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    By nature we are very private pple. Many times it happens that family and friends will get hurt by finding out info about me “from the streets”.

    Example: when I got engaged I did not tell a soul, not even my siblings, until the day of the L’chaim. This way my dating was pressure free. I have a rosh yeshiva that i discussed it with and that was that.

    Another example, we recently signed on a house and decided not to tell anyone in order not to cause jealousy. We are renting it out till we need to move in. The renters told a friend of mine that they are renting from us, and she really exploded saying she tells me everything…

    WHat can we do to maintain privacy and not let others get hurt at the same time.

    anon for this

    I understand preferring privacy, because I often feel the same way. But it may be a good idea to be sure share information about significant milestones with relatives and close friends before they’re likely to hear about it from someone else.


    A person after my own heart. I, too am an extremely private person and loathe gossip or idle chat about myself, my family or anything to do with me and my life.

    Any dating within my family stsys private until there is a mazal tov, likewise with regards to any other ‘news’ people feel we should share.

    Keep your dignity and just continue as you are. People will get the message or when you are approached or reproached by someone just stand firm and say something along the lines of, “Sorry we didn’t tell /discuss this with you, but you know what we are like; we don’t discuss anything with anyone. Please don’t take offence.” Don’t elaborate. If you keep it short and polite no-one will be offended.

    By the way rgarding dating, I do not like it when guys and girls gossip about who’s dating who and who they are going out with / went out with. Dating is private and should be kept that way. I now await an avalanche of people who will disagree with me.

    Ditto regarding the purchase of a house or renting it out. Why should you discuss your private affairs with people? This is pure ‘yentarei’.


    nobody, i agree with you 99% but what about those ppl who expect you to share everything about your life with them but then dont share anything about them?


    KeepinE. I have no problem with people who share things with me. On the contrary they know what they tell me certainly won’t go further! I think I am more respected for being a private person than a gossip and those who ‘expect’ me to relay everythng or anything about my life soon get the drift albeit in a most courteous manner!


    I am also a very private person and have a sister who is the exact opposite! She shares everything! We can run into problems when she expects me to share things with her that she would with me. Personally, I am not really interested in all the things she tells me and would prefer that she keeps it to herself! I am not really sure what the solution is. I think she is starting to realize that we are just different.

    In general when you decide to “go public” on an issue, make sure to tell everyone who you know would expect to be told. If you are still keeping something private, and you don’t tell anyone, no one can decide for you that you have to tell. Also please realize that you cannot try to hide something that is impossible to keep a secret so people might be hurt by such things too.

    In general, I think you have to try to do whatever possible not to hurt people but you still have to live your life the way you feel is right.


    Privacy is one thing, being afraid to tell people significant things in your life is quite another. Not telling your immediate family you were getting engaged is a little unusual. I respect your right to do that, but that would NEVER fly in my family. Some people take their right to privacy a little far at times.

    I totally understand that people have a right to keep their medical conditions to themselves, if they so desire. I also get that some people are TOO FREE in sahring intimate, eprsonal information with people who a) are not interested and b) probably should not knwo these things about them. If someone does that, tell them you are uncomfortable with the line of conversation, that you feel it is a little personal, and change the subject. Understand, though, that sometimes people need to vent, so if you don’t want to be the captive audience make your excuses and end the conversation.

    I have had a lot of people tell me some very personal things because they know it goes no further than my ears, and I am a sympathetic listener. Once in a great while, I even have some good advice to dispense (I try not to it too often, though, LOL). As to people who are so open with you that they expect quid pro quo from your end, well, you are not responsible for what someone else thinks. You can share or not share your personal life stuff with them. Make no apologies. If they say something, so you tell them you appreciate that they are so comfortable with being so open with you, but while you value their friendship, you are more introspective, and it is nothing personal.


    I didn’t tell anyone when my husband and I were dating. I finally told my sister about 6 months later and then my mother about 3 months after that. We didnt go “public” until well over a year after we started dating. We didn’t tell any of our mutual college friends until after we were engaged. We figured if we broke up, it would destroy our close knit cirle if they had to choose sides, so we kept it private (and let me tell you it was funny when the Chabad Rabbi asked me if he could set me up with my husband LOL).

    When we went public we went whole hog (is that ok to say on YWN?) and made sure everyone knew. Its always tough to insult people but ultimately you need to do what is best for you. Maybe reexamine situations to see the good/harm that can be caused by telling or withholding information. Sometimes, I tell people earlier than I want because I do not want to offend them and I think they will be hurt more than I want my privacy.

    Good luck. This is always tough.


    I think everyone has secrets that, deep down inside, they do not want others to know about. There is a problem that people want to know what is going on in other’s lives without the realization that it might not be appropriate or appreciated if it was to be leaked to the public. If one has a friend that they are close to, it might be better to tell them in advance of the general public. ie: they are the first people you call after family when it comes to a mazel tov. That way the secret-holder can keep their privacy without the friend having harsh feelings.

