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Characteristics of self-Disclosure

5. Self-Disclosure Reflects Perceptions About the Nature of Your Relationships.

What you reveal about yourself to others and what others reveal to you about themselves provide important information about how each of you perceives the quality, intimacy, and nature of your relationships.

1. Self Disclosure Usually Occurs in Small Increments.

  • Communication Privacy Management Theory
  • According to Argyle, Henderson, and Furnham, one of the most fundamental expectations people have of their friends is that they will not reveal confidences.
  • Vangelisti, Cauhlin, and Timmerman suggest that we are most likely to share a family secret if…

2. Self Disclosure Moves from Less Personal to More Personal Information

We can describe the depth of our self-disclosure by the intimacy level of the information we share. John Powell describes five levels of information we disclose as we progress toward intimacy.

In mainstream U.S. Culture, a dyadic effect occurs when one person’s sharing of information about himself or herself prompts disclosure of similar information by the other person, particularly in the initial stages of relationships.

Self Disclosure and Social Penetration Theory

We typically don’t share all that we know about ourselves with most people when we first meet them.

  • during an intimate conversation with another person we found out that this person had a similar problem or we thought revealing the secret would help the other person;
  • we thought the secret would eventually come to light even if we didn’t reveal it;
  • there was some urgency or importance in revealing the secret such that continuing to conceal the secret creates more problems than revealing it;
  • we thought the family member would not mind of the secret were told; the family member would still accept us; or
  • the topic came up in conversation, and it seemed normal and natural to reveal the secret.

3. Self-Disclosure is Reciprocal

Level 1: Peak or gut-level communication

We each have individual rules or boundaries about how much private information we share and with whom we share that information.

Level 4: Facts and biographical information

Level 5: Cliche’ communication

Level 2: Personal feelings

Level 3: Attitudes and personal ideas

Warranting: looking for clues to validate or invalidate an online claim

The Social Penetration Model

starts with a circle that represents all the potential information about yourself that you could disclose to someone. This circle is divided into many pieces like a pie with each piece representing a particular aspect of your “self”, like hobbies, religious beliefs, family, school, political interests, and fears.

These pieces represent the breadth of information available about you.

The concentric circle in the pie represents the depth of information you could disclose. Depth means how personal or intimate the information is.

Think about some of your closest relationships. How did you move from being acquaintances to being close friends?

This occurs when we purposefully provide information to others about ourselves that they would not learn if we did not tell them.

  • Facebook reflects a form of self-disclosure

Social Psychologists

Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor