definitely led to negative consequences that I would rather have avoided.

Good narrative but could use more connection to the concepts!

I’ve got a Secret

Samuel Morris


PID: 3759852

Team 15

Secrecy, lying, and confidentiality serve deeply interconnected roles to each other, and can be harmful or even dangerous tools to use.

Great thesis !

During my time at Southwest Miami High School, I encountered an especially difficult situation where I felt compelled to lie to my peers to protect my friend Barbara. She had confided in me that she was suffering from anxiety and depression, and told me once that the previous day she had attempted suicide by jumping into traffic on US1. Although she was relatively unharmed, it was cause for great concern and I offered to go with her to go see the school counselor about what happened. Her other friend Diana had offered as well upon hearing the news, and Barbara went with her. Because she had been a danger to herself, the counselor was forced to intervene and a police officer showed up and had her involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital.

The process of her hospitalization, evaluation, and being allowed to return to school while under outpatient care took several days. Despite there being no explicit prima facie duty to maintain secrecy, I felt obligated to nonetheless. Others tried to penetrate the secret, although I am sure they did not have malicious intentions. Both classmates and teachers began asking as to her whereabouts, and what may have happened to her. I feigned ignorance when asked about the issue. Having to maintain a facade of ignorance to the ordeal was anything but empowering for either of us. On top of the stress of everything that happened, having to stay quiet about it all felt like an additional burden to carry.

The questions from my peers were troublesome. While I appreciated their concern for her and her well being, I again felt burdened by having to feign ignorance on top of dealing with a situation that was traumatic for everyone involved.

What happened between Barbara and I demonstrated several important characteristics about lying, secrecy, and confidentiality. I intentionally concealed my knowledge of what happened with Barbara. Keeping her situation secret was important to protect against ridicule and protect her reputation of being a model student from being tarnished. Many people pass judgement towards mental health issues. Although secrecy can hurt judgement, judgement of Barbara’s situation would not have done her any good. The lies I told when I feigned ignorance of the situation guarded her secret.

What happened was a microcosm of the concept that controlling the flow of information is real power. Through my actions, I both controlled the information regarding her whereabouts as well as attempted to keep any rumors regarding her sudden disappearance at bay.

Ultimately, secrecy has the potential to hurt people, whether intended or not. This held especially true in what happened with Barbara, Diana, and I. Though there was no spoken or written agreement binding me to confidentiality, I felt I had to maintain it out of respect and to not violate her trust. In doing so, I faced extreme difficulty, and often wanted to at least divulge that she was safe to my peers.

Ever since this incident, I have trying to follow Professor Blevens’ advice. I am extremely careful about entering an agreement to maintain confidentiality.

(The names in this post have been changed to protect the students’ identities.)

Excellent writing style and good narrative. You managed to bring in the concepts while simultaneously tell a meaningful story. Good job!


48-Hour Blackout Assignment

Blair Taylor             INR3309              Professor Blevens and Professor Pearson

PID: 4809263           Team 15


48-Hour News Blackout Reflection

Thesis Statement:

After 48 hours without having direct access to the news, or access to some forms of social media in general, I’ve come to understand just how invasive the news really is in our daily lives.

I would revise this thesis statement.  Don’t use first person but rather write your statement using only the idea that the news is invasive in our daily lives.



It was quite challenging to avoid the news for 48 hours without being bombarded by other indirect sources. After removing access to news sources on my phone and laptop – including my Youtube and Facebook accounts – I slowly realized how many places promote news that never crossed my mind.

One example includes the email. Before the end of the first 24-hour mark, I found myself looking at my emails and noticing some of them were news oriented. After noticing this, I quickly shunned my email account during the entirety of the project. It was surprising to actively notice just how much news gets transmitted to emails.

Another instance included the televisions being left on in my house. Every time I would walk around the house I would have to turn the TVs off or tune them out to not cheat and hear what was being said on the news.

I also went as far as partially disconnecting myself from socializing with most of my friends. I wanted to be certain that I didn’t end up accidentally eavesdropping on any news based events that they may be discussing amongst themselves.

And although I wasn’t completely disconnected – I still talked to my girlfriend who, in return, would update me on what they were discussing that wasn’t news oriented –the effects were still apparent as I found myself wanting to talk to them more. Which in turn made me slightly realize how isolated I felt.

But this isolation was not long lived as I still made time to speak to my friends towards the end of the 48-hour mark. And prior to that moment, I did not feel much of the loneliness that Deresiewicz describes in The End of Solitude.

After reflecting on my own actions during the blackout, it could in fact be because I substituted other sources of self-entertainment to distract myself from thinking too much about my disconnection. Spending most of my time working on other assignments and projects to keep my mind busy.

Also, going back to news and its part in our everyday life, it truly is invasive. But I see this invasiveness as a good thing. Knowing that there is so many ways to ingest the news is very beneficial. It’s comforting to know that you can learn about what’s happening around us, even if it takes away the ability to be truly alone in most cases.


