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Develop my self-disclosure skill

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Introduction People engage in communication on a daily basis. There is no avoiding it. Since the day we were born communication has been a part of our lives. As time passed by we began to self-disclose to certain individuals our thoughts, ideas, and feelings on various issues that arose. The process of self-disclosure, as we quickly realized, is not an easy process, or activity, to take part in. For me, self-disclosure is the hardest piece of the puzzle, yet it is so important. Communicating without disclosing self is like trying to play tennis without a ball. So for this assignment, I decided to develop my self -disclosure skill. In the past, I considered myself a strong communicator. I was somewhat self-aware, I liked myself, and I had excellent listening skills. However, I didn't get the results I wanted. An intensively private person, I kept my own counsel; rarely did I share my personal life at school. Also standoffish in my personal life, I didn't have many close friends. I often felt isolated and at times invisible. I remembered once standing with a group of classmates at a party, and feeling lost. My classmates seemed to be enjoying each other. But no one realized, or cared, that I was there. I didn't know yet that you have to show up to be seen. At that time I realized how serious my problem was. In order to further understand and develop my communication skill, I did a self-disclosure test which was available at www.psychologytoday.psychtests.com. The result told me that I tend to avoid sharing much or any information about myself with others. When something is on my mind or weighing on my emotionally, I generally don't open up and spill the beans, but remain tight-lipped. This bottling up of emotions is unhealthy for me and my relationships. After reading the above analysis, the decision to develop my self-disclosure skill became stronger. ...read more.

Middle

We then proceed to a series of low-risk disclosures with occasional medium-risk disclosures thrown in to help create the necessary bonds. High-risk disclosures were fairly rare on the early stage but may pop up occasionally if things were really going well. After about 1 week, both of us were comfortable enough with each other initially to begin to self-disclose deeper information and we started to peel away the layers of the "onion." May and I began to perceive each other as trustworthy and our vulnerability with each other increased as did the self-disclosure. We began with discussing our goals, aspirations, religious beliefs, etc. Our penetration of each other held true with the breadth and depth of self-disclosure that says "peripheral items are exchanged more frequently and sooner" (Nelson-Jones, 1986, p.54). May and I hanged out all the time together and disclose information frequently, and I found out a lot about her very rapidly. As the layers began to peel away we became more and more vulnerable with each other. I began to tell her things that I would never dream of telling anyone else, even my family, and the behavior was reciprocated back to me by her. Two weeks later, as our penetration continued, it also began to slow down. I found May did not particularly care for my boyfriend, which made me not want to really tell her anything that related to him. I thought this was because we do not have common ground in this aspect of our relationship, I have been dating a guy for almost two years, who I believed I would marry, and she was still searching for a meaningful relationship with "the one." therefore, it was extremely hard to disclose. This definitely had an impact on the level of information we now disclose to each other. From these, I learned that we often disclosure more with people who has the common ground. When I met a stranger at a party, I said to myself I wouldn't be shy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Make disclosures clear. Don't assume that others understand what I think, feel and want; no one can read my mind! Avoid unnecessary misunderstanding. 5. Because of the element of risk, disclosure in a relationship should occur gradually. In the future, I should not confide intimate details about me immediately upon meeting someone. Rather, I should reveal a little at a time as I come to trust the other person. 6. Self-disclosure is an important skill. It increases our mental and physical health. "Overwhelming data from therapy, self-help groups, and research labs suggests that sharing our emotions improves our health, helps prevent disease, and lessens our psychological- interpersonal problems."(Bolton, 1986, p.182) 7. There is a wholesome cycle involving self-disclosure, friendships, and self-acceptance. "First, it is usually helpful to tell the person you are interacting with how he/she is affecting you because sharing your intimate feelings and thoughts usually deepens friendships. Secondly, acceptance by friends and others increases your self-acceptance. Thirdly, as you feel better about yourself, you can self-disclose even more of yourself, leading to closer, more enjoyable relationships. Fourthly, with more feedback, greater security and self-acceptance, you are able to look deeper into yourself and solve more problems."(Nelson-Jones, 1986, p.54) 8. Having a good self-disclosure skill not only can enhance relationship but also can make effective communication. If we disclose well and get feedback from others, we can be more self-aware and develop a positive self-esteem. Our empathic listening skill might also be enhanced. Sharing brings personal growth, a growth in our knowledge of ourselves and of other, a growth in the bonding of our relationship, and the growth in our sense of our own value. Reference Adler, R. B. & Towne, N. (2003).Looking out, looking in. (10th ed.). Wadsworth/Thomson Learning: Belmont. Bolton, R. (1986). People skills. Australia: Prentice Hall of Australia Pty Limited. Burton, G., & Dimbleby. R. (1996).Between ourselves: An introduction to interpersonal communication. (2nd ed.).New York: J W Arrowsmith Ltd. Nelson-Jones. (1986).Human relationship skills: Training and self-help. Great Britain: Biddles Ltd. Griffin, E. (1997). A first look at communication theory. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. ...read more.

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