What is the dark side of self-disclosure?

Ms. Marcia Starkman
Advanced Practice Nursing
What constitutes self-disclosure? It's about sharing personal (and maybe even intimate) details about yourself like your health and relationship status, your finances, religious and political beliefs, etc. It's very important to evaluate the appropriate time and place for self-disclosure. While it may feel very "freeing" to discuss these things with the goal of bringing you closer to others, it depends who those others are and in what context you are sharing these details.
Here is where the dark side comes in. When you meet someone new, or especially, are in your work environment, ask yourself if perhaps what you want to share could possibly be misinterpreted or used against you in the future. Is it "too much information" at that time or place?
Social networking sites promote self-disclosure, and make it seem almost effortless to share every small detail of your life and personality. This is the potential dark side. Once something is posted on the Internet, it is there for eternity. Do you really want your future employer to know what your alcoholic beverage of choice is and how often you drink it? This freedom to self-disclose seems to carry over into daily life. Have you ever had a complete stranger on a bus tell you about their "messy" divorce and recent surgery?
Before you "open the floodgates" about you, ask yourself. Is it too soon or too much? Who is your audience? Self-disclose a little bit at a time; test your own comfort level and the reactions you receive.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.