- The Dos and Don’ts of Texting Someone You Want to Date
- Don’t ‘wait X days to reach out’
- Don’t ever just text ‘Hey/Hi/Hello’
- Focus your early texts on making plans
- Keep calm and don’t be pushy
- Grammar and spelling matter more than you think
- Always mind your tone
- Don’t overthink response time
- Know when to stop texting
- How to Text Professionally Every Time
- 1. Don’t communicate big, important decisions through text
- 2. Don’t send bad news via text
- 3. Cool it on the abbreviations
- 4. Watch your tone
- 5. Look at texting as a complement to other communication
- So, when is texting appropriate?
- The Psychology of Texting: How Your Cell Phone Reveals The Inner You
- Three Simple Rules That Will Improve Your Text Game Instantly
- So what happened!?
- Outcome in Mind
- The 18 Unwritten Rules of Texting You Should Know
- What Is Self-Disclosure?
- Why Is Self-Disclosure Important?
- Self-Disclosure and Relationships with Others
- 1. Promotes Attraction
- 2. Builds Trust
- 3. Makes You Feel Special
- 4. Determines How a Relationship Develops
- 5. Helps Lengthen Relationships
- 6. Helps You Gain Self-Acceptance
- 7. Gives You a Go-To Person
The Dos and Don’ts of Texting Someone You Want to Date
Photo: Getty Images
Scoring the phone number of someone you’re interested in feels a major victory, and it is. But it’s also just the beginning.
Once you’ve got that number in hand, you have to figure out what to actually text the person, and when, and how often. So no pressure, but your entire romantic future here could be determined by your first few text messages.
Here’s the best way to approach texting someone you want to date, according to the experts.
Don’t ‘wait X days to reach out’
The first text is always the hardest. How long do you wait to message that cute guy from the gym? If you ask around, some people will tell you to wait for “this many days” before you make contact, but that strategy is flat-out silly. Dating columnist Dr.
Nerdlove told us that you should always touch base sooner rather than later.
If you don’t text them relatively soon (or sit around hoping for them to text you first), a couple things can happen: that cute guy at the gym will either forget about you and that he gave you his number at all, or he’ll assume you’re not actually interested.
Nerdlove recommends you text them in the same day or night to keep the emotional momentum going and to solidify yourself in their memory. You’ll become “that cute girl from the gym” instead of “some girl that I guess I talked to other day?”
What you say in your first text message is important (more on that later), but it isn’t nearly as important as you actually reaching out. Don’t be afraid of the initial text message. As online dating coach Patrick King explains, they’ve already given you their number because there is some mutual attraction there, so you don’t have to stress as much about the possibility of rejection.
When you do send that first text, however, Regina Lynn, the author of The Sexual Revolution 2.0, suggests you follow the same etiquette as phone calls. Don’t text him at odd hours, late at night or really early in the morning.
Texting the cute guy from the gym when he’s trying to sleep will turn that “yay she’s texting me!” moment into “why is that girl waking me up?” Not a great first impression.
Dating has always been an odd experience. There are rules, but nobody knows them. There are…
Don’t ever just text ‘Hey/Hi/Hello’
This was by far the most common advice you’ll find: don’t just text someone “hey.” In fact, if you browse some online dating profiles you’ll probably find people sharing the same advice. While writing the book Modern Romance, comedian Aziz Ansari and Dr.
Eric Klinenberg, Professor of Sociology at New York University, organized hundreds of focus groups to decipher the modern dating landscape.
When they asked the focus groups about their personal texts, they found that participants unanimously agreed that the “hey” text is a bad idea.
As Ansari and Dr. Klinenberg explain, the “hey” text seems a perfectly harmless message to send, but that one word says a lot more than you realize. It’s generic, dull, and lazy.
It makes the recipient feel they’re not very special or important, and it makes you as the sender seem the same way. No information is being shared, nothing is being asked of the recipient, and it’s incredibly easy to ignore.
A good first text will explain who you are and reference your previous interaction in some way.
