S:0963 Distinction: Privacy vs. Secrecy

(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


These two words may seem similar but there is a hidden nature to one of them which defines the Distinction.

You and I have a right to privacy, a fundamental right we have as humans, demonstrated by the privacy of our thoughts. Regardless of external circumstances we have the sanctity of our thoughts which can, if we choose, remain private to us.

Privacy is useful in creating the outcomes you want. For instance, if there is someone you don’t like or respect, it might not be a good idea for you to tell them or others. You could instead choose to not hang around them, to not seek their counsel, keeping your thoughts about them to yourself, private.

Secrecy has an undertone which is not present in simple privacy. Secrecy is about hiding something. Secrecy almost always has a fear component. The fear of being found out. The fear of not getting a need met. The fear of being thought less of. Many different fears can result in using secrecy while dealing with others.

Secrecy keeps you withholding and feeling separate-from while privacy allows you to include your private feelings in your interactions. Not sharing them, but accessing them to your benefit.

Someone who maintains privacy gently radiates a calm comfortableness. You’re okay sharing your thoughts with them.

A secretive person causes you to be put on alert. You sense something is being hidden from you.


Coaching Point: How do you want others to feel when they are around you?


Copyright 2014 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.