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Cannot Keep a Secret

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And thus, Sarah's greatest shame was revealed to all.
A classic sitcom trope, in which a character seems to be physically incapable of keeping a secret for very long, at least without showing extreme discomfort. Usually, by the end of the episode, or even within the same scene, they would spill the beans. Although sufferers of this trope in fiction are mostly women, due to the prevalent stereotype of women as gossips, there are male examples too.

Almost always Played for Laughs. Related to Keeping Secrets Sucks and Loose Lips. Compare Cannot Tell a Lie.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Episode 7 of Chronicles of the Going Home Club, the going home club members talk about Natsuki's secret birthday party and plans, all while Natsuki is sitting in the club room hearing every little detail of it. She even tries to point out what's so secret about it if she's already expecting it.
  • In Fate/Apocrypha, Rider of Black/Astolfo constantly blurts out sensitive information like Servants' True Names and Noble Phantasms, much to the Black Faction's annoyance. This carries over into his appearances in Fate/Grand Order.
  • Girlfriend, Girlfriend: Naoya Mukai practices Brutal Honesty and hates lying and keeping secrets. He constantly says what he is thinking and several times tries to blurt out secrets like the fact that he is dating multiple girls. His girlfriends have to constantly stop him, sometimes resorting to beating him up, and lecture him that if he reveals that, it will ruin them. The only times he is willing to lie and keep secrets is to protect a girlfriend, like when Nagisa looked through Saki's phone and he lied that he did it.
  • In Hajime no Ippo, every member of the Kamogawa gym is like this. Every time Ippo tells a fellow member to shut it about something he will do (like a date with Kumi), the whole gym knows the day after. Itagaki is the most notable offender of this though: not only does he tell Mashiba the details of the relationship between Ippo and Kumi, but when the same Mashiba tells him a secret of his own, while Itagaki swears to keep it we see a panel showing how impatient he is of telling everyone at the gym!
  • In Episode 13 of Season 4 in Minami-ke, Kana utilizes this trope to get people to come watch the cherry blossoms fall off the trees, but no one seems interested. Then she hears various characters spilling other character's secrets, and intentionally blurts out a secret viewing place to individual groups of them. It doesn't seem to work at first, because she's by herself on the big day, but a short while later, practically all of the cast shows up to celebrate and watch the cherry blossoms fall.
  • My Monster Secret:
    • Part of the initial hook is that male lead Asahi Kuromine can't lie or keep a secret to save his life (he doesn't want to be this way, the guy just has No Poker Face whatsoever). The day he decides to confess his feelings to his classmate Youko Shiragami, his three best friends admit that they've known about his crush for ages. But then he finds out Youko is a vampire and will have to leave the school if she's found out, meaning he gets very invested in protecting her secret.
    • Asahi's granddaughter from the future appears. The biggest piece of evidence that they're related? She wasn't supposed to tell anyone she's from the future, and yet blurted it out minutes after she met him.
  • Haruna Saotome in Negima! Magister Negi Magi will not keep a secret if the truth is more entertaining. Only minutes after threatening to torture her friends for not letting her in on The Masquerade earlier, she proceeds to start telling the next people she sees, which is exactly why they didn't tell her in the first place. She also comes very close to telling Anya about Negi's Pactios.
  • One Piece: Played for Laughs with CP9 agent Fukurou, who sucks at keeping any kind of secret, be it personal stuff about colleagues or sensitive government intel. This despite having an actual zipper over his mouth; he just zips his mouth open and blabbers away.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Miyuki of Smile PreCure! has a very poor time keeping her secret identity... and the secret identities of her teammates.
    • And then there's Megumi of HappinessCharge Pretty Cure!, who blew her secret identity to a civilian in the third episode of the series, but not before making him extremely suspicious of her.
  • Ruby from Rave Master, who blurts out whatever he is thinking.
  • Double Subverted in The Red Ranger Becomes an Adventurer in Another World. Red says that he tried to keep his Secret Identity a top secret, instructing the other members of the Kizuna Five to do the same. Idola is flabbergasted at the thought of someone as straightforwardly honest as Red keeping a secret that important, only for Red to cheerfully admit that he was exposed a week after becoming a Sentai hero.

    Comic Books 
  • New Super-Man: The title character blows his existence, the Justice League of China's existence, and his secret identity by Issue #2.
  • In The Smurfs comic book version of "The Astro Smurf", the title character tells one inquisitive Smurf about the spaceship he's intending to build and warns him to keep it a secret. However, that Smurf ends up telling another Smurf, and soon enough the whole village knows about it!
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Swerve, by dint of being Swerve, is physically incapable of keeping any secret for more than a few seconds, even his own. Mockingly pointed out by Chromedome in a conversation with Skids.
    Chromedome: You told Swerve, so assume everybody on board knows. In fact, assume everybody on Cybertron knows. In fact, assume distant alien races, long untouched by civilization—
    Skids: Okay, okay, point taken.
  • There's an example in Yann et Julie, an old and obscure Franco-Belgian comic book: In one of the skits, Yann sees Julie coming out of a shop during Christmas Holidays, having ordered an item. He presses her to tell him everything about this, but she's dubious as she knows he can't keep secrets. After he swears he will keep it, she reveals she'll offer the new Nintenga to one of her friends. Sure enough, once they part ways, Yann goes to the shop to get info about the order, and while the clerk can't tell him any name, he gives him the phone number he has to use to tell when the order will be available. Yann rushes to his house, dials the number, and right off the bat, thinking he's talking to Julie's friend, starts to spill out about the present... Only to hear the voice of a furious Julie: in his excitement, he didn't notice it was her phone number.