After noticing how I could occupy my time and mind to distract myself from thinking too deeply about the idea of being disconnected from the world’s news, loneliness was not a major issue for me. However, if it were prolonged for a longer duration than 48 hours, my views may be slightly different.

Also, knowing the news is such a major aspect of our lives is still a comforting feeling since it means we are always connected to each other.

Enjoyable essay but I would like to see more discussion about the concepts of the readings.  

48 hour News Blackout!

Emily Lago
PID# 5576983
Group: 15

Has our obsession with constantly being connected kept us from truly being alone? According to Deresiewicz, it has since our generation’s greatest fear is “anonymity.”

When I first heard about this assignment in class, I thought it should be easy.  I don’t tend to really keep track of the news that much. The only time I watch the news is at my house when it’s playing, and I rarely listen to the radio since I have music on my phone. When I began the assignment, not being connected to the news for the first few hours was not too bad. What I noticed was more of a struggle for me, was resisting the urge to scroll through my Instagram or snapchat every two minutes.

Since I knew that I couldn’t hear any kind of news for two days, I canceled my plans with my friends, I worked from home since I’m a video editor, and I told my parents not to have the news randomly playing. Having to go through two days with no information about what’s going on in the world wasn’t my biggest problem. My biggest problem was that I was getting bored fast and I couldn’t log on to any of my social media.

After the 48 hour blackout, I re-read the article “The End of Solitude” by William Deresiewicz, and really understood some of the concepts he shares. (very good thing to do!)  The problem with social media is that we get so consumed with what everyone is posting, and how to get more followers. In the first paragraph of the article Deresiewicz says, “The camera has created a culture of celebrity; the computer is creating a culture of connectivity.” Social media is what I am constantly on to pass the time, (could use semi-colon here) I’m always eager to post what I’m doing next, (also here) two independent clauses that can each stand alone as a complete sentence) ; it’s an addiction.

Deresiewicz later goes on to says, “This is what the contemporary self-wants. (no hyphen )It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible.” Social media provides what the contemporary self-wants: recognition through posting pictures and videos, connection through your followers, and visibility through being a constant on someone’s screen.

After going through this process I’ve realized that I relate to a lot of what Deresiewicz has described. It’s a little scary the need to be constantly connected, for people to know who I am, to be visible so that people can remember me.

This assignment helped me realize that I should create periods of time for myself to not always be connected to what is going on socially and focus more what is going on globally. Even though most of the time I was consumed in the thought of what was going on in social media, I also did feel a sense of emptiness,  it came from not knowing what was going on around me.

Well-written essay, good use of language, good understanding of concepts. Well-done!

The Search for Solitude

Solitude may be achieved when we first seek visibility and company with ourselves.

William Deresiewicz, author of the End of Solitude, defines both celebrity and connectivity as ways of becoming known. The camera, he says, has created the culture of celebrity, and the computer of connectivity. The merging of the two is what creates the need for visibility that contemporary society is dependent of.  on which contemporary society is dependent.

I find myself constantly fighting against the urge to turn to social media. I could be doing the most trivial of activities, those that require no other participant than me. Yet, I want to snap a picture or post a throwback. I compare it to an alternate way of shouting “Here I am!”. Then, I also look for validation, which could be a like or a comment. It is not enough to be visible, I also want to know that there is somebody “there.”

The blackout experiment forced me to pull away from that urge of being seen and accompanied.

Most of the time, I find solitude accidentally. Almost always, I forget to turn on the radio as I drive or I am unable to connect my phone to the car. During the 48-hour period that I had to myself, I had to drive approximately for six hours (back and forth to work). For the first time in a long time, sincerely, I was able to keep track of a single line of thought. (great!)

There is a big difference between a couple of minutes of accidental solitude and intended solitude. Accidental solitude is like having a short talk with somebody that is interrupted by multiple outside sources. These sources can be a text message from a group chat, or an Instagram or News notification.

Intended solitude is not even like having a talk anymore. It felt to me like an explosion of thoughts interrupted only by themselves. I could think about my own life without stopping to consider the ones of others.

However, I could never entirely isolate myself from the outside world. It is impossible because our thoughts are shaped almost entirely by it.

Other than my driving experience, I resorted to solitude by painting. Usually, I paint when I have the “time”. After the experiment, I realized that I always have time, but that I waste it in big amounts on television or social media.

Painting and reading are usually my deepest sources of solitude. Painting makes my mind a blank canvas. My thoughts leave my brain and I become just another brush.

Reading, on the other side, works like a time machine. It takes me away from the current world of all I know and puts me wherever the words in the book want to take me. After I read, I follow solitude by engaging on a mental analysis, a conversation with myself before I release it to the outside world.

Reading (more than watching) news was the gap that I couldn’t fill, just because it works for me the same way that reading a book does. It feeds the need for analysis, the need for solitude itself. I mentioned before how I couldn’t completely shut off the outside world because it is part of myself. News are a necessary intrusion from that outside world that feed the need for solitude. However, I don’t think it is the sole cause of solitude; any of my life experiences could.


Well-written and nice essay. I would like to see more about the concepts discussed in the reading and more analysis as well.