The Echoes of the Mind (110) Self-Disclosure


In order to have a conversation with someone, you must reveal yourself. ~ American novelist James Baldwin

Self-disclosure is the revelation of new information to someone. Personality type and culture, including religion, influence self-disclosure. Obviously, gregarious extroverts spill more beans about themselves than those that are less sociable or more introverted.

Pervasive American narcissism means that these people typically disclose more about themselves than in other cultures, including Europeans. By contrast, Americans are more reserved when communicating interculturally, as they feel less sure-footed.

East Asians – Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans – are generally circumspect in their self-disclosures, especially with acquaintances or those of other cultures. Indians are especially reluctant to self-disclose, for fear of reflecting negatively on their reputation and family.

Fear usually drives reluctance to self-disclosure: not wanting to project an undesirable image. As image is so important in society, such fear is understandable.

The Mexican culture emphasizes discussing everything in a positive mode. This complicates dealing with personal and social problems.

Communication skill affects self-disclosure. People comfortable talking often end up talking about themselves.

The topics of self-disclosure tend to be similar across cultures: hobbies, personal interests, attitudes, and political and religious opinions are more readily discussed than finances, sex, personality, and relationships.

The dynamics of self-disclosure expose the social inferiority of men. Women are more expressive when talking with other women than with men. As a relationship becomes more intimate, women open up while men do not change their self-disclosure level. Women disclose more to extended family than men do.

The exception is in initial encounters. Here men disclose more intimately, to control a relationship’s development.

Self-confident people more readily talk about themselves, as negative reactions are a lesser concern than for those less sure of themselves. Self-confidence and competence are often found together.

Competent people engage in self-disclosure more than less competent people. ~ American psychologist Joseph DeVito