    Comic Strips 
  • Edda in 9 Chickweed Lane is an unrepentant gossip, who gets offended if she finds someone (like Amos) who can keep a secret.

    Fan Works 
  • Krillin in Dragon Ball Z Abridged becomes this whenever he gets nervous, which happens to be a lot. One time he nearly blurted out where he and Gohan came from to Freeza before Gohan stopped him (though Dende revealed it right afterwards). There's also the incident with the Ginyu Force...
    Ginyu: There are seven in total, if my reports are correct, and the other five are...
    Krillin: Rightbehindyou!
    Vegeta: My God, man, you cannot-
    Krillin: ShutupwhenI'mscared,Iknow!IoncehadacrushonanIndianboyIthoughtwasagirl!
    Vegeta: ... Please kill him. Seriously, he won't be missed.
  • In the Frozen (2013) fanfic Frozen Wight, it turns out keeping secrets is not a concept that Olaf understands very well:
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Lieutenant Ruby Shell of the Hidden Guards has a recurring problem with letting details slip — she's the one who unwittingly revealed that Page was the Changeling Queen to the rest of the Bearers, and accidentally referred to two of them by their codenames where Vix-Lei could hear it in the second story.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Done for a one-off joke in Airplane!. Ted is given orders for his military mission, which he proceeds to explain, in excruciating detail, to Elaine. Then, when she asks when he'll be back, he remarks "I can't tell you that. It's classified." It's not clear if all of the intel was originally classified and Ted is a blabbermouth, or that for some reason, only the return time (which is barely a secret at all) was classified.
  • Dave Made a Maze: Despite Dave repeatedly asking Gordon to not tell anyone that he is lost in the maze, Gordon not only calls all of their other friends but also tells random people on the street.
  • In The Far Country, taciturn gold prospector and cattle driver Jeff informs his partner, Ben, that he didn't tell Ben about the plan to leave Dawson by the river (thus avoiding the bad guys waiting on the overland route) because Ben would spill the beans. Ben promptly starts blabbing to their friends about using the river as an escape route. Later Ben goes off to buy coffee for the trip and blabs some more, with fatal consequences.
  • Grease: Marty Maraschino has this problem right when it will do the most damage.
  • A variation occurs in Knives Out with Marta, the hero of the film. She's so averse to telling lies that the mere thought of dishonesty is enough to make her vomit profusely. This extends to keeping secrets, too, so she's forced to rely on Exact Words and Metaphorically True statements when dealing with the murder investigation (for example, the victim, upon realizing he's dying, gives Marta extremely specific instructions about what to say and do, knowing that if she's keeping a promise to him, she'll be able to hide the truth).
  • Greg's parents in Meet The Fockers, an extremely liberal and open couple who are too overjoyed that Greg got Pam pregnant before their wedding to keep it under wraps.
  • In SHAZAM! (2019), the 8-year-old Darla accidentally learns that Billy Batson has superpowers, prompting this discussion as they scramble to hide the fact. Fortunately, aside from some brief nervousness from staying quiet, Darla successfully keeps it to herself until others piece it together on their own.
    Billy: Is she even good at keeping secrets?!
    Darla: ...moderate...
    Freddy: No.
    Billy: Oh god.
  • Stand by Me: Charlie and Billy separately blab to their friends about Ray's body just a few hours after solemnly promising each other that they'll never tell anyone what Billy saw. Gordie claims that keeping the secret for even that long was a record for the two.
  • After Nick gets turned into a vampire in What We Do in the Shadows, he makes sure to tell almost everyone he meets. This naturally gets another vampire killed by a vampire hunter.
  • Combined with Witness Protection and Witless Protection, this is the main premise of Our Lips Are Sealed, a DTV-movie starring the Olsen Twins. To go into greater detail:

  • In Chile, the nickname for people like this is "Sanguchito de Palta" (Avocado Sandwich), because just like their namesake you squeeze them just a little and everything comes spilling out.

