When you meet someone new, are you one of those people who immediately share personal and initmate details of your life? Or are you someone who holds back such information and shares only the deeply private things about yourslef with a select few?
This sharing personal details about your life - your feelings, thoughts, memories, and other such things - is referred to as self-disclosure.
Building a successful relationship involves a mutual give-and-take between partners. Self-disclosure may be more limited init early stages of a new relationship, but part of the reason people grow closer and more deeply involved is that they become progressively more open to sharing with their partner.
In order to build a deep and trusting relationship, some level of self-disclosure is necessary and the more intimate the relationship, the deeper this disclosure tends to be.
So how do people determine what to disclose about themselves and when? According to social penetration theory, the process of getting to know another person is characterzed by a reciprocal sharing of person information.
This back-and-forth self-disclosure influences how a relationship develops, including how quickly the relationship forms and how close the relationship becomes.
At the beginning stages of a relationship, people tend to be more cautious about how much they share with others. Whether you are at the early stages of friendship, a working partnership, or a romantic affiar, you will probably be more reticent about sharing your feelings, hopes, thoughts, dreams, fears, and memories. As the relationship becomes closer, as you begin to share more and more with the other person, your level of self-disclosure will also increase as well.
Reasons Why People Share More
If someone shares a painful experience form their recent past, then you might also feel a need to relate a smilar difficulty that you faced in your own life.
Why do we feel a need to reciprocate in such situation? When someone shares something intimate, it creates a sort of imbalance. You suddenly know a great deal about this other person, but they might not know as much about you.
In order to even out this perceived inequity, you might choose to share something that will help even out the levels of shared information between you and the other indiviual.