Guide to Self-Disclosure
by, 06-10-2012 at 01:46 AM (132 Views)
Penpal relationships are all about self-disclosure - sharing your thoughts and feelings about any and everything. Like all communication, there are guidelines to effective and appropriate self-disclosure. I found these very useful. From the book Reaching Out by David Johnson:
1. Make sure disclosures are not random or isolated acts but rather part of an ongoing relationship.
2. Focus disclosures on what is going on within and between persons in the present.
3. Be sensitive to the effect a disclosure will have on the other person. (Some disclosures may upset or cause uncomfortable distress. What you want to say may seem inappropriate to the other person. Most people become uncomfortable when the level of self-disclosure exceeds their expectations.)
4. Share only when the disclosure has a reasonable chance of improving the relationship.
5. Continue only if your disclosures are reciprocated. (When you share your reactions, you should exprct disclosure in return. When it is apparent] that self-disclosures will not be reciprocated, you should limit the disclosures you make.)
6. Increase disclosures when a crisis develops in the relationship (ad seg, parole denial for instance).
7. Gradually move disclosures to a deeper level. (Self-disclosures may begin with the information acquaintances commonly disclose, such as talking about hobbies, sports, school and current events, and gradually move to more personal information. As a friendship develops, the depth of disclosures increase as well. Disclosures about deep feelings and concerns are most appropriate in close, well-established relationships.)
8. Keep reactions and feelings to yourself when the other person is competitive or untrustworthy. (While relationships are built through self-disclosure, there are times when you will want to hide your reactions. If a person has been untrustworthy and if you know from past experience that the other person will misinterpret or overreact to your self-disclosure, you may wish to keep silent.)
Happy letter writing and phone chatting!