  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: The only secret Myne can be guaranteed to keep is the exact source of her knowledge. Everything else can fall victim to the fact that she has no brain-to-mouth filter when enthusiastic or deep in thought. Unfortunately, carelessly sharing information becomes more and more dangerous as she climbs up the social ladder, resulting in Myne's mentors constantly having to remind her to watch what she's saying and in whose presence she's saying it.
  • Lori has this trait in the Aunt Dimity series; this trope is frequently invoked and only partly Played for Laughs. This trait is one of those that make her suited to the village gossip hive that is Finch. It's also the reason Bill doesn't tell her where he's sending her and the kids to escape the stalker at the opening of Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea. As it turns out, she's not the one to give that game away; Sir Percy makes an airy remark about taking her over Gretna Green with the stalker hiding in the bushes, so he knows they're going to Scotland and follows them there.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's A Civil Campaign, Simon Illyan develops a bad case of this at a key moment as a side effect of losing his computer-assisted memory.
  • There is a Fairy Tale about a peasant who found some treasure and is afraid that his wife who is like this will get him in trouble. So he starts a Zany Scheme, making her believe that all sorts of bizarre and made-up things are happening before he tells her the secret. Naturally, when she spills the beans and mentions that he found the treasure on the same day when these impossible things happened, the authorities believe her to be crazy, and the treasure nonexisting. Just as the smart peasant had planned.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Rubeus Hagrid is described, quite accurately, by several characters as being "less than discreet", despite his best efforts to the contrary.
      Hagrid: I shouldn't have told you that.
    • Bertha Jorkins is no better at keeping secrets than Hagrid. As Sirius says it once: "She was a bit dim, but she had an excellent memory for gossip. It used to get her into a lot of trouble; she never knew when to keep her mouth shut."
    • Gregorovitch (the continental European wand maker) started telling people that he had the Elder Wand and was trying to replicate its powers. This rumor got around to young Grindelwald who broke into his shop, disarmed him, and got control of it.
  • Jingo: Fred Colon says he's been sworn to secrecy over something, but as the narration notes: "Getting information out of Colon was like getting water out of a flannel" as the man is an inveterate gossip and not good at resisting confrontations.
  • Prosper Merinee's Matteo Falcone plays this one for full-on horror. A child that encounters an escaped prisoner is ordered by the man to swear he will keep secret that he met him, even paying him a silver coin as a bribe. The child instead blabs to the soldiers looking for the fugitive that he met the prisoner and where he saw him last, allowing them to capture him. The child's cousin, the leader of said soldiers, praises the child for this heroic action and gives him a watch as a prize. The child's father, considering the fact he broke his promise an act that besmirches the family's honor and paints him as a traitor, takes him deep in the woods disregarding the pleading of his wife, makes him say his prayers, and blows his head off with a shotgun.
  • In Moby-Dick, Tashtego is sworn to secrecy about a story told to him regarding happenings on another ship. Unfortunately, Tash talks in his sleep...
  • Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls: Abby. Toby tells her about how his dad is in trouble, and that he needs to capture five epic platinum-level monsters for his release. He also tells her to keep it a secret, as the message also said something bad might happen if he tells anyone. The next time Abby sees Charlotte and Izumi, she ends up blabbing the secret to them.
  • In The Wind in the Willows Toad's recklessness includes a tendency to blab any secret he hears, even after promising not to. As a result, his father never told him some important things about Toad Hall.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 7th Heaven: The Camden family? Keeping secrets? HA HA HA—No.
  • Grizz and Dot Com (apparently) on 30 Rock. Liz and Tracy tried to invoke this to create a rumor, but it backfired and they got burned by Gossip Evolution.
  • 'Allo 'Allo!: Lieutenant Grueber had the reputation that he would break the second someone tickled him with a feather, as did Rene himself. Given that they were a Nazi art thief and a French Resistance operative respectively, this was not a good trait to have.
  • Austin & Ally: Dez is bad at keeping secrets such as when he revealed Austin's Embarrassing Middle Name or when he told Trish's boyfriend Jace that Trish entered the dance contest with Chuck.
    • A kid from the A & A Music Factory can't keep secrets either as he went around panicking and trying to avoid Ally after finding out Austin's plan to surprise her during their performance at the karaoke place. He ends up telling her anyway, however.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon can't do impromptu secrets. So he goes way, way overboard constructing elaborate, and usually unnecessary, lies. They fall apart because he's Sheldon.
    • A later episode sees Sheldon and Amy invoke this trope as a social experiment among their friend group (which, for them, is immensely fun). Amy tells Penny that she and Sheldon are sleeping together, and makes her promise not to repeat the information. Penny can't resist sharing the gossip, and Sheldon and Amy have a grand time tracking the rumor's evolution. In The Stinger for the episode, they try again, this time with Amy saying she's pregnant with Sheldon's child ("Mum's the word!"); she gets down a single flight of stairs before Leonard asks her about it, Penny having texted him immediately.
  • On The Brady Bunch, youngest daughter Cindy was infamous for her love of knowing — and sharing — secrets. One episode had her running around bragging that she knew a secret, just to get her siblings to ask her about it — although that case turned out to be a surprisingly sweet subversion: she found out that Bobby had his first kiss from his crush, but it turns out that the girl in question might have mumps, which embarrasses him immensely. When Cindy sees how upset the situation is making him, she decides to keep the secret and claims that her previous gloating was just an act.
  • Marie from Breaking Bad is a world-class blabbermouth.
    Marie: I promise not to tell. All I'll say is, adultery is involved.
  • Charmed:
    • In a first season episode, Phoebe learns that their handyman Leo is essentially an Angel. She tells her sisters by the end of the episode but they don't believe that Leo is magical, which is odd considering that they are themselves are witches...
    • To a lesser extent, Paige. In Season 4, Piper told her not to tell Phoebe that they suspect Cole of being a demon. Paige almost immediately does afterwards.
  • Cheers: In "Truce or Consequences", Carla confides in Diane, only for Diane to turn around and blab the secret to Coach less than 24 hours later. (Well shy of the purported 47.) It turns out the secret was a huge lie in the first place.
  • An episode of Corner Gas revolved around Brent and Lacey competing to see which one of them is a better confidant.
    Emma: See? You both suck.
  • Dog with a Blog: Avery suffers a horrible case of this trope. Whenever she is told a secret, she will panic and start hyperventilating before finally blurting it out.
  • Every time the titular character on Frasier is asked to keep something a secret, you can be sure that by the end of the episode half of Seattle will end up knowing about it - often because he thinks everyone already knows.
  • Friends:
    • Phoebe has a tendency to reveal Monica's secrets to other people, especially Chandler when he's dating Monica. Several times, this starts the episode's argument between Monica and Chandler.
    • Chandler, several times during the series he has accidentally revealed his friends' secrets. Probably his biggest offence is when he revealed to Rachel that Ross was in love with her. In a final season episode, he reveals to a child that they were adopted and then later reveals to Phoebe's nieces and nephew that Phoebe actually gave birth to them.
      Chandler: I'm going to go tell Emma that she was an accident.
    • At one point, Monica learns that Gary is going to ask Phoebe to move in with him, and asks that she doesn't tell Phoebe. Monica manages to hold out for a full 25 seconds before blabbing.