Focus your early texts on making plans
After you’ve made contact, focus your early text conversations on making plans. It’s exciting when that cute girl from OkCupid seems way into texting you, but as Christine Hassler, the author of 20-Something, 20-Everything, suggests, too much pre-date texting smothers any spark you might have on your actual first date:
That can make you over-think what you say and do on the date, instead of being your natural self. It’s you’re on your second date in terms of info, but you first date in terms of physical chemistry, which can make things awkward.
Emily Morse, the host of the Sex With Emily podcast, calls this problem “premature escalation”:
Since our whole world is so instant now, people can craft entire personas through their slew of texts. . . by the time you meet your partner for an actual date, you’ve built up this whole image and fantasy in your head of who you think they are, and then they turn out to be totally different.
While making plans, be as direct as possible. During their focus groups, Ansari and Dr.
Klinenberg also noticed a texting trend they dubbed the “secretary problem,” where potential couples would spend so much time trying to “pencil each other in” they would burn out and the spark would fizzle before the first meetup.
We asked Vanessa Marin, licensed marriage and family therapist and Lifehacker contributor, how to avoid the “secretary problem,” and she said it’s all about being specific:
Make specific plans. It’s easy to make a vague commitment via text, , “let’s talk Friday about doing something this weekend.” If you’re genuinely interested in the person, suggest a specific day and time for your date.
Don’t text “Wanna do something this weekend?” Instead, say “Hey, I’d love to take you out for dinner Wednesday night.
” If you can make a callback reference to a previous interaction— a restaurant or type of food you both talked about—it’s even better.
Say something “Hey, how about dinner at that restaurant we talked about on Wednesday night? Around 8-ish?” As Chelsea Clishem at Patti Knows advises, texting should be the prelude to a conversation, not the conversation itself.
Most first dates are less about trying to make sparks fly and more about getting a feel for who…
Keep calm and don’t be pushy
Don’t make your early text messages an interview. Not only will you use up all your conversation starters before you actually meet that “guy your friend set you up with,” you’ll probably create unnecessary stress for yourself.
King suggests that texts dependent on responses will leave you feeling anxious and insecure.
Did they get my text? Why aren’t they answering? Did I offend them somehow? Are they ignoring me? The fewer direct questions you send their way, the fewer responses you have to stress about.
Also, just because the guy you’re being set up with doesn’t answer right away doesn’t mean he’ll never answer you. Nerdlove recommends you always give them plenty of time to respond and always avoid being pushy:
Unless the two of you are already having a conversation – having moved from online dating to texting, for example or from when you met – text sparingly. If a conversation starts, great; if not, don’t stress it.
Some people don’t text much… If you *are* already talking, follow the flow of conversation. Don’t try to force it; if things taper off, let them. It’s much easier to make someone lose interest by being too pushy.
Good text conversation, according to Nerdlove, is a tennis match. When you serve the first text, wait for him to return the ball and send one back:
If you’re doing most of the talking or all you’re getting back are one or two word responses, then you’re pushing too hard and they’re losing interest. Dial it back (without calling attention to it – “Well, I’m clearly boring you” is annoying *and* passive-aggressive) and let them re-initiate.
If he doesn’t, wait at least a day before you send another. A good rule of thumb is to keep it to one text per response per day.
If your conversation has seemed to completely die off, and you’re worried the guy you were set up with has lost interest (or forgot about your upcoming date), Nerdlove mentions that it’s okay to reach out cautiously.
A text “looking forward to seeing you tomorrow” isn’t a bad idea. It helps confirm that your date is still on and it shows your interest in a way that doesn’t come across as being overeager or pushy.
Grammar and spelling matter more than you think
While it’s debatable whether grammar and spelling matters in texts overall, you’re better off using proper English in your initial texts with someone you’d to date. Ansari and Dr.
Klinenberg said that bad grammar and spelling was considered a turn off in every interview they did with focus group participants.
Generally, interviewees explained that it made the sender seem unintelligent and lazy.
Avoid using shortened “chatspeak” “l8r,” “2day,” “b4,” and “plz.” It might be fine with your friends, but it will make a bad impression on someone you’re romantically interested in. Chatspeak can also be easily misunderstood if the receiver doesn’t know the abbreviations you use.
