How to Cover Your Ass After Revealing a Secret You Were Entrusted to Keep

Diane called Deb into her office and asked her to close the door. “Deb, can I trust you with a very sensitive secret?” Diane asked. Deb gulped. She had never been known as a good secret keeper. Whether it was a surprise party, discovering the gender of a baby, knowing who was getting promoted, learning that someone has cancer, or something as mundane as the company getting a new pop machine in the lobby, Deb most definitely knew she could not be trusted with any remotely sensitive information.

But, eager to find out Diane’s secret, she insisted she could keep it to herself. “Absolutely, Diane! You can always count on me.” Deb thought maybe just this once she could really be true to her word.

“Well, this is really difficult, but I want you to be the first to know. In March I’m going to get the operation,” Diane said.

“Operation? What operation? Diane, what are you talking about? Are you okay?” Deb asked.

“Better than okay,” Diane smirked as she leaned in. “Implants. I’m finally doing it, Deb. Breast implants! I’ve saved up for five years and the date is finally on the calendar. I’m going to be out of the office for two whole weeks. I needed you to hear it from me.”

“Oh my God, that’s…. great!” Deb said. “I’m so happy for you!”

“Deb,” Diane continued, clutching Deb’s arm. “You absolutely, under no circumstances, can tell ANYBODY about this. I only told you so you can help cover for my whereabouts those two weeks. I just know I can trust you.”

Deb left Diane’s office and went back to her desk. She tried to do her accounting work but was too distracted. This news was killing her! She decided she had to tell someone. She scrolled through the contacts on her phone. If she could tell even one person, she’d feel so much less anxious. Besides, above all other reasons for spilling a secret, it’s just really fun to be the person delivering the juicy news!

Deb landed on her friend Roger who had previously worked at the company and knew Diane somewhat well. She wrote a text. “O.M.G. You will NOT believe the news I have about our good friend Diane Whitaker…” Send.

The secret Deb was entrusted to keep stayed a secret for all of 42 seconds. Even by Deb’s standards, this was outrageously juvenile. Diane passed by down the hall, looking at Deb, smiling and miming the locking of a padlock on her lips. Oh God. Poor Diane, if only she knew the news was somehow already being shared. Just then her phone lit up.

“??? I’M DYING HERE DEB, WHAT IS IT???” replied Roger.

“Let’s just say next time you see her, she might look a bit ‘bigger’ if you know what I mean, lol,” Deb texted back. “But you CANNOT tell anyone or Diane will know I told!”

The deed was done. Roger now knew. Roger could be counted on to keep the secret… right?

By the end of the work day, Deb had now told 51 people about Diane’s secret, many of whom don’t even know Diane. God, it was so much FUN being the one with the news to deliver. Deb’s phone was blowing up left and right, with each person under the impression that they alone were the one person Deb felt she could confide in this most secretive of news.

Deb knows the odds of every last person keeping this a secret for the next six weeks is slim-to-none. Not only will a few people tell other people, but the odds are at least one of the 51 people will say something directly to Diane. And even if they all do manage to keep it a secret, it’s bound to come out after the surgery that they already knew. It’s really just a matter of “when”, not “if”.

It didn’t take long. That weekend Deb was out mowing the lawn when she got a text from Diane. “We need to talk. Call me.” Oh shit.

“Deb, I just saw Marty Bennigan at the store, and he wished me good luck on my upcoming surgery,” Diane said.

“Marty Bennigan? From high school?”

“Yes, Deb, from high school. We haven’t spoken in years. When I asked what he meant by that, he said you two had spoken and you told him my secret? Deb, is this true?”

Deb, also a pathological liar, had a pretty believable answer for Diane. “Yes, I’m sorry, it’s true. We got to talking the other day and he mentioned how his friend was going to have breast enlargement surgery and she was really nervous, and–I–I’m sorry, it just slipped out. You have to believe me, that was the ONLY person I told. I never thought he’d even remember you! I was just trying to calm his nerves about his friend.” Deb knew Diane would never check in with Marty to verify these claims.

