In a media-centric society where living out loud is the norm, those who can resist the temptation to share secrets have less sorrow, trauma, and regrets than those that can’t resist sharing secrets.
“Loose lips sink ships” is an oft-repeated saying that big mouths are the ruin of outstanding achievements.
The downfall of many politicians, entertainers, and business people has been the revelation of a secret conversation spoken in privacy leaked to the public.
Surprisingly, these leaks often come from trusted confidantes who find secrecy difficult.
Writer Emmy Boy (2016) said:
To keep a secret can be so hard and difficult for so many people to the extent that the only way out for them to relieve themselves of such a great burden will be just to spill the beans, not minding whose ox is eventually gored in the process (para. 2).
Michael Slepian, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Associate Professor of Leadership and Ethics in the Management Division of Columbia Business School, said:
By keeping something secret, people can protect their reputation and their relationships with close others. Yet, when people choose to keep secrets, they run the risk of feeling isolated from other people, which can lead to negative well-being outcomes (para. 1).
Contrarily, INTJ personality types are sensitive about the quirks of human nature and thus are more inclined to be highly secretive despite any fallout.
INTJs, as the more intellectually driven and problem-solving introverts under the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), have an innate ability to empathize with the thinking and feelings of others.
As the ultimate problem solvers, INTJs are so secretive because secrecy enhances the integrity of a valued intellectual environment.
Building trust, protecting trade secrets, and avoiding tribulations are some of the motives for INTJs being so secretive.
Secrets are priceless gems by which a person’s existence and survival may depend on them. And secrets should be handled with that level of care.
As an INTJ, when someone reveals private information to me and tells me that it’s a secret, I always say, “If your secret gets out and you told someone else, he or she is the one who revealed it.”
I share my policy on secrets with people because secrets are deeper to me than they may be for others.
Essentially, a secret goes into a metaphorical security vault that is never opened and is buried with me upon my death.
To say, “I couldn’t see the consequences of betraying your trust,” is anathema to the hardwiring of INTJs.
However, keeping secrets comes with consequences. A former coworker once drove me home in a company car against corporate policy. At the time, I didn’t know that using a company vehicle after hours for personal reasons was an infraction, but he did.
A supervisor at the company got wind that this violation had taken place.
When I was asked about the infraction, I lied to protect my coworker because divulging such information could lead to his termination.
After all, I didn’t have a car at the time, and he was doing me a favor.
The supervisor suspended me for lying and terminated the coworker.
Is lying and keeping a secret the same thing? What about high moral codes?
Undoubtedly, there is a difference. Maturing and having more life experiences taught me to be careful about the secrets I am willing to keep for others.
INTJs often use secrecy strategically by:
Building trust is a by-product of being secretive. First, INTJs are self-protective in ensuring that they don’t give other people tools that can be used against them. They would never disclose the code to their internal “black box.” Although we all act towards self-preservation, INTJs do so on a higher level. Years of research, data, and anecdotal evidence socialized INTJs to be incredibly savvy about the ways of the world.
Some people are just built to reveal their innermost thoughts and experiences. The only time INTJs would expose their secrets is when it would be self-betrayal not to do so.
Secondly, INTJs have a highly evolved moral compass. Enlightened INTJs live by stringent personal constitutions and philosophies that happen to benefit the secrets of others. Revealing other’s secrets is a cathartic exercise for many. Consequently, INTJs serve as the ideal recipient of confessions.
Protecting Trade Secrets
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a trade secret:
- is information that has either actual or potential independent economic value by virtue of not being generally known,
- has value to others who cannot legitimately obtain the information, and
- is subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy.
As it relates to INTJs, INTJs would never give away hard-fought trade secrets.
It would be ludicrous and counterproductive to create software or systems that benefit society. Yet, INTJs wouldn’t benefit from their sacrifice. INTJs believe in doing good and well simultaneously. As a result, secrets are guarded to protect the financial livelihood of INTJs.
The hypersensitivity of INTJs makes it such that they avoid unnecessary harm or trouble. The acquisition and maintenance of power require knowing when to reveal information versus remaining quiet to influence an outcome strategically.
INTJs are not opposed to wreaking havoc on the world when it’s justified. Referring to their high moral code, progressive destruction requires deep thought and consideration.
As long as countless people have smartphone cameras and those willing to write tell-all books for fame and fortune, sharing secrets is no longer stigmatized or frowned upon.
Enlightened INTJs grounded in the value of secrecy will uphold their code of honor despite the conditions of inducement.
Writer Sara Gruen once said, “With a secret like that, at some point, the secret itself becomes irrelevant. The fact that you kept it does not.”
Emmy Boy. (2016, Nov. 1). The importance of keeping secrets. Paired Life. Retrieved from: https://pairedlife.com/etiquette/The-importance-of-keeping-secrets.
Gruen, S. (n.d.) Quotes. Goodreads. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3wM2ntz.
Slepian, M. (n.d.). How to cope with secrecy. KeepingSecrets.org. Retrieved from: http://www.columbia.edu/~ms4992/secrets/help.html.