24 Things You Should Always Keep Secret

At an age when sharing is just a click away, the distinction between what’s private and what’s public has never been more blurred. However, oversharing can lead to unintended consequences ranging from privacy breaches to personal security risks.

Here’s a list of 24 personal things you should think twice before sharing with anyone and why keeping them to yourself is often the best course of action.

1. Passwords

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Passwords are the first defense against unauthorized access to your personal and financial accounts. Sharing them can expose you to risks like identity theft, financial loss, and unauthorized access to your social media profiles.

Always opt for strong, unique passwords and consider using a password manager to enhance security without the need to share.

2. Financial Information

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Your financial details, such as bank accounts, credit card numbers, and investment details, are gateways to your financial life. Sharing this information can lead to unauthorized transactions, identity theft, and financial loss.

Be cautious of phishing scams and only share financial information over secure channels when absolutely necessary.

3. Work Documents

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Confidential work documents contain sensitive information critical to your company’s success and competitive edge. Unauthorized sharing can lead to legal repercussions, job loss, and damage to your company’s reputation.

Always adhere to your company’s policy on information sharing and confidentiality.

4. Personal Disputes

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Disputes and disagreements are part of personal and professional relationships. Broadcasting these issues can escalate conflicts, damage relationships, and tarnish your reputation.

Handling disputes privately allows for resolution without external biases.

5. Medical History

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Your medical history includes sensitive information that could be used to discriminate against you in employment, insurance, and other areas. Sharing it broadly could also compromise your privacy.

Share medical details only with healthcare providers or when necessary for legal or medical reasons.

6. Personal Photos & Videos

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Sensitive or personal photos and videos can be misused if shared indiscriminately, leading to blackmail, cyberbullying, or reputation damage.

Exercise caution about what you share and with whom, particularly on social media.

7. Home Address

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Revealing your home address can compromise your personal safety and security. It makes you vulnerable to stalking, burglary, and unsolicited visits.

Share your address only with trusted individuals and for necessary purposes.

8. Future Travel Plans

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Announcing travel plans publicly can make your home a target for burglary. It also signals when you’ll be unreachable, potentially leading to an increased risk of fraud.

Keep travel details private or share them only with close contacts.

9. Identity Documents

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Identity documents, such as your passport or driver’s license, are key to verifying your identity. Sharing these documents or their numbers can lead to identity theft and fraud.

Only provide copies or details for official and verified purposes.

10. Private Conversations

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Private communications, whether through email, direct messages, or social media, are intended for the recipient’s eyes only. Sharing them without permission breaches trust and privacy, potentially leading to legal repercussions, especially if the content is sensitive or confidential.

Additionally, such actions can damage relationships, lead to misunderstandings, and erode trust among your peers, as they may fear their private communications with you could also be disclosed.

11. Personal Goals

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While sharing goals can be motivating, it can also set you up for undue pressure, disappointment, or jealousy from others. Sharing goals with a mentor or in a supportive environment focused on accountability is often more productive.

12. Family Issues

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Family issues are delicate and can be misinterpreted when shared outside the family circle. External involvement can complicate matters, and public knowledge can strain relationships further.

13. Relationship Status

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Changes in your relationship status can attract unsolicited advice, gossip, and judgment. Keeping details of your romantic life private allows you to navigate changes with dignity and without external pressure.

14. Personal Beliefs

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Personal beliefs about religion, politics, and other sensitive topics can lead to polarized discussions and conflicts. While it’s important to have open discussions, consider the context and audience to avoid unnecessary disputes.

15. Salary Information

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Discussing salary can create workplace tension, jealousy, and discomfort. It may also impact negotiations and perceptions of fairness. Discuss salary in the context of professional growth and negotiation strategies rather than sharing specifics.

16. Gift Preferences

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Discussing gift preferences can sometimes create awkward situations. If your preferences are expensive or specific, it may put undue pressure on friends or family to meet those expectations, leading to potential financial stress or feelings of inadequacy.

It’s more gracious and considerate to accept gifts with gratitude, irrespective of their alignment with your personal wishes, unless you’re specifically asked for your preferences.

17. Personal Diaries or Journals

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Diaries and journals are often repositories of your most private thoughts, fears, dreams, and reflections. They can include unfiltered emotions and observations that you might not be ready to share with the world.

Revealing the contents can expose you to misinterpretation, judgment, or exploitation. Moreover, these reflections can involve other people, potentially breaching their privacy and trust by sharing personal interactions or confidences without their consent.

18. Legal Issues

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Legal matters, whether they involve civil disputes, criminal charges, or family law issues, are inherently sensitive and complex. Sharing details about ongoing legal matters can not only prejudice the case but also alter public perception, potentially affecting the outcome and your relationships.

Furthermore, legal strategies and discussions are confidential for a reason; disclosing them can undermine your position and give adversaries an unintended advantage.

19. Security Measures

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Discussing the specifics of your home or digital security measures can inadvertently provide a roadmap for circumventing them. Whether it’s revealing the make of your alarm system, the presence of surveillance cameras, or the types of locks you use, such information can be gold for someone with malicious intent.

Similarly, detailing the protections you use for online accounts can make it easier for hackers to tailor phishing attacks or guess passwords.

20. Philanthropic Donations

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While sharing your charitable contributions can inspire others to give, it can also be perceived as self-congratulatory or virtue-signaling, especially if the emphasis is on the amount given or the prestige of the cause. This can detract from the act’s genuine altruism.

Additionally, it might attract unwarranted requests for donations or financial support from others. Keeping your philanthropy private maintains the focus on the cause rather than on the donor.

21. Internet History

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Your internet browsing history is a personal ledger of your interests, concerns, and curiosities.

Sharing this data can lead to privacy breaches, with marketers using the information to target you aggressively. Moreover, certain searches may be taken out of context, leading to embarrassment or misinterpretation of your character or intentions.

Protecting your internet history also guards against potential cyber threats, as it can reveal security weaknesses or patterns that hackers could exploit.

22. Personal Challenges

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While sharing personal challenges with a trusted friend or therapist can provide relief and support, broadcasting these issues more widely may not always be beneficial. It can open the door to judgment, unsolicited advice, and sometimes even schadenfreude from others.

Furthermore, public acknowledgment of personal struggles may impact professional relationships or future opportunities, as perceptions of reliability or stability could be influenced.

23. Innermost Fears

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Sharing your deepest fears can make you vulnerable to manipulation or ridicule. In intimate relationships, such vulnerability can lead to closeness, but in wider circles, it may weaken your perceived strength or resolve.

It’s crucial to share such sensitive information with individuals who respect your confidentiality and are supportive rather than with those who might use this knowledge against you in personal, professional, or social contexts.

24. Childhood Stories

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Childhood stories can be charming, but they can also reveal vulnerabilities or aspects of your past that you prefer to keep private. While seemingly innocuous, stories of hardship, embarrassment, or mischief can be used to form judgments or stereotypes about you.

In professional contexts, such revelations might undermine your authority or credibility. Choose the stories you share and the audience carefully, ensuring they reflect the image you wish to project.

The digital age has made sharing easier than ever, yet it’s crucial to navigate this landscape with caution and discretion. The information you choose to keep private can often be as important as the information you choose to share, influencing your relationships, personal security, and professional reputation.

Always consider the potential implications of sharing personal details, erring on the side of privacy when in doubt.

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.