Self-Disclosure and Dating
Theo Pauline Nestor, author of How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed, offered dating advice about self-disclosure and dating in a Wrong Planet article.
Generally, when we are getting to know someone as a friend, we naturally keep pace with the rate our new friend is disclosing about himself and he or she keeps pace with us. If I tell you about my love of cats, you might tell me about your interest in web design. If after we’ve known each other for a while, I tell you about how my parents’ divorce affected me, you would likely share something personal about yourself. Even if you had not gone through the same experience as me, you would likely share an event of a similar caliber that impacted you emotionally. And this is generally, how friendships are built—slowly over time, brick by brick.
So how might you apply this on a first or second date:
1. Before the date, think of topics that are of a low level of disclosure that would be good to talk about—college majors, where you grew up, a passion of yours. If you have a tendency to open up too soon, remind yourself to slow down.
2. Listen for the other person’s rate of disclosure. Are they telling you about their trip to Jamaica or about something more personal? If they are opening up to you, consider what you might share with them that is personal without being TOO personal. But only take this step if you genuinely like the person because when you open up to people you are signaling your interest in them and starting to develop a bond.
3. If the other person is disclosing too much for your comfort level, try changing the topic to something lighter.
4. If you’re past the first date and you know you like this person, strive to match their rate of disclosure. And, most important, demonstrate empathy and interest in the other person’s story when they do open up by establishing eye contact and asking follow-up questions.
You can read the full article here.