10 Guaranteed Ways to Ruin a Family Reunion

Spill Family Secrets
Blabbing other people’s private information is never a good idea. ©iStockphoto.com/Factoria Singular

In 2011, Oprah Winfrey spilled a family secret, not at a family reunion barbeque but rather on a televised special -- a secret that family members had kept hidden (even from Oprah) since the early 1960s: Oprah's half-sister.

Most secrets aren't kept that long. In fact, tell your sister a secret and she's likely to spill the beans in just 32 minutes, according to a survey conducted for the skincare company Simple. The study also found 85 percent of women are gossip hounds, and 13 percent admit they intentionally tell secrets [source: Daily Mail].

Family secrets, though, sometimes do stay quiet for years. Stories of affairs, abuse, abortion, adoption and even lifestyle choices can remain skeletons in the family closet because they involve feelings of shame, anxiety, fear and other intense emotions. While sharing secrets may relieve a burden you're carrying, others may not share that feeling; experts recommend before spilling those secrets at a family gathering, consider whether some secrets may be better kept secret, or if maybe there's a better circumstance to bring them up.