Some years ago someone was talking about about a relative of mine and said, ‘She’s a private person.’ The comment stuck in my mind because I had never noticed she was. After thinking about it I realised, coming from the same family background, we had similar ideas about what to discuss openly. There are plenty of things I do not discuss with just anyone. Therefore I didn’t feel it was unusual for someone to keep some things private.
I recall my father discouraging discussion on politics and personal finances, among other topics. From an early age I learnt certain things were not discussed outside our home. I don’t recall the following incident but my mother told me when I was an adult. Grandma had told her about it.
We didn’t have a car when I was little. Then Mum went back to work, she was progressive for a mother in the fifties. I was about three years old at the time. When Grandma was taking care of me someone asked me if we would be buying a car now we had a second income. As the story goes, my response was, ‘That’s home talk.’ I would say no more on the matter.
I know women who are more private than I am. While there are many things I don’t talk about to all and sundry, I will choose to confide in close friends. However, there are a few things I don’t talk about to anyone. I think before I divulge information. Some things may not be particularly private but I choose not to broadcast the information.
There are friends who have asked me not to pass on certain things I would not consider personal. Just as well they stated they didn’t want me to mention it. On the other hand I have been surprised by information some have chosen to share and they haven’t even asked that I keep it to myself. At other times someone in a group has been comfortable sharing things I consider personal. It just goes to show there is a wide variation in what people feel comfortable about disclosing.
I do feel people should think carefully before talking about matters which involve others. How would the other party feel about that information being shared? Just because you are comfortable with disclosing something you can’t assume others feel the same way.
Some people aren’t private and others are. Lily Allen said,’ I'm just not a private person. It's not like I do things because I want things to be public; it's just that's my way of expressing myself, and I happen to be very famous.’ On the other hand, another famous woman, Farrah Fawcett said, ‘I'm a private person. I'm shy about people knowing things.’