All in all, stick to correctly-spelled words and clear language—at least at first. Don’t text the girl from work “fyi i frgt have an appt l8r idk if i can meet 2day.” Say something clear “I forgot I have an appointment this afternoon.
I’m so sorry, do you mind if we reschedule our date for tomorrow?”
The punctuation you use matters as well. Research suggests that using periods to end all of your messages can make them seem “too final” and insincere. At the same time, an exclamation point has been shown to make messages seem more sincere.
For example, there’s a big difference between the texts “I’m fine.” and “I’m fine!” when you’re on the receiving end. The first almost looks angry, while the other one seems light and carefree.
Also, if you’re asking a question, always use a question mark to avoid confusion.
Ending a text message with a period might make it grammatically correct, but a recent study…
Always mind your tone
As Nerdlove explains, tone is incredibly difficult to gauge via text. Even if you’re using emoji and emoticons, you need to be careful with jokes, teasing, and even flirting.
You may think you’re being flirty and silly, but they might think you’re being serious and crossing the line. Use the other person’s real name early on, not nicknames or pet names.
Yes, you want to let the cute guy from the gym know that you’re attracted to him, but only referring to him as “handsome” or “gorgeous” could be taken the wrong way, or worse, make them think you forgot their name.
If you want to use humor, Nerdlove suggests the safest route is to callback something from a previous interaction. For the cute guy from the gym, make a joke about the gym (or working out) since that’s how you met. You should be especially cautious, however, of using sarcasm in your texts.
It rarely reads as well as it sounds in your head. If you really want to try, however, a study published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests that using some emoji, emoticons, or an ellipses can help.
A text “I can totally out-bench you ;-)” reads a lot better than the matter-of-factly “I can totally out-bench you.”
If you have a feeling something might be taken the wrong way, stop yourself. Laurel House, the author of Screwing the Rules: The No-Games Guide to Love, suggests you take another look at your text before you send it and read it out loud to yourself.
When it comes to sticking with safe subject matter, a good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t talk to them about something in person, you shouldn’t talk about it over text. Lastly, keep your selfies and other pictures to yourself unless it has been okayed by them.
Never send unsolicited anything.
Don’t overthink response time
While the world of romantic texting isn’t a large field of study (yet), there is some research that suggests you shouldn’t answer every text immediately upon receiving it. For Modern Romance, Ansari and Dr. Klinenberg found there was a general cultural consensus that you shouldn’t ever text back right away.
According to their focus groups, texting back immediately can potentially make you seem overeager or desperate. It may seem a little strange to intentionally blow off a text, but it’s possible it will make you more desirable—at least in the short term.
All that being said, Marin recommends you don’t overthink it too much:
So many people waste a lot of time and energy trying to figure out the exact right amount of hours or days to wait before responding. The thing is, we’re all so attached to our phone that we know the person has seen our message. Sure, you can wait a few minutes so as not to appear completely overeager, but just respond when you see the message.
It doesn’t hurt to wait a little bit if you’re really worried about coming across as overeager, but don’t adhere to some bizarre rule about “always waiting twice as long as they took to respond” or “always waiting three minutes to respond.” If you want to respond, respond.
If you’re keeping your early text conversations focused on the right things ( making plans and carefully showing your interest in them), you shouldn’t have to worry about seeming overeager anyway.
If things go well, after a few dates you’ll develop your own texting repertoire between the two of you and it won’t matter.
Know when to stop texting
Okay, so OkCupid girl hasn’t responded to your last text for two days. What do you do? Dating expert Joan Actually at the Zoosk channel suggests you shoot them a text that doesn’t beg for an answer to feel things out.
Send something “Just finished Making a Murderer on Netflix. It’s crazy!” or “On my way to the water park. So excited!” If you get any questions or other responses, they’re probably still interested. If not, it may be time to move on.
When it comes to throwing in the towel, Nerdlove shares his golden rule:
One unreturned text could be tech problems. Two unreturned texts could be bad luck or someone being busy. Three unreturned texts is a message. Move on.