Diane bought the bullshit story and forgave Deb. But it didn’t last long. Monday at the office, Tina from Marketing let it slip to the entire team that Diane was having the surgery, and Nicole had no issue going straight to Diane to congratulate her on her bravery.

“DEB! My office, now!” Deb heard from down the hall.

“What the fuck, Deb?! Some marketing intern was just in here who I’ve never even met, and she was telling me how brave I am for getting this surgery! How could she have possibly known?! Who are you telling? Please tell me no one else from the office knows.”

“Huh, that’s really strange,” Deb said. “I definitely never said anything to her. I’ve never talked to this girl before either. Someone else here knows something. Oh… Oh wait a minute… you don’t think… no, no…”

“What?” Diane asked.

“Did you do anything on your work computer related to the surgery? Did you book it online, look up the phone number, add it to your calendar… anything? The IT department can monitor our computer activity. They can see our screens, everything we do here.”

“Oh shit,” Diane said. “Yes. I was corresponding with the doctor’s office on my personal email. Well I’m gonna go talk to Phil and give that little shit a good slap across the face.”

Deb was caught again, and again managed to spin it off as not her fault. Phil of course claimed to know nothing about it, which was true, but Diane still stood by Deb, and filed a formal complaint with HR that her sensitive information had been shared by Phil. Deb was back in the clear.

And then it happened. Again.

Diane received an email from Sandra, a mutual friend of her’s and Deb’s from church. Sandra, ever the tattle-tale, sent Diane screenshots of Deb’s text exchange sharing the news, complete with timestamps. “I just thought you should know what your so-called friend Deb is saying about you behind your back. If you need anything call me, girlie! Hugs!”

“DEB! My office, now!” Deb heard from down the hall. She covered successfully twice, but could she do it three times?

Diane rotated her monitor so Deb could see the email from Sandra. Deb squinted and read it word-for-word as if she’d never seen this before.

“It has a timestamp of 10:45am on the 15th. I distinctly remember telling you the news at 10:39 that day. Six minutes passed and you’re telling Sandra, the church gossip?! Everyone is going to know!” Diane said as she fought back tears.

First of all, Deb knew six minutes was drastically longer than some of the other communications. And once again, Deb had the perfect excuse. “Look, Diane. I’m so, so, so sorry. I thought that if I spread the news to a few close friends, we could help stop you from getting the operation.”

“Stop me from getting the operation? Why would you want me to do that?”

“Diane, look at you. You’re a knockout! You’re without question the most beautiful woman in this office. I would hate to see you change anything about yourself. I thought if I could get Marty and Nicole and Sandra to come together with me, the four of us could keep you from making a mistake. But, you know what, I’m sorry. It’s not my place to say anything. I’ll go pack up my desk.”

“Deb, wait,” Diane says. “Do you really mean that? Do you think I’m beautiful?”

“Yes, Diane,” Deb says. The two embrace in a hug. Diane has tears streaming down her face.

“Well, I’ve already put a non-refundable $1500 deposit down. I mean, I have been having some second thoughts.”

The two hug again and Deb wipes sweat away from her forehead as she escapes unscathed for the third time.

Miraculously, no one else comes forward in the weeks preceding the surgery, and Diane goes through with it. When she returns to work after the two-week break, the work is quite noticeable. Jessica from the mailroom delivers the backlogged mail to Diane’s office, and Diane asks Jessica if she notices anything different about her.

“Oh, yeah, you look amazing! I’ve been looking forward to seeing the results for weeks.

“Thank you! Wait… what do you mean, weeks?”

“Oh, Deb told me like two months ago.”

“DEB! My office, now!” Deb heard from down the hall.

My Hot Take:
If you haven’t already surmised, I am basically Deb. I do this all the time and often talk my way out of tight spots, but just as often I get caught red-handed and have to face the music. Don’t be me. If you can’t keep a secret, don’t volunteer to listen to one.

Keep your damn mouth shut if someone tells you a secret.

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