    • When Joey was throwing a party for the cast members of his soap opera on the roof, he didn't tell the others due to them gaining multiple idiocy levels around celebrities (Rachel being the worst of them). After he concedes to allow Rachel to attend the party, she almost immediately heads across the hall, and tells the others "He didn't want me to tell you, so I came over here to tell you guys."
  • Rose on The Golden Girls was well-known for her inability to keep secrets, because she was both a Bad Liar and a Cloud Cuckoo Lander. The other girls knew about this weakness and were quick to exploit it. In one episode, Blanche is able to get Rose to blab by threatening to tickle her.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Lily Aldrin can't keep a secret for her life. It gets especially bad around the holidays as she'll start blurting out what people are getting each other as gifts.
    • Marshall also can't keep secrets specifically from Lily.
    • Ted can't so much not keep secrets as he doesn't understand why something should be a secret unless specifically told so. For example, when Stella told him she hadn't had sex in five years, he immediately told the rest of the gang, much to her annoyance.
  • Kaamelott:
    • It's less a recurring trait than another consequence of his general idiocy, but Perceval has some moments, like when Karadoc wonders if Perceval can keep secrets. Perceval argues that he's great at keeping secrets; for example, he never told anyone what Karadoc had confided in him:
    Perceval (yelling across a crowded room): HEY INNKEEPER! I ever tell you about how Karadoc used to wet the bed until he was seventeen?
    Innkeeper: Uh... Can't say I remember, no.
    Perceval: See, told you.
    • Lancelot (in exile at the time) confesses his Big Secret (his love for Guenievre) to Bohort, who repeats it to Guenievre... unfortunately, Arthur was invisible at the time (Merlin screwed up a potion, again), hears the whole thing them and storms off.
  • A few characters in Kim's Convenience are pretty terrible at keeping secrets:
    • Pastor Nina repeatedly lets slip that Mrs. Park is seeing her for marriage counselling
      Mrs. Park: (about a fur coat) It was a gift from Mr. Park when he forgot our 20th.
      Pastor Nina: I remember those counseling sessions. (Mrs. Park glares at her) Oh, you brought it up so I thought we were just going with it.
    • Mr. Kim's personal record for keeping secrets is... six hours top.
  • LazyTown: Milford tells all of the kids in town Sportacus' surprise party, and almost tells Sportacus.
  • Himitsu no Hanazono (2007): Misuzu blurts out the Awful Truth behind Ryo's success as soon as she finds out. This actually turns out to be for the better, as it helps all four of the Kataoka siblings move on from being part of Yuriko Hanazono and no longer feel the pressure of being in their father's shadow like they used to.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Mitchell:
    Gypsy: Can you guys keep a secret?
    Crow: Never have, never will! Haha!
  • Nick in New Girl is wholly uncomfortable with having secrets. When he has one, he starts sweating uncontrollably. At one point, to try to keep a secret, he wears a head-concealing motorcycle helmet just to buy a little more time of no eye-contact.
  • Odd Squad:
    • According to "O is Not For Old", Otto is terrible at keeping secrets, which is why he doesn't know about Oprah's surprise birthday party until he walks into Precinct 13579's Headquarters and sees party decorations strewn about as Olive lets him into the loop.
    • Ultimately averted in "The Perfect Lunch" when Olympia and Otis go out for lunch together and attempt to keep the secret that they've been solving oddness behind each others' backs to themselves. Both of them end up spilling the secret at the end after they get suspicious of each others' actions — Olympia that was attempting to solve an odd problem of spaghetti growing out of control, and Otis that was attempting to battle a laser chicken on his own.
  • Michael Scott from The Office (US) frequently blurts out people's secrets. On several occasions, it's been due to him showing off what he perceives as a close friendship (evidenced, in his mind, by the fact that they confided in him in the first place) with the person whose secret it is.
  • The Outpost: Janzo promises Wren he won't tell anyone she's pregnant. It doesn't take him even a a day to have spilled it without trying.
  • Andy in Parks and Recreation has a minor nervous breakdown when he learns Leslie and Ben are pregnant and he can't tell anyone. When telling them that he's bad at keeping secrets, he accidentally mentions that Kyle's wife is cheating on him and that his neighbor is in witness protection.
  • Psych: Woody is very open about his inability to keep a secret. When an autopsy's results implicate Shawn and Gus because they manhandled the corpse, he volunteers to be bound and gagged in the Psych office to prevent himself from blabbing.
  • Radio Enfer:
    • Jocelyne feels the need to tell to both Jean-Lou and Mr. Giroux that Carl was depressed after he filled out a psychological test (he wasn't depressed, he just didn't care about the test).
    • In that same episode, Jean-Lou explains to Vincent that he should be kind to Carl because of his depression, only to remember that Jocelyne told him to keep it a secret.
    • During the episode following the one where they hooked up for the first time, Carl and Maria reveal to Vincent and Camille respectively that they were no longer in love with each other, with the latter two having to promise not to tell anybody about it. Camille accidentally tells it to Vincent, who then ends up telling it to her as well because he was tired of keeping it a secret.
  • Virginia on Raising Hope encourages others to blackmail her with a secret of her own to avoid blabbing theirs. This backfires when her family notices her "gossip face" and she ends up telling them her own secret.
  • Saturday Night Live: One recurring series of sketches features Kristen Wiig as Sue, better known as the "Surprise Lady." In each sketch, someone gathers a group of people, including Sue, to announce some exciting news — like someone getting a promotion, a couple revealing that they are pregnant, or a soldier visiting his family for Thanksgiving — and explains that they plan to spring the information as a surprise. Unfortunately, Sue has a borderline fetish for secrets and is often forced to go to extreme lengths, including stuffing a pillow in her mouth or cramming herself inside a vending machine, just to keep her mouth shut. When she comes dangerously close to cracking, she usually ends up violently exiting the scene by leaping out of a window or climbing up a chimney.
  • Averted in Scrubs; Carla usually can't keep secrets, but when Eliot loses her job at another hospital, she manages not to tell Turk and J.D. about it. They can tell she knows something ... so she tells them she's keeping the secret that Eliot smokes a pipe.
  • It's happened to Fran Fine a number of times on The Nanny, like in "One False Mole and You're Dead".
    • And then there's Niles:
    Maxwell: Niles, can you keep a secret?
    Niles: Well, I'm good until I meet another person.
  • Elaine from Seinfeld claims to be excellent at keeping secrets by "locking them in the vault." Unfortunately, Jerry — and everyone else — knows that the "key" to the vault is schnapps; one drink and she's blabbing.
    • Kramer does this a lot, too. Even when he vows to keep it a secret!
    Kramer: You listen to me. You don't tell anybody about this. No one! You hear me?
    Jerry: Mmm-hmm.
    [George comes in]
    Kramer: Hey. Jerry shaved his chest!
    Jerry: HEY!
    Kramer: I forgot. NEVER MIND!
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "Tears of the Prophets," Jadzia shows that the words "private matter" mean nothing to her when Bashir and Quark ask her and Worf what they were talking about:
    Worf: It is a private matter.
    Jadzia: We're thinking about having a baby!
    Worf: It was a private matter.
    • This is actually a Running Gag through the show. When Sisko learns that someone had found out about something, he asks how they found out and the response is "You told Jadzia."
  • Wiseguy. Vinnie Terranova's superiors aren't happy when they find out Bobby Travis is aware that he's an undercover FBI agent.
    "Bobby Travis, the man whose mouth is registered with the American Broadcasting Company?"
  • Young Sheldon: In "Snoopin' Around and the Wonder Twins of Atheism", Connie tells the bartender to keep their conversation to themselves. He immediately calls George about it.

