Self-Disclosure in Relationships

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Self-Disclosure 1
Self-Disclosure in Relationships
We as individuals’ decide what, when and to whom, and how much to disclose personal thoughts and feelings. Although level of self-disclosure and personal relationships are not synonymous concepts, self-disclosure plays an important role in constructing what kind of relationships individuals have with each another.1 Self-disclosure, depending on reactions of relationship partners, also plays an important role in validating self-worth and personal identity.2

The best place to begin is with a definition. Self-disclosure is the process of deliberately revealing information about oneself that is significant and would not naturally be known by others. Self-disclosure must be deliberate. One way by which we judge the strength of our relationships is the amount of information we share with other. Opening up certainly is important; one ingredient in qualitatively interpersonal relationships is disclosure. Competent communicators use self-disclosure selectively. They make choices about disclosing information judiciously, with awareness of the positive and negative consequences of doing so. They may weigh the impact that disclosing information might have on the growth and well-being of a relationship. In addition, they may consider how learning personal information about themselves may affect another person, especially in light of that person’s receptivity and trustworthiness to respond well to what has been disclosed. Self- Disclosure 2

One of the main reasons we engage in self-disclosure is because of how it affects other people’s perceptions of us, and indeed, our perceptions of other people. We want others to like us so we tell them our secrets. Does this really work or is it just a fantasy that we have and try to make come true. The historical background to self-disclosure research, definitions of self-disclosures, disclosure trajectories, reasons for and against disclosure, disclosure as a...
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