Learning how to open up to people helps you establish a connection, deepen relationships, and also serve as an outlet for people to express their emotions.
But learning how to open up to people isn’t always easy. The process makes you vulnerable to the judgement of less-understanding people. And sometimes, opening up causes emotional stress to those who are not used to doing it.
Learning to open up is a part of achieving maturity. It strengthens your relationships by letting others glimpse your character and serves as an emotional cushion when faced with difficult problems. It is essential for people to overcome the fear of vulnerability. [Read: Understanding what makes someone emotionally mature]
Why some people are slow to open up to others
In life, you’ll meet two types of people. The first is an open-book person. They have little trouble sharing their thoughts and feelings to others.
On the opposite end, people who seldom reveal anything about themselves, even to closest friends and family. Which one are you?
#1 Personality. If a personality falls to the quiet, reserved, or introverted category, it’s understandable that they seldom let others know what they think or feel easily. They prefer to keep that information to themselves. Certain personality types learned how to course through life without sharing their personal feelings to others. [Read: How to let down your guard and get to know new people]
#2 Family and upbringing. Either you are raised by reserved, quiet parents or they established rules that forbade any form of expression. You also may have been the sole child who always played alone or had siblings whose presence overshadowed yours. Any of these factors related to upbringing may play a role on why certain people don’t open up to others.
#3 Suspicion of others due to bad experiences. Maybe what triggered cutting off communicating to society was a related traumatic experience or personal betrayal. Negative experiences related to opening up can easily cause a person to stop doing it in order to prevent the experience from happening again. [Read: The hardships of fearing being loved]
#4 Self-hatred or low self-esteem. Some people don’t bother opening up because they think what they say is uninteresting, unimportant, or sounds stupid to would-be listeners. Their negative self-image leads to self-censorship. Robbing them of the desire to establish genuine social communication right at the beginning.
Why learning how to open up to people is important
People can have a whole bunch of reasons for closing off themselves from others. But in the end, learning how to open up will help personal growth. The process of learning may be slow, difficult, and stressful, but it will be all worth it in the end.
#1 Opening up expands your relationships. It allows you to easily meet and connect to new people. A person willing to share even a small glimpse of themselves will encourage others to do the same, making socializing easier and enjoyable.
#2 It helps you deal with conflict and misunderstandings better. Conflict between two people unwilling to let the other know what they feel about the situation will result in a perpetual standoff. From there, the relationship will only deteriorate.
But if one person opens up, there is an avenue for discussion, understanding, and reconciliation. By knowing how to initiate communication, you will have the capacity to mend your relationships and establish a platform for understanding.
#3 It helps you form deeper relationships. A bond between best friends or lovers require a deeper and intimate form of communication that facilities vulnerability and honesty. Lacking openness makes it difficult to form deep, meaningful relationships. And learning how to open up to people will allow achieve a bond where they entrust their innermost thoughts and feelings to a friend or significant other. [Read: 16 non-sexual touches to feel connected and loved]
#4 It will greatly help your professional life. Any type of profession will include interacting with people. And they include a multitude of personalities, ideas, and perspectives. Given such an environment, not knowing how to take part in the communication process will end up alienated and misunderstood.
On the other hand, knowing how to open up will allow you to bring your ideas, feedback, and even grievances to co-workers or superiors appropriately and allowing you to address any issues easily.
#5 Opening up gives an avenue for your problems and frustrations to be addressed. It’s just as the old folks say: sharing your problems even if it’s something as simple as a friendly chat will lighten the emotional burden of it. Opening up doesn’t really mean that you’ll be expecting an answer or good advice to solve your problems.
Sometimes, just the act of sharing allows you to vent those bottled emotions. Then they make your thoughts primed to solve your problems.
Tips on how to open up to people
#1 Evaluate your relationship with the people around you. Make a list of the people in your life most likely to listen without judgement. Start with those people, then once you are comfortable, leave that comfort zone and train yourself to establish communication with other lesser known friends and acquaintances.
A close friend or family member will be the safest choice. After them you can pinpoint certain people who are either a good listener, patient, or open-minded.
#2 Start with sharing something simple. You don’t need to immediately bare your secrets or worldview to the first stranger you meet. The process of opening up requires you to start with something simple yet meaningful to you. From starting with minor stuff you’ll be able to get a feel of the communication process. Practice doing the simple thought relay. And from there, try sharing serious matters to a selected number of people.
#3 Try listening to someone and observe how the process works. If you’re hesitant to open up first, observe how someone does it. Listen to someone share their thoughts and feelings to you. Take note of how they opened up, body language, verbal language, and the tone of their voice.
Do they make eye contact? Speak with extreme emotion? Most importantly, take note of how the communication process eases both the listener and the speaker at the end. From there, you’ll realize how easy it is to establish such communication. [Read: How to be emotionally available so you can actually feel love]
#4 Learn to embrace vulnerability. By opening up, they glimpse your character. Often this makes us feel emotionally naked around people and why people are hesitant to open up in the first place. However, you cannot receive without offering something in return. In exchange for human connection, we accept the possibility of vulnerability.