Why you should NEVER read someone’s diary

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I can still remember the day vividly—I came from school a happy 10-year-old kid. I threw my backpack on the ground and ran upstairs to write in my baby blue journal. However, when I opened my desk drawer, I saw that it wasn’t there. Soon, all of my desk drawers, cabinets and shelves were foraged through, and I still couldn’t find it. At this point, I started to panic because I didn’t have any lock or even label on my diary, and it can easily be mistaken for a regular notebook.

As I began to search for it around my house, I heard an oddly familiar phrase coming from my downstairs living room: “Dear Diary…”. My legs bolted down the stairs, and I saw that my brother was reading an entry to my dad. Since the entry was long, I’ll summarize it—it was basically about how I loathed studying math and why I found it so difficult. As my brother read this to my dad, I saw the disappointment in his eyes and felt anger raging inside me. To this day, I still don’t forgive my brother for reading my journal.

And to all of you who think it’s fun to look at someone else’s personal thoughts, it’s not. Whether it’s drawings, a diary or journal, memoir, or anything else, it is NOT okay. Here are three reasons why it is not okay to read someone’s diary:

You can NEVER truly understand the context of the entry

Even if it was depicting an incident that you were involved in or know of, you can not completely understand that person’s point of view. From this, if you come to a conclusion that negatively labels another person’s character, you are damaging your relationship. In addition, some points that are written may shock, disappoint, or scare a reader, but if you know why they are written, it will change your comprehension of the scenario.

You are breaking your trust with the person

The entire point of a diary is that it’s supposed to be kept a secret. It is not a newspaper for everyone to read; it is a personal timeline for that person. If you decide to read your friend’s diary, you are basically saying, “I don’t care about your privacy.” Consequently, you are fracturing your relationship and causing irreparable damage. Although you think it’s a small issue, you are showing your friend that you can’t handle them having secrets and thoughts they may not want to share.

You learn about their personal problems

While this may seem like a strange reason, it is actually quite reasonable. People have problems that they will not tell you about for a reason; that may be because they are embarrassed or confused. You don’t have a right to know about every one of their problems. If you read their diary and try to “solve” their problems, you will make it worse.

All in all, I have one message—Do not read someone else’s diary. As someone whose diary has been read, I will tell you that it hurts.