  • From the Jets' "Crush On You":
    You must have heard it from my best friend
    She's always talkin' when she should be listenin'
    Can't keep a secret to save her life
    But still I trusted her with all I felt inside

    Myths & Religion 

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In 2004, after her test came back positive, Lita confides to Stacy Keibler that she's pregnant but asks her not to tell Matt Hardy (Lita's boyfriend) because she wants to tell him herself. Later that same show, Stacy tells Matt.

  • The mid-'70s syndicated five-minute comedy The Secret Adventures of the Tooth Fairy had an installment where a dentist is in a contest to guess which famous person is in the broom closet. He knows and is sworn to secrecy. He eventually blabs out that the famous person is Thomas Edison.
    Nurse: Doctor...are you trying to tell me that Thomas Edison is sitting in the broom closet next door?
    Doctor: No, I'm not. I swore to keep it a secret.

    Video Games 
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, schoolgirl Flayn is really, really bad at hiding the fact that she's actually the thousand-year-old dragon Saint Cethleann and that her supposed brother is actually her father. She refers to her "brother"'s late wife as having been her mother, she refers to an opera house decades old as having been built after she left that city, she insists she's not descended from Cethleann even though she has a magical crest that Cethleann was not known to have given to anyone outside her bloodline, she refers to other dragons as "uncle" when encountering them...
  • In Mass Effect 3, EDI complains that Liara doesn't seem to trust her, and notes that she's become much more paranoid ever since she became the Shadow Broker. If you've played the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, that piece of information is not a surprise, and the conversation continues unabated. But she says it even if you haven't played the DLC.
    Shepherd: Wait, Liara's the Shadow Broker?
    EDI: ...oops.
  • Persona 5: This applies to Shadows in general, since as the embodiment of hidden and repressed feelings they will happily talk about things their real self would really like secret (such as Madarame's shadow outright bragging that he's a plagiarist and con-artist), but the greatest real-world example would be Ryuji, who apparently never got the "phantom" part of Phantom Thieves and likes to openly talk about them in places where he could easily be overheard. And indeed, someone does overhear him- Makoto Nijima, who also records him and Ann talking about it. Luckily for all parties involved, Makoto would rather blackmail them into going after Junya Kaneshiro (mob boss who's been extorting Shujin students) than expose them right out, and eventually becomes a Phantom Thief herself.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Double Homework, Henry blows the cover the “appreciation party” that the protagonist's friends are planning for him.
  • Konomi Yanase in Princess Evangile is horrible at keeping any kind of secret. So much so, that in her route, she just flat-out admits in front of their friends that she and Masaya had sex the other night out loud! Even worse, she tells her parents about it over the phone. Naturally, the other end goes silent for 3 minutes before her shocked mother can reply back.
  • Rie Miyamoto in Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair. Taiko manages to get her to reveal a secret about her best friend Runa- that Runa's in love with Hiro- with a You Just Told Me, while Kamen overhears a conversation between Rie and Runa about the prank they have planned at Rie's Halloween party and demands to be let in on the prank. Raiko snarks in an Internal Monologue that "If she had been any more transparent, she would've been a ghost."