Of course, if you’re on the other end of things, it’s definitely polite to at least say something —especially if you’ve already met in person before. Marin explains that you should avoid “ghosting,” or completely avoiding any contact with the other person:
Don’t ghost. Texting is so easy and non-confrontational that there’s really no excuse for ghosting. If the other person is halfway decent, treat them with respect and let them know you’re not interested. Keep it simple with something , “thank you for the invitation but I don’t feel enough of a connection.”
If they continue to bug you after you’ve said you’re not interested, however, ignore them or block their number.
Dear Lifehacker,I'm getting stupid texts from people I don't even know and I can't get them to…
How to Text Professionally Every Time
If you are anything me, then you text more than you ever actually talk on the phone. Honestly, when someone actually calls me I assume it is really bad news or a telemarketer!
Clearly, I am not alone. A recent study found that millennials consider using their smart phone to be more important than brushing their teeth or wearing deodorant. So there is no question that texting has also become part of our professional lives.
Sometimes it is just quicker and more efficient to send a short 1 sentence text than to write pick up the phone for what will end up being a 10 minute call. Eddi Ricci Jr.
pointed out on Personal Branding Blog that “texts cut back on awkward hellos, small talk or good byes.
When we reach out to someone via text or email, the person is reading the message on their own terms and it’s not disruptive to their day (this mentality is stuck in the senders head more than the receiver’s mind and is a cause of call reluctancy).”
Plus, texting can feel a nicer way to say thank you than an e-follow up after meeting with someone. Lo Bosworth, founder of party-in-a-box startup Revelry House, recently told Levo League that she texts new contacts to follow up instead of emailing. “It feels more personal!” she added.
If you work with mostly people your age in a somewhat informal work environment, texting etiquette is pretty easy. But if you are texting with a manager (who may be a bit older), or if your work environment is more formal than a startup, there are certain things you need to remember.
Even though it may be a text, it is still a work conversation. Keep these tips in mind to stay on point with your professional texting etiquette:
1. Don’t communicate big, important decisions through text
The launch of a new product is going to be pushed up to next month. The company headquarters is going to officially move to San Francisco from New York. These big, important decisions will usually require context and details, something that is not communicated well through text messaging. Stay away from defaulting to your phone for these type of communications.
2. Don’t send bad news via text
On that note, also don’t send bad news through texts. Although you may be thinking that you are helping by giving someone advanced notice, it can come across as insensitive and rudely casual.
If you have bad news to communicate, such as a colleague being let go or a project being cancelled, try sending an FYI text that invites a short phone call instead.
For example, “when you have a moment, I’d to give you a heads up about something” if it’s time sensitive.
3. Cool it on the abbreviations
Yes, we can’t imagine a world where we have to spell out a whole six-letter word. However, almost 100% of abbreves (get it?) are far too casual for texting professionally.
Plus, not everyone knows all of them.
(Are they teaching them in school now?) I had to look up lmgtfy in a recent Skillcrush post! Don’t risk coming across as being too much in a rush or too unprofessional to spell out a whole word.
4. Watch your tone
any written work communication, watch your tone. It’s hard to communicate emphasis and emotion with words alone (and trust us, emoticons and emoji are not going to help in your work texts!).
Reread a text before you send it, or even ask a colleague or friend to do a quick check if it’s going to a boss or client.
Do you sound angry or you are kidding? Are you being clear? Writing in complete sentences always helps, even though you may feel a little bit more formal. Better safe than sorry!
5. Look at texting as a complement to other communication
Don’t look at texting as your main communication tool, even though it may be the easiest and most comfortable for you.
Ricci wrote, “As of now, I look at text messaging as a complement, not a substitute for the phone. It can really be best used as a “warm up” introduction inviting a phone call.
” For example, send someone a text after you have sent a big follow up document to let them know that the email is in their inbox!
Ricci also advocates tracking your effectiveness using text messaging, the same way you track effectiveness of email newsletters or social media outreach.
“I also believe if you are going to start using text messaging in business development then you need to start tracking the efficiency of it.
