Relationships: Is Being Responsive To Another Person’s Self-Disclosure An Important Part Of A Relationship?
When one feels close to someone, there are likely to be a number of reasons why. One may know what these reasons are, or it may take them a while to realise why they feel the way they do.
The connection they feel with the other person is likely to have built up over time. This is not to say that one can’t feel close to another without too much time having passed; as one can feel close to another without having known them for months or even years.
What this shows is that is not simply a matter of how long one has known someone, it is also comes down to how the other person responds to them. If it wasn’t for these responses, one wouldn’t see the other person in the same way and this would have effect on their relationship.
Therefore, it will be important for them to be consistent with their responses; as it is not something they can do once and that’s the end of it. There may be times when they are unable to respond how one wants them to respond, but this will be the exception and not the rule.
Is these responses are not there, it won’t matter if they have known the other person for years or if they are part of their family. A change in the other person’s behaviour will lead to a change in how one sees them.
A Short Break
If the other person changes their behaviour for a short time and then returns to how they were before, it might not mark the end of the relationship. In the short-term, it may cause one to pull away, but their outlook may soon change as time passes.
As long as they are able to empathise with how one feels and take responsibility for their actions, one may allow the other person into their life once more. However, it may depend upon how the other person behaved and whether one feels as though they can trust the other person again.
One may feel as though they are unable to open up to the other person again and this will mean that their relationship won’t be the same as it once was. They may decide to see the other person from time to time or they may decide to move on.
The fact the other person was unable to respond in the right way may also be a sign that one has out-grown the other person. In this case, what seems like a one-off is a reflection of something far greater.
There are all kinds of things that one can share with another and while some of these things can be fairly trivial, there will be other things that are far more significant. If one has known someone for quite some time, they are likely to share things that they wouldn’t share with someone they have just met.
Yet, if one feels a connection with someone they have just met or have only know for a short time, they may end up opening their heart. Based on how they feel in the other person’s presence, it will be normal for them to open up.
One may meet someone on a train or a bus, and end up telling them things that they wouldn’t tell their close friends and family. Although they are being vulnerable, they are opening up to someone they may never see again.
Whereas, if one was to open up to someone they know, they may fear that the other person will put them down or use it against them. Yet, even though they are opening up to a stranger, it will be the result of how they are responding.
When someone is responsive to another person’s self-disclosure, it will mean that they are able to listen to what they have to say. This is not the only thing they will need to do though; as they will also need to empathise with them.
What this shows is that is not simply about one offering their ear, they also need to offer their heart. One will need to put themselves in the other person’s shoes and to do their best to connect with the other person’s experience.
Through these responses, one will gradually begin to trust the other person and this will allow them to open up. And as they feel safe and don’t feel the need to protect themselves, they will feel close to the other person.
If, on the other hand, one opened up and they were put down or invalidated, it is going to cause them to retract. The other person will be seen as someone who can’t be trusted and they will keep their guard up.
This doesn’t mean it is all about one person though; as it will be important for each person to share parts of themselves. When one person opens up and the other doesn’t, it will create an imbalance.
One will need the other person to be responsive to what they have to say and they will need to be responsive to what the other person has to say. It is a two-way occurrence and each person needs to play their part.
If you are in a relationship with someone who is unable to be responsive, it may be a sign that you need to take a step back and to decide if the relationship is serving your best interests. It could be that you need to talk to the other person and to see what their outlook is.
This may lead to a change in the relationship or it may signal the end. It will also be important to reflect on whether you are responsive to other people.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.