Should you really share about your past? How much should you talk about yourself in a conversation? When should you tell someone you are interested in them romantically? All these questions and a few zillion more are asked on a daily basis within the walls of a therapist’s office. The answer of course is… it all depends.
While there is a general idea that sharing ideas helps foster trust, communication, and openness… everything is done within context. For instance, one wouldn’t share their past medical history with the bank teller while making a deposit. The same is true in relationships. The mastery of when and where and how to share depends a great deal upon the situation.
Many people claim they want to know everything about you … and in the first blush of a relationship … this isn’t necessarily a false statement. However, pacing helps you get to know the other person, yourself, and how to gain trust with one another over time. You can share every little detail that you can think of about yourself and yet we as humans hit a certain saturation point. We can only take in so much data even about the potential love of our life.
We want to know everything often as a way to manage our insecurities, fears, and control our environment. So sometimes we share everything in hopes of setting the other at ease.
There is a balance that is struck when two people naturally connect. Here is a rule of thumb if you are unsure: share at the same level and pace as the person you are talking with… they are giving you a great starting point for what they are already comfortable with in discussions.
It takes practice to learn when and how much to share. Don’t expect to get it right every time. The more you interact with others, build relationships, and get feedback, the more you will trust yourself. Plus if you ever feel as if you have no idea what to share or not share … there is the fall back safe and secure topic of the weather.