How many texts do you send per day? How many responses do you get? How many calls did you warm up or meetings did you book using that text language? Then compare it to your dialing efficiency, emailing efficiency or other ways of reaching out to potential clients.”
So, when is texting appropriate?
If your messages is urgent or short and sweet, you’ve usually got the green light to text away. Let’s just hope no “damn you auto correct” episodes get in the way of your pristine texting etiquette!
The Psychology of Texting: How Your Cell Phone Reveals The Inner You
Image by AFP via @daylife
The psychology of texting is starting to sprout as a hot-button area, though the research is still amazingly in its infancy. From what studies tell us (and from simple observation), we love love love our texts.
It’s been clear for a while that cells phones serve a host of purposes: they make great fashion accessories, security blankets, and lunch dates.
When you have nothing to do, or don’t want to look uncool because you’re the only single in a crowd of couples, there’s nothing checking your cell phone to give you an edge.
But people use texts for a variety of other purposes. What’s fascinating is what people are willing to say in texts that they would never say in person. Somehow it’s OK to be a little more revealing, forthright, and feisty than it is when you’re talking face to face. And this honesty-via-text works both to our detriment and betterment. So why is it that texting gives us this extra oomph?
The short answer is because it puts some extra space between us and our recipients. It removes us from reality just enough so that we get up the chutzpa to say these things we’d normally be too anxious to reveal or ask of another. For this very reason, some psychiatrists, Dr.
Alan Manevitz, at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, have integrated texting in their practices, encouraging patients to text message what’s happening in their lives in real time.
While this sounds it would be enough to drive a psychiatrist mad, it actually serves a great purpose.
Once upon a time, Manevitz says, people came to their psychiatrists to lie on the couch and free-associate, ratting off whatever was on their mind. Now, texts let us do this from the field.
“Texts allow us to capture people’s voices in the situations they’re in, right when they’re in them. Then when they come in to the office, we talk about what’s happened, but I’m already aware of it through their texts in the preceding week.
The events are captured instantaneously. This is not from memory (which can pose accuracy problems), it’s in real time.”
Texts also allow patients to be more comfortable opening up about their experiences than they tend to be in person. They’re more willing to reveal the thoughts they’ve had, says Manevitz, or the choices they’ve made, which is particularly true for teens who are experimenting with new activities and substances that they might be ashamed to reveal on the couch.
The best explanation of the phenomenon, Manevitz says, is Oscar Wilde’s well known quote: “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” The masks that texts give us can make us refreshingly honest, mildly annoying, or pushed further, they let us be a little bit deviant.
A couple of recent studies have found more people using texts for not-so-great things, bullying and “sexting,” which can border on harassing if it’s undesired.
A study earlier this week found that “text-bullying” has become much more commonplace in the last few years.
The rates of “victimization and perpetration” on the Internet steadied, but the text versions of these acts rose significantly.
Another new one revealed that 13% of kids engage in sexting, sending suggestive messages via cell, and almost as many have taken part in sharing nude or explicit photos.
Sexting may be fun, but it is not always a positive experience for those involved, the study found. It’s also linked to a higher prevalence of depression in teens, and a greater lihood for suicide attempts.
This doesn’t mean that the one causes the others – only that the two tend to coexist.
Though most of the text studies are done in adolescents, it’s probably safe to say that adults are also using texts in some creative ways.
Texting without thinking, says Manevitz, firing off an angry one to your ex or boss is common, since there’s a satisfying immediacy involved in this method of communication.
But, if used well, the very nature of texts also allow us to check ourselves, since we see the words before they are sent – which cannot happen in verbal communication. (Manevitz actually recommends sending yourself the text first, to test it out, which can be a good method for self-monitoring.)
So texts do have their benefits, but it’s a double-edged sword. Their existence has actually helped out the health industry, who have used text messages to help people improve themselves in the weight loss and quitting smoking departments.
One recent study found that smokers were twice as ly to quit when they took part in a program that did things send back words of encouragement when participants typed “lapse” into their cell phones after breaking their abstinence, or typed “crave” to receive tips to get through cigarette cravings.