    Web Animation 

  • El Goonish Shive: Catalina has a hard time not yelling any secrets she knows out loud. She did learn to get better at it by keeping her relationship with Rhoda secret at her request, eventually to the point where she's able to keep quiet about having magic without cracking.
  • Harem of Grrl Power due to having a single mind split between five bodies. If one sees or hears something, the other four know and often react instantly, thus making any efforts to tell the body actually present to keep a secret worthless. Sydney once tried to swear her to secrecy, only to hear the other four Harems in the next room spilling the beans already.
  • I Want To Be A Cute Anime Girl: Zack outs his sister to Cheryl while the two are discussing identity, and then when apologizing to his sister over the phone for doing so, he outs Cheryl to her. He's trying his best.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • It's a good thing the rest of the Order usually keeps an eye on him because Elan is very bad at keeping secrets.
      Haley: A secret kind of quest.
      Elan: Yeah, we need to find this guy, Girard Draketooth, and tell him that—
      Haley: Elan!! What part of "secret" do you not understand?
      Elan: The part where I don't tell other people, obviously.
    • Likewise, Veldrina, the elven representative at the Godsmoot, who immediately tells Roy, the person she believed to be delivering her dumplings, that she's on a secret mission.
      Wrecan: That elf has never had a thought that she didn't immediately articulate.
  • Rudy in Rain is known to be bad at keeping the secret that his sister Maria is a lesbian, among other slips.
  • Orrick in Undead Friend is terrible at keeping secrets and everyone can tell when he's trying to lie as they are never well thought out or convincing. He caved in to two of his friends only a couple days into his new life and gets in trouble for it later.

