As some of you may know, my first degree is in psychology. One of the things we learned, way back in the 80s, was that the common wisdom of telling others your goals helped you achieve them is absolutely false.

Studies have shown time and again that not telling anyone is more likely to help you succeed! Like, since the 1920s. And confirmed many times since then. In fact, it’s still being studied and confirmed.

I have yet to see a double-blind study confirm that telling others, particularly co-workers or strangers, helps you attain your goals. Ok, there are a couple, but they confirm that only those you hold dear and implicitly trust can assist you in this manner.

Huh. Interesting.

What this means to people speaking with ideating depressed folks may need to adapt how this support is provided.

Let’s talk this through to figure out why.

When someone tells you, “I’m going to kill myself tonight,” chances are pretty good that your automatic response is something like, “oh, please, don’t say things like that!”

You’ve just told someone whose goal is to die, that they can’t talk about it. And per these studies, the most likely way to achieve your goals is to not talk about it.

Ruh roh!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these studies, and what this might mean when helping your friends heal, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Please comment below!