It will be interesting to see if researchers start to devote more time to studying adults’ use of text messaging in other arenas. They’ve surely changed the way we interact in more ways than just these. Have you noticed that you behave differently in text than in email, phone, or in person? How have texts changed the way you communicate with others?
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Three Simple Rules That Will Improve Your Text Game Instantly
Is it better to text or to call? What do you say when you text? Is texting a waste of time?
The purpose of texting is to ensure that you are always on her radar.
This article will give you three secrets of texting and how you can improve your text game immediately.
Women have a lot of options. These options, in the form of male pursuers, ensure that she will be in constant communication with members of the opposite sex. Men chase women. You are not the only one pursuing her.
Texting is important because you want to be one of the men she talks to on a regular basis to ensure that you are always staying on her “radar”. The plethora of options that an attractive woman has can work against you; even if you do nothing wrong.
Let’s say you meet Haley on Friday night. Haley is an attractive, intelligent, quality woman. You and Haley really connect; you get along with complete ease throughout your entire interaction. An exchange of numbers happens with your departure from each other. A date is set for next Thursday; both you and Haley have busy lives.
The weekend flies by and you get busy with work. Wednesday rolls around and you decide that you’re going to call to confirm your date with Haley. You guys had a great time on Friday, right? You call Haley and she doesn’t answer. “Hmm, that’s weird.”
A day passes and you find yourself dialing Haley’s number again on Thursday to confirm your date. Again, you’re sent to voicemail. This pattern continues until you give up on the possibility of meeting up with Haley.
So what happened!?
In that time period between Friday and Wednesday, how many guys do you think Haley talked to? Being attractive and intelligent, one would be sure in stating that Haley consistently has men chasing her. That time that you weren’t talking to her, there are guys that were.
Your connection with Haley died out not because you did anything wrong… but because you didn’t do anything at all.
Texting is a great way to make sure you stay on her radar. Taking the time to respond to your texts ensures she thinks about you, allowing her to remember the reason why she d you in the first place.
Texting is a low–investment form of communication for those of you who live busy lifestyles and can’t afford to be calling, to talk about nothing. This low–investment form of communication also elicits more of a female response than calling, when talking to a stranger. Women love to text. So should you.
Following these three simple rules when first learning to create interesting text threads will improve your text game exponentially.
1. Make sure your level of investment always matches or is lower than hers.
What does this mean? You text her and she takes five minutes to respond, take five minutes or longer. She writes you a two word response to your paragraph; shorten the length of your responses. WHY?!
Responding instantly to her texts sub-communicates neediness; un-attractive. This tells her (on a sub-conscious level) that you have nothing better to be doing with her time, so you are waiting for her response.
When you respond with a paragraph to her one – line responses this sub-communicates a need for rapport (conversation). This tells her (on a sub-conscious level) that you want to talk to her more than she wants to talk to you; un-attractive.
2. Avoid boring subjects; ensuring content is always light and flirty. Don’t drag on the same topic for a prolonged amount of time.
Don’t talk about the weather, or “how she is”, talk about topics that spark interest; topics the ordinary. These include random, funny things that happen throughout your day, or talking about something that sparks curiosity. The content doesn’t have to make sense; it just has to be interesting. WHY?!
Men who are romantically interested in the girl you are pursing are texting them all day. For the most part, these men are all stupid. They think their cookie cutter subjects are “original”, when really their “originality” casts them into the countless pool of boring men vying for the woman’s attention.
Separating yourself from these men is talking about your topics of interest, maintaining a light sense of humor and certain aloofness. She will appreciate your creativity. The conversation doesn’t have to make sense as long as it’s interesting.
3. Make statements, not questions.
Don’t ask her “how she is”, “what she is up to”, “how her day is”. Make statements instead of questions. “I bet you’re having an awesome day,”, “I think you’re up to no good,”, “My day can beat up your day.”
Why is it important to not ask questions?
Every dude she texts asks her these questions. Think of conversations you have on . What do you generally say when someone asks you “What’s up?” you probably have the same, generic response “Nm, you?”
Successful text game comes from creating interesting conversation. Separate yourself from the rest of the pack by making statements instead of asking questions. This sub-communicates that you do not need rapport, but you are interesting in talking to her (by the response alone).
