There’s nothing wrong with setting lofty goals; in fact, it’s the best way to achieve them, or the best way to achieve something close to those goals. All aspects of life rarely turn out precisely as planned—and this is why it is wise to keep most of your lofty goals to yourself. If you’ve decided on a goal and shared it with other people, it’s quite possible that you’ll feel obligated to pursue it even if you later realize it’s not really a good idea (or not the best idea). You’re far better off keeping your options open so you don’t have to worry about explaining every time your goals change or need to be modified. Instead, share ideas for goals with other people, and keep specific major goals to yourself.
It’s easy to realize why you should keep your own drama to yourself if you have any friends or family members who openly and gladly share their own personal drama with you. Sometimes it does feel better to “get it off your chest” by confiding in someone of venting to someone, but oftentimes just having a conversation with a friend or family member is enough to lighten the load—articulating the specific dramas themselves usually isn’t required. What’s more, everyone has enough of their own personal, internal drama in their lives as it is.
Again, it’s easiest to see why keeping family drama to yourself is a good idea if you know other people who often share their own family drama with you. However, it’s even more vital to keep this type of drama to yourself because sometimes you lose friends and gain others—but you’re pretty much stuck with your family forever. There’s an even better chance that sharing family drama will come back to embarrass you, irritate you, or inconvenience you in some other way in the future.
It’s sometimes tempting to reveal personal acts of selflessness (especially when doing so could benefit you in some way), but an action is only selfless when you make it without expecting anything back in return. So, if you reveal your actions unnecessarily—especially to benefit yourself—then your selfless acts will actually become more neutral (or even selfish.) Besides, if you generally do a lot of civic or public good, most people will find out naturally anyway (eventually).
This one should go without saying, but just in case it doesn’t, here it is. If someone asks about your belongings for some reason or if the topic just happens to come up in conversation, then of course it would be rude not to be honest. But if you’re the one bringing the topic up or being boastful in general, it will usually do you more harm than good.
Wages and Savings
It can be tempting to try to impress someone by telling them how much money you’ve made or how much money you’ve saved, but doing so frequently comes with unforeseen consequences: more people will ask you to pick-up checks, more people will ask you for loans, and you could even end up making yourself a target for theft. Plus, it can easily be perceived as boasting (which it could very well be anyway, depending on the situation).
“Isn’t privacy about keeping taboos in their place?”—Kate Millett
“I love my garden. I love my privacy. I’m very fierce about it. I try not to let too many people into my home. That’s my private place.”—Julie Andrews
Intimate Ideas or Feelings
“I have a very good sense of tone, and it’s possible to talk about very personal things and maintain a level of dignity and even privacy—to go to the place, to talk about it, but not get icky.”—Jane Pauley
Personal Digital Info
“Historically, privacy was almost implicit, because it was hard to find and gather information. But in the digital world, whether it’s digital cameras or satellites or just what you click on, we need to have more explicit rules—not just for governments but for private companies.”—Bill Gates
Disregard For Privacy
“I think we’re seeing privacy diminish, not by laws . . . but by young people who don’t seem to value their privacy.”—Alan Dershowitz