    Realize what should be kept a secret and what should not. Know that sometimes one needs to break the confidence of another in order to spare them harm. Someone who knows that their friend is about to be engaged to a boy/girl who has a recognized medical issue (fact and not maybe- medical or psychological) should tell their friend, once asking a competent Rav about hilchos lashan hara. Once someone is officially engaged, it becomes harder to spare them from the agony of marrying a psychotic or otherwise ill person.


    I was always a very blabbery type, sharing things i maybe shouldnt have. But i guess that was my personality. My family is very close and the type where everyone knows everything about everyone. Then I got married, and had a culture shock with my husbands family. They are a small family and everything is a huge secret. SOmetimes it gets very annoying, but I’ve learnt that not everything has to be shared. I was dissappointed when I wanted to tell certain things to my family and my husband didnt want. I am much more private now, which some of my siblings resent since its not the way my family is. But I do believe there has to be a happy medium, and many things just dont belong for e/o to know.


    There are good reasons for keeping quiet when dating including, gossip, unwanted opinions, Eyein Horoh, and tznius (none of the above in any special order)

    It is possible in a more open environment where people date for a length of time it may become known but in circles of strict shidduch dating lasting no more than several weeks it is not the accepted form to discuss with anyone. However I fully respect those are happy for people to know their dating/shidduch status.

    In the same manner I respect those who do discuss everything with everyone but repsect must be given for those who prefer otherwise.


    i’m having a little hard time with this one. maybe someone can set me straight. we are a pretty close family. we all have ups and downs and want to be there for each other. i have one sibling that EVERYTHING is a secret by her. this is going on for years and we have accepted it. but WHY? i’m not talking about very pesonal stuff like the kids dating etc. i can understand that. but when she gets something new in the house, she NEVER, EVER, will tell anyone. why? we really would be so happy for her, but nada. we were speaking quite often at one point. i know she was going through a hard time with one of her children. she ended up sending this child to the states to learn and thank g-d she is doing quite well. but WHY couldn’t she call me and tell me? i was davening for this child. i was worried about this sibling also, how she was doing etc. but i found out cause my MOTHER told me. my sibling couldn’t call? she didn’t know i wasn’t worried. till this day she hasn’t said anything to us. why does this have to be a secret? i know what you are all saying now — i’m probably a yenta and i bud into everyone’s buisness. but really, i’m a quiet person by nature and i really don’t speak about this topic with my other siblings. it just hurts. i accept her for who she is , but it hurts and maybe someone can help me here.if i didn’t care about this sibling, it probably wouldn’t matter to me. but i do care and i just wanted to be there for her. now youre gonna say- ok, so she doesn’t need you. and that hurts.that is where i think my hurt comes in. the thought that she doesn’t need me. sorry guys, if i made this too heavy for you. just my thoughts and thanx for listening.


    amichai, Honestly, I can really sympathize since I see both sides, from my familiy’s perspective and from my hunsband’s family. I think think that some of my sister in laws enjoy giving the impression that by them everything is rosey and dandy. they dont want anyone knowing that they are going through a hard time, thinking “what can she do for me anyways…, it wont help if she knows or doesnt…”

    Its really partly a personality,partly a mentality, or just a diff train of thought. I learnt to live with it, and even sometimes respect it.


    Amichai, maybe discuss the situation with her. Maybe she didnt realize that it hurt you? Everyone is allowed a certain amount of privacy, but IMHO there are certain things that you really should tell your family on your own. SHe might be more sensitive to it if you can really explain why it bothers you.


    Everyone is different, some people such as myself are very outgoing people that love to share stories etc but some people are extremely secretive not even telling you where they bought a suit from. Everyone is different- FACT!!!


    for a little armchair psychology….Sometimes, people just do not know how to bring up information or talk about it. They are afraid what other people might think. “They think I am a bad parent”, “where did I go wrong/ make a mistake” or other similar thoughts that put the blame on the person. I do not think that your sister does not need you but she might not know how to express her feelings and issues with you. She seems to be introverted and not know how to release the feelings, even though she may really want to. I know that sometimes when something is going wrong or someone has a problem, they are worried that people may judge them, categorize them, or be prejudice against the other people in the family. For example, if someone is facing a divorce, while family members might feel the need to talk this over with their siblings, they are afraid that now the other siblings have the black mark of a “divorced sibling” and therefore not find shiduchim. They are trying to protect their family, even though people already know. Or they could not know how to bring this up. How do you bring up a “crises” in a normal conversation?


    100% with you on this one. My wife and I met in Israel and were going to become officially engaged in NY (after she came to meet my parents). Prior to leaving Israel, we had a small l’chaim. Someone heard about the l’chaim, called his mother in NY to say what was going on. She turned a called all of my friends and my parents friends to say I was engaged. She truly robbed my mother. This absolutely devastated my mother as she felt that she was not allowed to meet my wife before we got engaged. Did we do anything wrong, no. Were we engaged, no. She just decided to spread the news too soon, for no reason other than she knew something others did not.