There you have it. These three rules will help you improve your text game immediately when you apply them. These rules are not set in stone, and as your text game improves you will begin to know when to break them in order to create interesting conversation.
The goal of text game is to create interesting conversation; applying these three rules will give you the basic understanding of how to do so, on your own, over time.
Outcome in Mind
Have a goal in mind for your interesting conversation. Is your intention to create more of a connection with this girl? If so, lead the conversation in a direction where you two talk about your lives. Is your goal to get this girl on a date? If so, text her for a bit to create that investment and ensure you are on her “radar” when you call her to set up the date.
The last important note on text game is to never go for the date over text. If you are serious about hanging out with the girl, you will take the time to call her. In order to set up the date, make sure you are staying on her radar by texting her once in awhile. Always text at least a day before you call. Make sure she remembers why she d you, so she will answer the phone when you call.
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This book dives deep into the sub-communication of messaging, what to say on the first call, and how to go from meet to date.
Purchasers of the book are also granted access to the private article collection where any and all reader questions are answered within 14 days; loaded with content to take your electronic communication to the next level.
The 18 Unwritten Rules of Texting You Should Know
Published on March 23, 2020
Connecting with other people is critical to our well-being. Humans are social creatures, and whether we admit it or not, most of us crave feeling supported, valued, and connected to others.
I am perfectly fine doing many things on my own and even work from home most of the time. That being said, I thoroughly enjoy getting to interact with my wife at the end of the work day and catching up.
I to share my wins and my challenges with her.
When we are feeling down in the dumps over something, it’s incredibly powerful to have someone in our lives who is willing to listen and be there for us. We all have times in our lives when things are tough, when we feel very much we are on a lonely island. It’s at times these when we are able to talk to someone who has gone through something similar that helps us feel not nearly as lonely.
We see that other people have gone through the same situation and have come out on the other side, helping us feel connected. This is where self-disclosure can help to create those connections and deepen those you already have.
What Is Self-Disclosure?
Self-disclosure refers to the process of revealing personal, intimate information about oneself to others.
The shared information can include thoughts, feelings, aspirations, goals, failures, successes, fears, and dreams. Self-disclosure is a necessary ingredient when building intimacy with another person.
Most self-disclosure occurs early in relational development, but more intimate self-disclosure occurs later.
Why Is Self-Disclosure Important?
Self-disclosure is vitally important in relationships and, indeed, in overall communication.
In regards to a relationship, whether that’s romantic or friendly in nature, self-disclosure is the mutual process of give and take.
We go back and forth over time, sharing things about ourselves with the other person in a relationship. This effectively lays the building blocks of trust and connection in that relationship.
A big part of why people grow closer and more involved over time is that they become more and more open to sharing things about themselves in that relationship or situation. This holds true in all relationships, whether it be with the person we are dating, a new circle of friends, or people in the workplace.
Self-Disclosure and Relationships with Others
Self-disclosure is the foundation and the glue in your relationships with other people. It is through self-disclosure that we build the level of intimacy and trust that is absolutely critical to a strong relationship.
The level of self-disclosure you share with others will depend on the relationship and the context of that relationship. For instance, there are things I will share with my wife that I should probably not share with my work associates.
You probably have things you share, or self-disclose, with your best friends that you aren’t going to tell your mom or dad about. I’m sure my daughters share things with each other that my wife and I never hear about. And that’s the way it should be.
Each of these situations will dictate what level of self-disclosure we choose to share.
Self-disclosure in our most personal relationships is what defines the level of intimacy we will have in that relationship.
1. Promotes Attraction
We all tend to feel a sense of closeness to others when they reveal their personal story. I’ve seen many a speaker who has shared a personal, intimate story about themselves or their lives and felt myself drawn to them. I find myself wanting to know more, to hear more about the story, and most importantly, to know how it turned out.
When other people share their vulnerabilities, we are attracted and drawn to them. This feeling of attraction is greater if the information is more emotional in nature vs. factual.