    Web Videos 
  • Noob: La Quête Légendaire: At some point, Sparadrap is doing something that is only technically okay as long as he does not share a certain piece of information with his guildmates. When his brother makes a correct guess on the nature of that information, Sparadrap's immediate reaction is to ask him if he saw his computer screen while he was distracted just a little earlier.
  • The Nostalgia Critic is usually good at keeping his promises, but when it comes to secrets he can't seem to help himself.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: Jeff Fischer, whether it be a surprise Birthday party, a birthday present, a movie's summary/ending or that Roger's an alien. If He were a Doctor, who's supposed to stay true to Doctor-patient confidentiality, his license would be revoked as he would automatically break it.
  • Pam Poovey in Archer has this reputation among her colleagues. Deserved, as can be seen in the following quote.
    Sterling: Good morning everyone. What's this big non-me-telling secret?
    Malory: There's no secret, dear.
    Sterling: Mother, pardon me for one second. Pam?
    Malory: No you don't, Pam!
    Pam: I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm fine...
    Sterling: ...Pam.
    • Archer himself is very bad at keeping secrets, which is very unfortunate considering he's a spy. In fact, he often refers to himself as "The World Greatest Secret Agent" to random people, despite the point of remaining secret.
      • At the end of one episode, Lana threatened to reveal Sterling's emotional trigger to Pam because of this trope, in order to keep all of her bounty reward.
  • Amphibia:
    • Sprig Plantar can't keep a secret to save his life. Even if it's potentially humiliating for the person who told it to him in the first place.
  • Arthur:
    • DW is desperate to be told a secret, any secret, which she then tells other people — because what's the point of knowing a secret if you don't tell? She eventually learns An Aesop about keeping secrets.
    • It's also a Running Gag that Arthur's best friend Buster just cannot keep a secret — whenever Arthur tells him a secret, he'll promise to keep it and then promptly loudly inform the person closest to them that he's got a secret to tell them. When Arthur is still standing right there. It's so bad that in "Blabbermouth", no one can rely on Buster to keep a secret.
  • Linda Belcher from Bob's Burgers can't keep a secret at all. She once informed a friend of hers their plan to trick their landlord into selling the wharf... behind said landlord's back... and not really whispering at all. When Bob sets a trap to find out who has been ruining all his Thanksgiving turkeys and tells Linda about a second turkey, she told everyone else behind Bob's back, making finding the culprit with the trap All for Nothing.
  • In the pilot episode of The Dreamstone, the Dream Maker insists Rufus promise not to tell a soul about the Dreamstone's existence. Within five minutes, he brings Amberley up to the tower to look.
  • Mr. Peevly gives Bananas the Gorilla a bunch of bananas for being a loyal friend of The Hair Bear Bunch, and that he'd never tell the keepers to where they've escaped ("Panda Pandemonium"). Bananas concurs, "I'd never tell anyone that they've escaped to the carnival!"
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes can't keep secrets when he's excited. Even when Beezy can.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Kipo is this at first (she gets better at it) but it was still cause of this trope that kickstart the plot as it made the Mute realize she a burrow girl and could lead them to a burrow full of humans.
  • Gilroy in Little Dogs on the Prairie is this. The second he's told a secret, he blurts it out for all to hear.
  • Leni Loud of The Loud House is a Dumb Blonde, so she's very bad at keeping secrets. She's been shown to spoil surprise parties, TV show endings, and Secret Santas. "No Spoilers" focuses on this very trope; her siblings try to keep her distracted as long as possible while they plan their mom's birthday party so she can't spoil it.
  • In the "Green Isn't Your Color" episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, one of the recurring jokes is Twilight's extreme difficulty in not telling secrets (particularly because of the irony in that telling said secrets would almost immediately solve the episode's conflict).
    • Pinkie Pie — a Motor Mouth and Cloudcuckoolander extreme — surprisingly averts this trope in a later episode, "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows." She's tasked with keeping a huge secret—that Princess Cadence and Shining Armor are going to be parents—and spends the entire episode trying (and failing) to avoid situations that might tempt her to blab. Pinkie comes dangerously close to cracking several times, but manages to hold in the news until it is officially revealed (though the pressure breaks her apart in the end).
  • Ready Jet Go!:
    • Jet has a hard time keeping his alien identity a secret.
    • Even the Propulsions have a hard time keeping other secrets. In "Earthday Birthday", Carrot and Celery let slip that a surprise party is being planned to Jet, luckily they don't tell him that it is for him (to celebrate the anniversary of when he arrived on Earth)
  • The Simpsons:
    • In a Flash Back episode to when Maggie was born, Marge begs her sisters Patty & Selma to not tell until she's ready to inform her husband.
      Marge: I've got to tell Homer about this baby in just the right way and at just the right time. Until then, please, keep this to yourselves.
      Patty: Oh, if he found out now, it would probably destroy him, huh?
      Marge: Oh, yes.
      Patty and Selma: [exchange evil grins and get up] Gotta go!
      Marge: Wait a minute! Wait, I know that look. Now promise you won't tell Homer.
      Selma: Oh, we promise we won't tell... Homer.
      [they go to the phone book and open it to page one]
      Patty: Hello, is this A. Aaronson? It might interest to you to know that Marge Simpson is pregnant again.
      Patty: [on the phone with a weary voice] Just thought you'd like to know, Mr. Zykowski. [hangs up, sighs] There. Aaronson and Zykowski are the two biggest gossips in town. In an hour, everyone will know.
    • Also used in "Stark Raving Dad" when Homer's friend (supposedly Michael Jackson) tells Homer to ask Bart to keep his visit a secret.
      Bart: No Dad, I will not tell another another living soul... [listens on phone] ...No, not even Milhouse.
      [Bart hangs up phone, before struggling to keep his hand away; he submits and quickly dials Milhouse]
      Bart: Hey Milhouse, can you keep a secret?
      Milhouse: No.
      Bart: Oh, who cares! Michael Jackson is coming to my house!
    • Also played with in another episode, where Homer overhears Moe proclaim he'll give a free beer to the gossiper "Mr X" (Homer's secret alias). Homer whispers if Moe can keep a secret, he claims no, not even a little one.
    • The Springfield Mob keep a guy named Frankie the Squealer, who will randomly spout private details about his coworkers even as they're beating him up over it.
    • Do not expect Lisa Simpson to keep a secret, not even if making it known would imperil her whole family, as long as she (and only she) can claim to have kept a clean conscience in the end.
    • The episode "Lisa Gets An 'A'" has her begged by Principal Skinner, Superintendent Chambers, Gil Gunderson and technically Ralph to keep the fact she cheated in a single test a secret so the school will obtain some very desperately needed additional funding (to make it even more hypocritical she cheated because she wasted the time she could have used to study being obsessed with a Crash Bandicoot Expy and she starts to believe a single bad grade ever will prevent her from going Ivy League). At the climax, it turned out that Skinner knew perfectly well that Lisa wouldn't keep that secret no matter what so he convinced everybody to help put up a fake meeting with the district Comptroller and let Lisa speak out then get her out of the way so they could get the check.
    • In "Gangsta Rap", Lisa discovers that Bart faked being kidnapped to cover up the fact he ran out of the house to go to a rap concert, a lie that will endanger the livelihoods of many people, from Chief Wiggum down to her own father if it's revealed (even Kirk Van Houten, the man who was wrongly convicted for the crime, is perfectly happy living in prison because his life outside sucks that much). She not only continues her search once this is all explained to her, but the only man willing to help her is Skinner, and he makes perfectly clear that he is only doing this to make Bart suffer.
  • 6teen: Given her gossipy nature, if somebody tells Caitlin a secret, it is almost guaranteed that she will spill it. She told her Guy of the Week all of the gang's most embarrassing stories in "Pillow Talk" after promising to keep the stories only among the group, and she reveals Jude's secret girlfriend Melinda to the gang in "Silent Butt Deadly".
  • On South Park, Eric Cartman is apparently physically unable to keep secrets. It's part of his tremendous ego—he just has to brag about knowing things that other people don't so they'll pay attention to him and think he's cool. Unlike other examples, Cartman is at least somewhat aware of this tendency, as he'll occasionally try to prevent himself from blabbing, but it never works.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Patrick Star is too dumb to keep a secret. In fact, it's thanks to him that Mr. Krabs finds out where their hiding place is.
  • Total Drama:
    • In Island, Lindsay assures Heather that she can keep a secret, right before revealing her sister's most embarrassing secret on international television.
      Linsday: Oops... sorry Paula.
    • In Revenge of the Island, Cameron accidentally tells first Scott (though Scott manipulated him into it), then Zoey about Mike's multiple personalities, though it only does damage the first time as Mike reveals them himself to Zoey soon afterwards.
  • Totally Spies!: Don't tell Alex to keep a secret. Just don't.
  • The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: This is revealed to be the case for Birdie the Early Bird in the final video The Monster O'McDonaldland Loch, where it turns out she blabbed the embarrassing secrets of Grimace and Hamburglar after they told her in confidence. She ultimately has to prove she can keep a secret when she encounters the titular monster and he implores that she keep his existence under wraps.
  • Wander over Yonder:
    Wander: [to Lord Hater] [Sylvia] wanted to come, but she had to go to the bathroom! Zbornaks only go once every like, five months? Crazy huh?! She told me it takes a while and it's kind of embarrassing and so she doesn't want everybody knowing about it so she said [as Sylvia] Wander, don't go blabbing like you always do! Oh...

