Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin
queerbychoice

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I'm shocked that my self-disclosure to friends isn't 100%. Also a bit shocked that my self-disclosure to family isn't 0%.

But I wish these personality test things weren't so often scored as though there are "right" and "wrong" answers. People's self-disclosure levels depend on their own personal preferences and circumstances. It's not fair to suppose that some test writer who never met me can judge how much of myself I ought to share with which people in my life.




Results of the Self Disclosure Test

Self Disclosure Index
Your score = 36

Self-Disclosure in Detail

Family
Your score = 13

Friends
Your score = 78

Acquaintances
Your score = 18

Strangers
Your score = 36


In general, your score on the test suggests that, although you may occasionally self-disclose, you tend to avoid sharing too much personal information with other people. You are more likely to open up if someone asks about your thoughts and feelings, if s/he shows interest, or if you know it's a "safe" area to discuss. You might have a tendency to bottle up emotions, which could prove to be unhealthy for you and your relationships. True, self-disclosure can be overdone, but in your case, that's not much of a concern. You might want to give it some thought, and ponder whether some of the advice given below could have some beneficial effects.

Self-disclosing to family members
When dealing with your family, you tend to clam up, and avoid revealing much or any of your personal thoughts, feelings and experiences. This may be a result of either your comfort level with family members, or your own character. If the issue lies with your family, you may want to consider how it might be changed. Do your other family members seem open to the possibility of developing a closer relationship? You just might be the one to open up the doors of communication! If it's you who is unwilling or unable to share, ponder some of the questions outlined below. Try to figure out the reasons behind your hesitation and use some of the advice to get over it. Family or individual counseling could also help you to better relate to your loved ones.

Note
Of course, it's possible that you have good reasons to be mistrustful of your family. Perhaps they hurt you beyond the point of redemption. If you have given this issue a lot of thought and came to the conclusion that you need to cut the ties with your family (or certain members), then stick with it. [Note: That is exactly what I have done.]

Self-disclosing to friends
Your results show that you let the floodgates open and share with your pals, no (or few) holds barred. You have reached a level of comfort, trust and closeness that allows you to show even your vulnerable side. The ability to self-disclose is a great tool in any relationship, and will certainly keep the lines of communication flowing between you and the people that matter most to you. If your openness is reciprocated, it should lead to deeper and deeper levels of friendship. Bravo!

Advice & Tips: How to get closer?
The fact is, you may be missing out on some of the benefits of self-disclosure. Opening up allows us to develop close bonds with our families and serves as a healthy outlet for releasing stress (everyone needs to get things off their chest every once and awhile).

If you suspect that the hesitancy to reveal personal things to your family or friends stems from your own personal issues, take some time to ponder the following questions:

Do you feel sharing your thoughts, feelings and problems will only burden your family? Yes, often.
Do you think that your family can't help you with personal issues, that you have to deal with them alone? Yes, nearly always.
Do you think your problems or thoughts are too trivial or unimportant to share? No.
Do you feel your family will no longer like you if they know intimate details about you? Sort of, but it's not as though I consider them to like me now either, since they don't even really know me.
Do you avoid talking about your experiences or feelings because it is too difficult or painful for you to re-hash them? Not usually.
Do you fear your family will have different views, and opening up will inevitably lead to tension or clashes? Oh yes. Endless, eternal, neverending, forever-and-ever tension and clashes. And since there's no chance of them ever turning into the kinds of people who I would choose to be friends with, there's no way they're worth that kind of drain on my time and energy and emotions.
In summary, one of the key issues is how much you accept and appreciate yourself. In order to open up to others, even your own family, you need to feel good about who you are and what you have to share. Of course, we all have faults and mistakes we are ashamed of, but do you generally like yourself? Yes, in fact I like myself very well, thank you very much for your concern.

Self-disclosing to acquaintances
Your answers indicated a reluctance to open up and reveal any (or very little) personal information with acquaintances, such as the waitress at your favorite restaurant or co-workers you run into from time to time. You could be keeping to yourself out of shyness, or perhaps a lack of interest in taking casual relationships to a higher level. You may want to consider, however, some of the benefits of opening up that you might be missing out on. Is it possible that the student who sits next to you in your night class could be a potential study partner, or even friend? Have you missed out on possible job connections or tennis pals because you kept a distance from acquaintances?

There is also the danger of people interpreting your hesitancy to self-disclose as snobby or even rude. If you feel happy with the way things are in your life, this tendency may not pose any problems. Someday, however, you may find yourself in a situation (such as a new job, new city, school, etc.) when the skill of sharing a little bit about yourself may come in handy. So why not start practicing now?

Self-disclosing to strangers
While not dishing all the dirt on your life, you self-disclose some information to strangers, perhaps when you feel comfortable and unthreatened. Yours is a balanced attitude. Even at that, it could be useful to take a look at the situations in which you self-disclose, and make sure you are not taking any potentially harmful risks. Telling someone in a movie line, for example, the name of the director when you hear him/her asking a friend is probably harmless. However, chatting it up with a stranger in the bar about where you live and work, for example, is potentially risky.

All friendships start out as two strangers getting to know each other. There is nothing wrong with opening up to an individual you feel you have something in common with. If you feel this stranger is someone you could be friends with by all means, get to know each other. Sharing personal information with strangers can be fine as long as you use careful judgment and learn to trust to your instincts.
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