2. Builds Trust
Mutual self-disclosure builds trust. As the term might suggest, mutual self-disclosure is when one person shares something about themselves to another.
The person they shared the information with then chooses to share something about themselves back, creating a back and forth ebb and flow of sharing.
This helps create and build trust, which is of course incredibly important in connecting on a deeper level with someone.
Someone who makes a personal disclosure about themselves is becoming vulnerable to the person they are disclosing to. Mutual self-disclosure also creates a safety zone because each person has made themselves vulnerable to the other. The two people then tend to protect the disclosures to avoid mutual embarrassment that would result from a breach of the trust.
3. Makes You Feel Special
When someone discloses something to us, it makes us feel special. It makes us feel they us and, of course, trust us enough to share this piece of their life with us. Obviously, they wouldn’t share something personal or a vulnerability with us unless they d us and trusted us, right?
The fact that they do this makes us feel special and makes them more attractive to us as a person. It pulls us in deeper and helps us feel willing to share more of our own story, struggle, or vulnerability and deepens the level of trust. It goes along with the rest to continue to deepen and strengthen the relationship.
4. Determines How a Relationship Develops
Think about when you’ve started a new relationship. This can be a romantic relationship, a friendship, or even a work relationship with a new manager. The pace at which we self-disclose in these relationships goes a long way towards determining how the relationship develops.
In the early 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 a friendship, a working partnership, or a romantic one, you will probably be more reticent about sharing your feelings, hopes, thoughts, memories, dreams, vulnerabilities, etc.
As the relationship goes further, as you begin to share more and more with the other person, your level of self-disclosure will increase as well. There tends to be a fairly mutual back and forth display of self-disclosure.
Most of us have had relationships where mutual self-disclosure does not occur as it should. I know I’ve opened up about something only to have it lay hang uncomfortably in the air. When the other person doesn’t self-disclose anything back, it is ly to stunt the relationship.
5. Helps Lengthen Relationships
When we open up to someone and are accepted, it helps us feel closer to the other person. It also helps us develop deeper trust in the person as we know they both accept us as a person and will keep our secrets. All of these things are some of key foundational pieces to a healthy relationship, and healthy relationships, of course, tend to last longer than unhealthy ones.
Couples who are more open to sharing their thoughts, dreams, fears, memories, and experiences will, in general, have longer and healthier relationships.
6. Helps You Gain Self-Acceptance
Self-acceptance can be tough to come by. How often have we beaten ourselves up for something we’ve done and felt guilty about? Or about something we do on an ongoing basis that we feel we shouldn’t?
I personally carried around a big burden for years because I was not able to accept the way I acted in a certain situation.
It took someone bringing it to my attention to realize what I was doing to myself, which was beating myself up over and over again.
Once I accepted that I acted the best way I knew how to in the situation, a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. A wave of self-acceptance washed over me, and I felt better than I had in years.
When we self-disclose to someone about something we are ashamed of or feel guilty about and they accept us, the results are amazing. Being given the green light to feel the way we do by a person we are in a close relationship with is incredibly uplifting. As you might imagine, this also helps us connect even deeper with that person.
7. Gives You a Go-To Person
When you are able to self-disclose your hopes, dreams, fears, experiences, memories, and other things to someone intimate in your life, you’ve got “your person.” This is someone that you feel very comfortable going to and sharing information with. Whether it’s to celebrate something great happening at work or something that made you sad, this is invaluable.
Knowing that there is someone there who will have your back and offer support is incredibly comforting. This is the type of relationship that has developed with the ability to self-disclose on a progressive scale. It progresses to the point where you feel you can share just about anything with the other person. This, in turn, leads to a deep feeling of connection with the other person.
Self-disclosure is an important component in many relationships in our lives. This includes our work associates, our family, friends, children, and significant others.
Different relationships will dictate the level of self-disclosure that occurs in each one. In all of the situations the ability to self-disclose comfortably will help develop and deepen the relationship.
This is especially true of our closest relationships.
We’ve looked at 7 ways self-disclosure helps you connect deeper with others. Don’t be afraid to self-disclose as your relationships will naturally receive the benefits.
Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com