    Amichai, I’m not sure if this will help you but I think I understand your sister. I come from a close family too and I speak to my siblings quite often but I have a hard time telling people – even my sister whom I’m close with, personal things that are going on in my life. Sometimes people are close but they like to keep personal boundaries that they won’t allow others to cross. I’m not sure if it’s some type of personal “protection” or what. Same with friends, I’ll talk, listen to their issues but I just don’t like to spill my heart to anybody. I just like to keep my problems to myself. Not everybody likes to discuss personal things, be it health, relationships, problems with children or other personal issues even with people who are close to them. It’s hard for some people to speak about certain subjects and maybe your niece/nephew was one of those topics with your sister. You could mention to her that you were a little upset to find out that way but don’t push it. She may just need to deal with her issues herself. Everybody’s different and that just may be the way she is.


    Have some seichel, “I know that sometimes when something is going wrong or someone has a problem, they are worried that people may judge them, categorize them, or be prejudice against the other people in the family.”



    thanx for the talkbacks. i really appreciate it.


    JayMatt, I completely feel and sympathize with what happened. I just don’t understand how you were not engaged if you had a (small) l’chayim already.


    Joseph- that is not the point here. The main issue is that someone spread information that was meant to be private and thus destroyed a familial relationship. People should be aware not to spread information that is not meant to be public. If you happen to find out- do not pass it on without the person’s approval. But a word of caution: in some cases, it is best not to tell the person that you know, as then they might believe that the whole city knows their secret. In these cases, remaining silent might be the best option.


    >>JayMatt, I completely feel and sympathize with what happened. I just don’t understand how you were not engaged if you had a (small) l’chayim already.<<

    I was not keeping a secret from my family. We wanted to give my mom the kavod of meeting her before becoming officially engaged, but also wanted a tiny celebration with my mother-in-law prior to departing to the USA (I was departing a week earlier than my wife). It wasn’t an easy juggle, but we tried. Only to have this random woman call everyone, even a close friend of mine.


    JayMatt19: wow that had to be hard on your mom!!!! crazy that a random woman call ed everyone, even a close friend of yours!!!


    The funniest part was this friend screamed at this woman “It isn’t true, how dare you spread rumors…etc”

    And no, he was not offended, he understood why I did not call him, and why we were keeping things hush.


    We are not overly private pple, and in my family things can usually be kept a secret even when the children know. But, when it came to buying a house though $$$ was tight, we had saved for years thus able to afford it. So this we kept a big secret not wanting anyone to know, thinking we have spare money that we really didn’t. We closed, and it was a big secret. We had in mind to rent the apt for a bit to help with mortgage. we were lucky to find a couple that we didnt know and felt comfortable that no one would find out. GUESS WHAT? It didnt take more than a week until I got at least 3 phone calls from friends congratulating me. My own married children didnt know, and were quite shocked (one daughter heard from her father in law, how did he know?!)!

    Moral of the story – keeping a secret is very very tough. As soon as outsiders get involved in any secret, be prepared to tell those close to u. THEY ARE GOING TO FIND OUT FROM SOMEONE ELSE AND CHANCES ARE THEY WILL BE HURT!


    Amichai, please don’t think badly of your sister – people deal with their lives in different ways and we all cope differently – some by talking some by staying closed up. I’m sure your sister appreciates you in every way, more than you’ll ever know and even more so because you don’t harrass her for information! Carry on caring and try not to be too hard on her.

    Joseph you can make a l’chaim between the couple and wait until all family are told before going public. A l’chaim is a committment to the ‘deal’, not necessarily a formal engagement. Some couples do this until their parents or near ones can be personally informed.

    Jaymatt19 – please rest assured that once the initial shock was over your mother was as happy as anything possible and all is now forgotten


    “Secrets, if told to three people, can be kept secrets as long as 2 of them are dead…”

    It is a very apropos quote…. but I forgot where I heard it from. If one wants to keep something a secret, then it is best not to tell anyone. But once again,the moral of the story is, if you know something that might be a secret, do not pass it on!


    havesomeseichel – this is a quote from bejamin Franklin and very trueit is indeed!


    Thanks Nobody. She got over it quite quickly. I just feel the story (and lesson) shouldn’t be forgotten


    I was wondering who said that… thanks!

    Be Happy

    Unfortunately there are people who get satisfaction talking about other people. They may decide they are doing well in business/not doing well in business. They may decide the wife / husband looks good or does not look good. I use to happily share with friends but learnt the hard way that it is unhealthy. If e.g I am having difficulty with finances I don’t want anyone to know especially if they can’t help me. I know one of my friends who went through a difficult money parsha said she regretted telling anyone because anything she bought was scrutinized and discussed if she really needed it.


    estherh, you are so right. Some pple just love to blabble about other pple. they think it will make them sound interesting if they have all the news.

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