A while back, my sister, Rebecca, called with a request: She wanted me to book a flight to come and see her immediately—and not tell anyone.
Rebecca explained that she was having a breast biopsy the next day, was terrified to hear the results, and wanted me there for support. But she didn’t want to worry others in our family.
I jumped on a plane but wrestled with a dilemma. Many members of my family are doctors. Rebecca herself is an internist. Our father is an orthopedic surgeon and another sister is a gynecologist. I knew they would have advice for Rebecca—and would want to know if she were sick. But my sister asked me not to share what she told me. And I didn’t.
How do you decide whether to keep someone’s secret when there are good reasons to tell?
Imagine you discover that a friend is having an affair, and you know that person’s spouse well. A family member has begun secretly drinking heavily and needs help. Or a loved one who has died led a double life. You might want to disclose someone’s secret if it will help him or her in the long run. Or if someone else is being hurt or has a right to know the information.
Read the whole story: The Wall Street Journal