Naturally I am someone who is quite closed off, mainly because I don’t feel the need to be telling everyone my business. I like knowing that I have control over what people know about me and that not everyone has had the luxury of knowing a lot about me. I also think I am a good judge of character and will not be open with people I don’t feel comfortable around. In addition, I have come to realise that I don’t like talking about myself. If you’ve ever had a conversation with me then you may have noticed that I spent the majority of it listening to you and, whenever you asked me a question or tried to engage me more, I diverted the topic back to you in order to avoid talking about myself. I tend to do this subconsciously.
I have had a few people in my life complain about how closed off I am and then proceed to encourage (but it felt more like force) me to open up. I used to feel so guilty about not being open and would try to be more forthcoming about my thoughts and feelings, only to instantly regret saying anything. Over time something dawned on me: if someone has to force me to open up to them, that is not the person I should be opening up to. This should be something that should occur naturally, not under duress.
Being open with people requires trust, and finding trustworthy people is often a trial and error process. Sometimes it takes telling someone something and seeing their response to realise that they are not the person you should be open with. You also don’t need to be open with everyone about everything, even your close friends. There are some people that are better suited to advise on some issues, and some people who will be more understanding of certain situations. It takes a lot of wisdom to when to open up and who to open up to.
When considering who you can open up to, there are certain characteristics to look for. You want to find someone who is understanding and will not jump to judge you or the situation. You want someone who is a good listener and will not be too quick to offer their own opinion. You want someone who is not pushy and won’t try and push you beyond what you are comfortable sharing. You want someone who respects any boundaries you have set; for example, if you don’t want them to bad mouth the person you are talking about, make that clear and ensure that they follow this. Finally, you want someone who offers good advice and will actually help you with the issue.
Opening up is not a scam and can be very beneficial, so long as you do it in the right way.