1. How intelligent you are (or aren't). Believe me, this will show through your behavior and interactions with others, and it’s best to let them figure it out themselves. Proclaim to be intelligent, and people will challenge. Admit that you aren’t very smart, and they’ll make it a hobby to take advantage of you. Let people figure out how active your grey matter is on their own.
2. That you have an emotional or mental disorder. I’m happy that the stigma that kept people from discussing and treating emotional and mental problems are falling away so they’re more willing to get help, but some people take it too far the other way and wear their diagnosis as a badge of honor. “I have depression, so don’t upset me!” is not a good thing to advertise because you just told them that you’re easily shaken. I’m not saying you have to be secretive, but there’s no need to tell the world. And besides, your goal is to successfully handle the problem so it’s no longer a hindrance in your life – not to use it as an excuse to stay the same old way or to threaten people. Trust me, this can and will be held against you outside of the medical community. Keep this knowledge confined to a small support group, and as far as the rest of the world goes, it’s none of their business.
3. How much money you have. People will make assumptions here anyway, but you don’t need to feed the beast. Besides, this is very open to misinterpretation and people will call you on it. One thing I’ve learned through the years is that “broke” is a relative term. Some people mean zero dollars in the bank. Others mean less than a hundred thousand. Be honest enough to admit that you make decisions regarding money based on personal priorities and leave it at that – because your priorities are none of their business.
4. Any more about personal problems than you absolutely must disclose. This is one that too many of us learn the hard way. We confide in someone that we’re struggling with something or somebody, and then later, once it’s resolved, they break that confidence to gain “cool points” with other people they’re trying to get in good with. People will use your problems against you, especially if they stand to gain from it – and you never know when those allegiances will shift. So don’t spill the digestive problems, they dying in-law, the back-stabbing friend, or the relative that’s having an affair to anybody outside of the people directly involved with the situation unless you absolutely must. And if you must, keep details sparse. Don’t give people an opportunity to undermine you over things you can’t help or control.
5. That you have your Concealed Weapons Permit, and you use it. People have very strong feelings about firearms, and they’ll let you know. Remember, the whole point is that it’s supposed to be concealed. So if you have an instance like we did once in a store where the clerk catches sight of your permit and screams “OH MY GOD THEY HAVE A GUN!!!” then the whole point is moot.
6. Who’s in your inner circle. I’m going to be honest and say one of those things that we never say openly (because I’m good at that): we all have some people that we like better than others. It’s inevitable; it’s human nature; and it’s going to happen. The key is that we shouldn’t play favorites as obviously as some do with their cliques and flaunting around who’s in their “in crowd.” Remember, these people are in your “inner circle” because they’ve earned more trust from you than anybody else, and they’ve proven to be loyal and that they will help and protect you. It’s your duty to return that trust by being loyal and protective to them, and one way to do that is to keep this particular realm of relationships on the “down low.” Don’t open them or others to unintended problems or issues because you can’t be discrete about who’s on the top of your “friend list.”
The truth is that we should use discernment in all of our dealings with people. The truth is that this is a very basic list and I could probably add more, but I believe these items are imperative. It’s fine to talk to people, and I’m all for open and honest communication. It is, after all, the only way to expand our networks and function properly in society. Just remember that trust is earned, and it’s often wise to err on the site of caution before granting too much, too fast. Plus, not everything is everybody’s business. Be honest: do you think other people are being a completely open book with you? The answer in 100% of the time is no.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great rest of the week.