    Real Life 
  • Subverted with Sir Christopher Lee when an interviewer asked about his World War II experiences in Britain's Special Operations Executive. Lee leaned in and asked, "Can you keep a secret?" The interviewer said yes, at which point Lee replied "So can I." So much for that question.
  • Newt Gingrich's mother, unfortunately, fell for it in a 1995 interview, when Connie Chung wanted to know what her son really thought about Hillary Clinton. "Whisper it to me, just between you and me," Chung coaxed her. The trusting Mrs. Gingrich leaned forward and whispered in confidence, "She's a bitch," and it was aired across the nation. Apparently by "just between you and me," Chung actually meant, "just between you, me, and the entire viewing audience."
  • Tom Holland is so bad at not leaking spoilers for the Marvel Cinematic Universe that the producers resorted to removing all the scenes his character is not in from his script for both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. They also had Benedict Cumberbatch co-interviewing with him for nearly all of his press tour promoting both movies to help rein in the spoiling. His tendency for this got lampshaded when the producers had him appear at the beginning of the second trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home and tell the audience that the trailer contained spoilers for Endgame so please don't watch it if they haven't seen that movie first.
    • The producers have started capitalizing on it; the staged poster reveal for Infinity War was Tom getting the poster as a gift from Mark Ruffalo (see below), and only reading the paper that said 'Confidential: DO NOT SHARE' after he'd shown it off to all his Instagram followers in the unboxing video.
  • Mark Ruffalo is easily the second-worst offender after the aforementioned Holland, most notably when he accidentally bootlegged Thor: Ragnarok (he forgot to close his livestream going to an early showing), and then, while promoting Avengers: Infinity War with Don Cheadle, he nearly revealed that half the cast dies at the end. It got to the point where he received multiple, completely different scripts during the filming of Avengers: Endgame as a precaution by Marvel Studios just in case he accidentally spoiled something.
  • Dan Southworth is known as the Tom Holland of Devil May Cry for his inability to keep secrets. His biggest blunder was revealing Devil May Cry 5 existed all the way back in 2015 followed by Reuben Langdon attempting damage control. Then there were two separate conventions (2007 before DMC4 and 2015 before DMC5) where Dan introduced Johnny Yong Bosch as his son.
  • Pedro Pascal struggles to avoid spoiling some of his projects. He let slip to a Narcos producer that Oberyn would die by the end of Game of Thrones Season 4, gave a very detailed Wonder Woman 1984 synopsis to an Uber driver, and blabbed The Mandalorian's real name in an EPK interview. When he can resist spilling a secret about a project, sometimes he jokes that the studio installed a safeguard in his brain.
  • The late-Victorian/early-Edwardian socialite Daisy Grenville, Countess of Warwick, was nicknamed "Babbling Brooke" because her husband's courtesy title (before he became Earl of Warwick) was Lord Brooke and, well, she babbled. A very well-connected woman who, besides being married to the eventual Earl of Warwick, was The Mistress of the Prince of Wales and eventual King Edward VII, she was privy to a great chunk of the dealings of the British upper crust. Unfortunately for all involved, she had a habit of telling anyone who would listen about the latest bit of juicy gossip, including much that was embarrassing to her husband and her lover. It should surprise no one that when the Prince of Wales finally broke up with her, her loose tongue was one of several reasons why.
  • According to Mark Hamill, the late Carrie Fisher was this. "Telephone, telegraph, tell Carrie." He and Harrison Ford would test her by telling her something and asking her to keep it in confidence, and then everyone else would know about the "secret".


Video Example(s):


Pentious Ignores Frank

Alastor threatens the Egg Boiz Frank not to tell anyone about the angel's killer. But Frank is too dumb and tells it to Pentious anyway at the end of the episode, who just ignores it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / IgnoredConfession

Media sources: