As our American society continues to change, it is becoming harder and harder to define what a man is. Being a guy who writes about manly things on this men’s website, I’m not really sure how I feel about that.
As the male and female gender definitions are becoming more and more alike, some may no longer agree that keeping your mouth shut is a manly description. I do feel that it still is, for how much longer though, no one knows. So for now, I will continue to write about why men should consider keeping their mouths shut.
LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS
If you’re under a hundred years old, you may not be familiar with the term “Loose lips sink ships”. This was a phrase created during World War two by the United States to remind servicemen at that time to not talk about things related to the war.
The phrase is pretty straightforward – talking about what you know about the war (however small) may result in an American warship getting attacked and put to the bottom of the ocean. As a boy, I remember this phrase as it remained somewhat popular for many years after WWII. I remember thinking it was manly because it went along with the demeanor of most of the WWII vets I ever came across.
These old vets were always salty and hardened and they never talked about the great war. For a boy, their silence was fucking manly. All I could do was look at these guys (who were usually friendly but distant), and wonder what hell they had been through. I mean, that’s all I could do because they weren’t saying shit about it, ever.
The only story I ever got was from my best friend’s grandfather. He told a few stories of when he was in the Navy during the war, but it was when he was much older and I was in my twenties.
I remember him saying he was in a multi-ship battle and the one he was on sunk. He was lucky enough to make it in the water. There were guys all around him, swimming and floating and dying and it was loud. He finally made it to another ship and was almost too tired to climb that mesh rope over the ship’s side that you see in the old war movies. They were slowly climbing up the ropes and guys were getting picked off and falling back in the water all around him. He was too tired to climb any faster. Only very slowly making his way up the rope and on the ship. He said it was like everything was in slow motion.
Finally, he made it to the top and someone pulled him over and to safety. He said it was pure luck that he didn’t die on that rope. He then said about three-quarters of the guys on his original ship died that day. I still get chills remembering when he told us that story.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEN AND NOW
The biggest difference between the forties and fifties and now is the level of communication. Men sixty years ago didn’t have nearly the opportunity to communicate. Only two-thirds of American households had telephones and that was all. There was no portable anything and nothing even close to the concept of the internet. If a guy wanted to share something, his only way was to meet someone in person or write a letter and send it via snail mail.
Today, the opportunity for a guy to run his cocksucker is like, every second of every minute of every day. We can call, text, email, comment to a thousand groups on twenty social media outlets, post, make a podcast, make a video, call into a radio show or podcast, and make a website along with the conventional ways of communicating. It is fucking ridiculous!
I’m a firm believer in that the more opportunity you have to fuck up, the more you will. So, guys can now talk about things that maybe shouldn’t at every turn. And this society of super communication has enabled more acceptance of men running their mouths, but that doesn’t mean it is ok. And it doesn’t mean society judges males much less for it either.
WHY “KEEPING YOUR MOUTH SHUT” IS SYNONYMOUS WITH BEING MANLY
This is not a gender-specific quality, so why is keeping quiet about things considered manly? In an attempt to answer this, I think we have to go back in time some. Maybe we have to go to before the industrial revolution or even way back when humans were hunters/gatherers. You have to at least go back far enough when our genders were clearly defined.
For at least thousands of years, our planet has had thousands of different civilizations which, depending on their origins and resources, placed genders in all different roles. I’m only talking about the past civilizations that make up the bases of our current American one, which is primarily European.
Keeping in mind also that the male gender is physically stronger and that the female gender has a greater ability to do and maintain multiple tasks, the males would get the food and the females would maintain the living situation. Males were also responsible for protecting his family/tribe, while women were responsible for raising the offspring.
Clearly defined, both gender roles were equally important to survival, which then was the primary motivator for most everyday occurrences. Men and women of that time lived together but had much different everyday lives. I’m going to suppose that it’s always been important to keep certain knowledge of things from others for a number of reasons. I could wind up writing a book about this, so I’ll cut to the chase. Based on how they lived, the things men had to keep their mouths shut about were more crucial than what the women had to keep quiet about.
Certainly, with running the households and rearing children, females obtained lots of information they shouldn’t share. Maybe more than males did while hunting and defending. But, the knowledge of hunting and defending coupled with a high level of trust needed with their fellow males created secrets that, if told, would be more detrimental to survival. So, one’s ability (male or female) to keep a secret was directly associated with one’s survival. Hunters/defenders (the men) breaking confidence carried a greater consequence than the home maintainers/child rearers (the women). This motivator very naturally gave men a greater ability to keeping their mouths shut over the women.
In today’s civilization, everyone works (hunter) and everyone house-keeps and rears children, so the secrets of men aren’t any more detrimental. But we are still hardwired to consider men to be able to keep their mouths closed better than women. Thus, not repeating things is a manly thing.
THE BENEFITS OF BEING A MAN WHO CAN KEEP HIS MOUTH SHUT
Admittedly, I am not a guy who keeps his mouth shut. But I do know when something shouldn’t be repeated and when you shouldn’t hear it from me. There is definitely an art to this. It’s an imperfect art, so I make mistakes here and there. And wind up running my mouth about things I shouldn’t.
Luckily for me, I have a good reputation for keeping my mouth shut, but not a flawless one. That may be as good as it gets for a super social guy like me. Keeping your mouth shut about things you shouldn’t repeat has some nice advantages to it. There are more, but here are five:
#1 Keeping your mouth shut builds trust
Perhaps the most important aspect of ALL types of relationships is trust. There is a thing called instant trust, but we all know that can be inaccurate. Real trust is built over a long period. A great way to build trust is by not repeating something from a friend.
Most news worth repeating has a timeframe or “shelf life of worth” to repeating it. When that time passes and your friend sees that you haven’t told anyone, they then start trusting you. And that’s fucking relationship gold. Keeping quiet about two or more important things and people will start to trust you with all things.
#2 People will tell you more when you keep your mouth shut
You may not want this, but if people learn that you won’t talk to others about what they share with you, then they will want to tell you more.
It’s human nature for someone to want to share what is privately going on in their lives. Most people will have only one person that they can trust enough, and some don’t even have that. When a person realizes that they can tell you things and those things not get repeated, you become someone special to them. Some are so hungry to share or purge private stuff, that they will seek you out just to use you for that. That can be annoying. Most people don’t abuse this quality and they will only enjoy the feeling of telling a man something knowing it’s safe.
#3 Keeping your mouth shut makes you more of a solid friend
You can give your friends a lot of your time and resources, not be toxic, be great to travel and do things with, engage in good conversation, and be genuinely interested in their well-being. If they can’t trust you to keep your mouth shut though, then they will rarely be able to connect with you on any level below the surface.
Contrarily, you can be a guy with a truck but never help anyone move, often show up late or flake completely, and never buy a drink or pick up a tab. If people believe though that you can keep your mouth shut (especially when it counts), then they will consider you a solid friend. It may not be fair, but that’s how rare and powerful not running your pie-hole can be.
#4 Keeping your mouth shut can get you laid
Finally, something that can really motivate you to keep quiet. Yes, not repeating things that are private will absolutely get a guy laid. This is because women have reputations to protect. And they will protect them fiercely.
As a guy, you may think the importance women put on their reputations are stupid and unnecessary. It doesn’t at all matter what you think though, does it? To most females, her reputation means much more to her than being who she really is or what she really wants to do.
There may be a total “hottie” in your life right now and she would be down for completely having sex with you. But she can’t trust that you won’t go around later and tell people about it. You may have worked hard to set that up and did well because she is definitely into you. But she thinks you might go around afterward and “high-five” your boys about getting with you. So instead, she will go fuck the dude with the beer belly and smelly beard across town. She thinks he’s kind of an asshole but knows he won’t say a word, so he gets the fruit from your hard work. It’s a common modern tragedy.
If you somehow don’t believe this, it’s because the dudes that you know who are really getting laid aren’t telling you or anyone else about it. That’s the difference between you and him. Well, that and your flat stomach with your dick in your hand.
#5 You get respect
There is so much talk lately about the arts of not giving a fuck. One of the things that all guys do give a fuck about (whether they admit it or not) is respect. Next to control, respect is near the pinnacle of manhood. Few things will give a man respect more than keeping your fucking mouth shut.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KEEPING A SECRET AND KEEPING YOUR MOUTH SHUT
Anyone can keep a secret. It just depends on how important that piece of information is to the person.
Years ago, I had a best friend who was a drug dealer. For a period of time, he used to like to take Valiums and drink alcohol when we went out. Now, if you aren’t familiar with this combination, valium plus alcohol is like a truth serum. Popping a couple “V”s and drinking a six-pack of Budweiser will have you singing like Schwarzenegger’s character in True Lies when they injected him with sodium amytal.
When on this party combo, my buddy would get wasted and start telling all kinds of shit about his life and the people in it. And it was so out of character for him as he was definitely a guy who kept his mouth shut. I would get nervous because he had a lot of drug dealer secrets that should never be repeated back then.
The funny thing is, he ran his mouth about all kinds of shit when doing those “V”s, but he never said a word about the drug dealing. I mean, he would get so fucked-up, that he wouldn’t remember a thing the next day. And no matter how trashed and completely blacked out he got, his brain knew what secrets were important.
If someone’s ass is truly on the line, they will easily keep a secret. Keeping secrets won’t make you unique as self-preservation is an instinct that prevents everyone from talking shit pertinent to their own survival. Keeping your mouth shut about things not connected to your well being though is a different story.
