Meeting people is exciting, especially when it comes to someone of the opposite gender, where you may even be interested in seeing how far your relationship with them may evolve. But how do you manage to strike the right balance between oversharing and appearing aloof when you don’t know if and how much you should open up to someone new?
Should You Really Open Up To Someone You Barely Know?
When you meet someone for the first time and there is instant chemistry between you, you may be tempted to share a lot about yourself, or you may feel that oversharing might scare her away and put her off you. It’s not an easy decision to make, that’s for sure.
Pros And Cons
On the one hand, psychological studies have shown that we warm up to people who are willing to share some things about themselves with us straight away. According to research, we are more attracted by those who disclose more personal information because they make us feel trustworthy, important and liked. And the more liked we feel by someone, the more probable we are to like them back too.
Moreover, if we are to establish a connection with someone (romantic or otherwise), we need to have something to work on. How can you connect with someone who prefers to keep his/her cards close to his/her chest? Sharing some things about your experiences and views is essentially the only way to open up to someone who doesn’t know you.
On the other hand, a person who is quick to pour his/her heart out to a stranger often appears to be pathetic, impetuous, and attention-seeking. There are some things we should let others discover about us, instead of overwhelming someone we hardly know with information about our life and personality.
Maintaining The Right Balance
As with most things in life, when you wonder if and how much you should open up to someone new, the best way to go about things is finding the equilibrium between sharing too much and giving away too little.
To get a good idea of how much you should share, the authors of “First Impressions” encourage you to think of your conversation as a game of strip poker. Would you take all your clothes off when the other person is fully clothed? In a similar way, you shouldn’t strip off your soul to someone who’s not willing to do the same. Sharing should be reciprocal, not one sided. If you make the start and the other person doesn’t follow, keep your cards closed.
In the same way, you should take the conversation one step at a time; let it lead you. Don’t start a conversation with the most intimate and personal info. Deepen the conversation gradually, paying attention to her own behavior towards things. If she refuses to go into detail, you should do the same. It’s up to the both of you how serious you want things to be.
Remaining Positive, Avoiding The Heavy Stuff
Personal experiences and feelings are not always positive or happy. Some of the things we have inside are heavy things, awoken by negative experiences and lessons learned through pain and hardship. However, you should not put weight into a conversation with someone you just met. People carry their own baggage and problems, they hardly need someone they just met to put an even heavier load on them.
Not Monopolizing The Conversation
Nobody likes a person who drones on and on about his life/ experiences/opinions; in fact, this is one sure-fire way to make a bad first impression. Monopolizing a conversation is strictly forbidden, whether you are seeing someone for the first of the hundredth time. Make sure you let the other person talk about themselves too, encouraging her to share more (without being nosy, of course), and showing your genuine interest in what she has to say.
At the end of a conversation with someone, you should feel like you learned something about the other person, as they did about you –ideally in equal measure. The right way to open up to someone is to keep the conversation flowing, to share as much as you feel comfortable sharing and allow her to do the same, and to not feel like you either bored her or felt bored yourself. The art of conversation is not an easy art to learn, but practice makes perfect.