Four Types of Self-Revealing Conversations to Create Closeness

Growing up we learn to talk about events and other topics in our families, but not always about our feelings. Learning to share feelings through self-disclosure can lead to greater connection in our adult lives and an increased sense of self-acceptance.

It’s helpful to talk together no matter the topic, but there are ways to talk together that get below the surface and benefit both talker and listener.

1. Venting
Here we address something bothering us, sharing our perspective and feelings about an event or experience. The act of putting into words what happened and describing it from our point of view point lets another into our world. We feel less alone and more understood which always feels good.

2. Confession
It can be hard to admit a deeply held experience, feeling or belief that might carry shame or vulnerability. We can be afraid that the things we hold back could cost us someone’s esteem. Enormous relief and freedom can follow revealing concealed thoughts and feelings. Finding support and acceptance through an often relatable experience leads to new closeness.

3. Between Us
Having tough conversations about conflict is the most challenging of self-disclosures and doesn’t always come naturally. Resolving misunderstandings, disappointments, hurt feelings, and annoyances are crucial to the well-being of relationships, particularly close ones. When managed skillfully, these conversations lead to mutual insight, understanding and a feeling of being cared for and about.

4. Exploration and Problem Solving
Requesting help in solving a problem often has an emotional component. When overwhelmed, having help to figure something out opens up new ideas and perspectives. Having new options transforms how we feel. Solution finding together can be an exciting process.

Having these types of conversations with people that matter is essential to overcoming isolation. Additionally, sharing feelings with others develops self-awareness and confidence.We all need relationships that offer understanding and bring meaning, comfort and calm to our lives.4

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