In any type of relationship, both participants share things at an increasingly personal level over time. This process of revealing information about oneself is called Self-Disclosure. Like all things, there is a balance of self-disclosure, one end being entirely appropriate and the opposite being rather inappropriate. The book mentions that intimate disclosure is “seldom instant”, for good reason. Can you imagine telling a random stranger, like the checker-outer at Smith’s that you and your spouse just had a huge fight and are on the brink of divorce? Exactly. In media, this inappropriate self-disclosure can actually be quite hilarious.
Check out this clip from my all-time favorite movie, Baby Mama.
In this clip,
Tina Fey Kate Holbrook is seemingly narrating the opening with details about how her work life has hurt her personal life, and how she is 37 and must have a baby now. Then, the camera cuts to what is actually a first date, and Kate is a bit embarrassed. What does her date do in reaction? Does he reveal intimate things about himself as well? Hardly. He didn’t react well to her disclosure, which leads us to think it was indeed inappropriate and he noticed and felt uncomfortable.
Remember, disclosure is like an onion; peel back one layer at a time, don’t just slice the thing in half!