Not repeating things that others tell you can be learned. You do have a choice to be a man and close your mouth. And that choice is the difference.
WHY WE LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THINGS WE SHOULDN’T
As social creatures living in the information age, we have almost an instinct to share information. Some have a harder time relating to people, so sharing a juicy piece of gossip is an easy way to connect with someone. Some don’t have enough awareness to know what shouldn’t be repeated. And many just like being a part of something so they put themselves in a position to receive and share things so they can feel included.
The real reason people repeat things they shouldn’t is gratification. It is so fun to create anticipation and then watch reactions to what you say. Then it’s fun to speculate what said info means with whom you shared it. And as a bonus, the information you gave may spark receiving more from the other person.
SIX TIPS TO PREVENT YOURSELF FROM REPEATING WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T
Learning to keep your mouth shut is mostly about awareness. These tips will make you more aware.
Tip #1 Be aware that there is a timeframe for sharing
Every piece of information we get is only important for so long. Seeing someone picking their nose from across the room at a party may only be valuable for a couple of minutes while learning that your boss is having an affair with his assistant may be worth repeating for several months.
Thinking about how long a piece of gossip will be “juicy” or relevant may help you. It may give you time to decide you shouldn’t repeat it instead of just “knee jerk” reacting and telling someone right away. Keep in mind – the longer you can go without sharing information, the greater the chance you won’t repeat it, the less impactful, and the less value it will have as gossip.
Tip #2 Ask yourself if repeating this information will hurt someone
Take a minute to access if telling this secret will harm someone and who. And if you care about that person, you may not want to contribute to their pain. Or you may not give a shit about them. Regardless, exploring what your actions may do to someone else may just be the extra awareness you need to keep shut.
Tip #3 Learn to value the information you receive differently
When someone tells you something gossipy, is the first thing you think of who you will be telling it to? It’s normal to put this appraisal on private or personal information you’ve obtained, but it can have other value.
When some guys get told something private, they will value the information as something he knows that others don’t. Looking at it like this, he will never repeat it to anyone consequential because he knows it will then lose its value. The saying is “knowledge is power”, and sharing that knowledge takes away some of that power.
An even bigger value that some guys consider when getting told something private is the opportunity to build trust with whoever told them. This is something I always think about because trust is the hardest thing to earn and this is the easiest way to earn it. All you have to do is not tell anyone what they told you. Easy right? It’s easy if you care about gaining someone’s trust.
Tip #4 Make sure you aren’t violating a trust
In most cases, people will tell you things and, although you probably shouldn’t repeat it, it doesn’t have an official “don’t tell anyone” status to it. Or maybe whoever told you is just a casual acquaintance so you’re not really breaking a real trust or one you care about.
If it’s a real secret with a definite “no-repeat” status with someone you care about, then making sure you are aware of this should prevent you from running your mouth. Remember – It’s all about awareness!
Tip #5 If whether something is ok to be repeated or not is in question, then choose not to
The answer may come fast or take some careful consideration beforehand Regardless, just asking the question before “pulling you mouth trigger” may give you enough pause to keeping quiet. In most cases, after you consider all things, you will come up “undecided”. And undecided is the same as deciding not to talk. This can be a very effective tool in learning to be a man and keeping your mouth shut.
Tip #6 Ask yourself what you are really getting out of repeating the info
This can be a very sobering question. Asking this may reveal that you are actually more shallow than you thought. And that you maybe don’t care as much about the people in your life as much. It can also show you how little effort you make to build, have, or even care about trust. All big stuff.
This is almost a trick question because, unless you really know who you are and are OK with who you really are, asking this with honesty will almost always reveal that you get very little in repeating gossipy and trustworthy shit.
Having said that, there will be times when what you get from repeating information will have value beyond that superficial and short-lived joy you get by having gossip. And if it’s there, then it will be ok for you to proceed to open your mouth. It won’t be manly though.
Bonus Hack – Treat obtaining secrets like eating poorly.
Have you ever been on a diet and couldn’t eat certain things but really wanted to? Of course, you have. We are all overweight and overindulgent Americans.
Let’s say you are on a diet and want that giant piece of chocolate cake for dessert. You could choose to have it and feel great while eating it. But as soon as you are done, you will feel like shit about yourself for the rest of the night. Or you choose to not eat it and feel like shit while everyone else is having cake but then feel terrific the rest of the night because you didn’t eat it. This is how telling secrets is.
Tell the secret and feel great while you are telling it. It’s fun. Then feel like shit later for running your cocksucker. Or you don’t tell the secret and not have fun sharing it, but feel great about not telling it for days later. It’s all about when you want to feel good and for how long. Personally, I want to feel good for a longer period of time.