What Does “Open Up Emotionally” Mean?

I hear both men and women say “I am more emotionally open” when what they actually mean is that “I am a talker” or “I blurt out anything that crosses my mind”. They also say, “she/he is an introvert. She does not open up emotionally” when what they mean is someone does not talk ‘too much’.

There is a difference between “talking too much” , “saying too much”, and being emotionally open.

1. Talking too much – This is when you dominate the conversation or talk a lot more than the person you are talking to.

While being a talker can get you places and win you many friends, when it comes to a “romantic” relationship, it’s not a particularly positive trait if you are not aware of how it’s hurting your relationship. Like many talkers I know and meet everyday, there is a danger of you talking yourself right out of a relationship.

When you are talking you are not listening. And when you dominate a conversation, you don’t give yourself the opportunity to lean more about the other person.

2. Saying too much – This is when you reveal way too much information too soon.

On the first encounter you reveal that you earn a six-figure income, drive a mustang, own your own home, donated your kidney to a stranger, don’t talk to you parents, etc. On the surface this looks and may feel to you like being “emotionally open”, but to the other person you come across as too desperate that if they asked for your social insurance number or banking pin you’d probably sing without thinking twice.

Being a talker or blubber does not necessarily make you emotionally open. It just makes you  talker or blubber.

I am not saying no one likes or is attracted to talkers and blubbers. There are as many people attracted to talkers and blubbers as they are those turned off. And there are just as many people turned off by the “quiet type” .

What I am saying is: When you talk too much or say too much too soon, there is a danger of you “falling in love” with someone you barely know, or moving too fast for the other person. You create a sense that you intimately “know” each other more than you actually do.

For those on the receiving end, there is always that fear that in a relationship, they won’t be ‘heard” because you will be talking past and over them.

3. Emotionally Open – This is when you place no barriers (conscious or sub-conscious) to someone getting to know the ‘real you’.

Allowing others to know the real us is not easy because many of us have conscious or sub-conscious walls that protect us from rejection, manipulation or getting hurt. These barriers in an of themselves are not bad since there is real danger that we may open ourselves to someone who’ll manipulate or hurt us.

These barriers are a problem when they prevent others from knowing who we really are. Some even fall in love with “us” only that it’s not really “us” they are in love with. They are in love with who we made them think we are. The real us feels alone and lonely.

In other words, emotional openness is about “being known”. It’s about being honest with ourselves, and with others. If there is a big difference between what you are saying and what the other person is picking up, you are most likely just talking or blubbering with no emotional connection.

Emotional openness is also about knowing when to open up, and how much to open up about at any given time. Talk too much and the other person gets the sense that they are ‘hearing words’, but not connecting to the words. Reveal too much too soon, and the other person gets the sense that you have no mental filters (don’t think before they speak).

Like any skill, being able to emotionally open up is learned and honed with practice.

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