How Much to Disclose in Conversations With New People

When you first meet someone, it can be hard to know how much information to divulge about yourself. For example, is it appropriate for a new acquaintance who’s just met your family members to ask about all the financial details? What if their interest in that area of knowledge makes them seem more interested than they actually are? These are questions people might want to consider before taking things further with newcomers.

When you first meet someone, it’s best to reveal little about yourself meaning that you don’t disclose too much personal information. It’s important not to share too much information with people because you never know what they might do with it. Read more in detail here: reveal little about myself meaning.

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You’ll start trading comments and questions, as well as pieces of information about yourself, after you start a discussion with someone new.

When it comes to these initial (and future) meetings, how much information should you share?

It’s a difficult question to respond to.

On the one hand, studies have shown that individuals who share more about themselves are appreciated by others more than those who keep their secrets hidden. Giving personal information shows the other person that you trust them, appreciate their opinion, and want to get to know them better. And, as we’ve talked before, interest is reciprocal; if you show someone you care about them, they’re more inclined to care about you.

If your relationships seem to be dying on the vine for no apparent reason, it might be because you’re keeping your cards too close to your chest. A little reserve and aloofness might pique interest and be seen as intriguing and appealing at first. However, your reluctance will ultimately be misinterpreted as coldness, lack of interest, or a desire to conceal anything about yourself – whether it’s a negative quality or just the fact that you haven’t much to show!

People want to know who you are because they can’t form an emotional connection with someone they don’t know. Intimacy stimulates (both platonically and romantically) — without it, chemistry is impossible to achieve. New friends and possible lovers will be turned off or bored if you don’t let your guard down a bit.

As a result, self-disclosure is a potent tool for cultivating interest and connection with others.

On the other side, revealing too much information might be unappealing and off-putting in and of itself. The word “overshare” is well-known; how can you prevent slipping into this trap?

We’ll go over a few basic guidelines for managing the delicate dynamic of self-disclosure today.

Principle #1 of Self-Disclosure: Keep Disclosures Symmetrical

This is the main guideline to remember when it comes to exchanging personal data. The exchange of information should be reciprocal; you should disclose information about yourself at about the same pace and intensity as the other person.

The writers of First Impressions compare it to a game of strip poker: you don’t want to be sitting about nude while everyone else is dressed up.

The following two ideas will help you understand how to maintain a symmetrical pace of disclosure.

Principle #2 of Self-Disclosure: Deepen the Conversation in Stages

Alan Garner, a communications specialist, defines the four phases through which a conversation progresses and becomes more meaningful and relevant in Conversationally Speaking:

  • Clichés. “Hello, how are you?” These are the minor social rituals that imply nothing yet open up interactions: “Hi, how are you?” and “It’s great to meet you.”
  • Facts. People share basic information after the initial salvos have been fired. They’re from where they’re from. What they do for a living. “Each individual tries to figure out if there is enough to share to make a relationship meaningful,” Garner says at this point.
  • Opinions. Once people have come to know one another, they begin to share their opinions on current events, sports, money, love, and other topics.
  • Feelings. “Feelings vary from facts and views in that they go beyond articulating what occurred and how you interpret it to describe your emotional response to what happened,” Garner explains. Expressing facts and ideas makes the dialogue shallow and dry; sharing sentiments, on the other hand, reveals your heart — and that’s what truly piques people’s attention.

Although feelings are the most powerful conversation hook, you don’t want to jump straight into revealing them; doing so often demonstrates a lack of self-awareness and prompts the other person to respond with, “Whoa! Easy there man!” Instead, work your way through each of these phases slowly, creating an on-ramp from superficial small chat to deeper engagement. Change the tone of the conversation from moderate to forceful, lighter to heavier, and neutral to heated.


How do you know when it’s time to go on to the next level, or when the other person is ready?

What’s great about understanding social dynamics like this is that it gives you the ability to control the pace of conversation: if you realize you’re talking to someone you don’t want to get to know any further and want to get away from them as soon as possible, you can put the brakes on by keeping things shallow and not moving much beyond the exchange of facts; however, if you like the person and want to get to know them better, you can accelerate your way down the on-ramp a little faster.

When you believe you’ve spent enough time in one of the stages, reveal something from the following level as a type of trial balloon and see whether the other person reacts in like. For example, if you’ve been exchanging data, be the first to express an opinion; if the other person expresses an opinion, you’re ready to go on to the next step. If they don’t respond and stick to providing information, keep the stage going for a bit longer before sending up another balloon.

Principle #3 of Self-Disclosure: Lead With Positivity

Because intimacy is created via disclosure, it may be tempting to reveal difficult topics right away — melancholy, prior break-up agony, a history of abuse, financial troubles, etc. — to jump-start the bonding process.

However, you should keep your early disclosures on a more positive track as you begin to share your thoughts and emotions. Negativity is a social buzzkill, as we’ve addressed extensively. Before a relationship to withstand the weight of your heavier responsibilities, it must be built on a foundation of positive context and interest. It’s like putting a bowling bowl on top of a spider web if you bring up your hefty troubles before the scaffolding is put in place. Under the strain of this early overshare, the sensitive, still-emerging threads shatter. 

Principle #4 of Self-Disclosure: Balance Questions and Comments

Asking a lot of questions to someone is an excellent method to show interest, charm, and develop rapport.

Asking a lot of questions also allows you to take charge of the discussion, which may be beneficial. If you’re socially confident, you can assist shy individuals come out of their shells and even direct the conversation to themes that interest you (ideally, you should try to tackle things that both of you are interested in).

However, asking question after question is a tactic for avoiding giving personal information. It might come off as overbearing, making it seem as though you have anything to conceal or don’t have anything fascinating to say.

While it’s better to ask too many questions than to speak too much about yourself, conversation should ideally be more like a volleyball game than an interrogation, and you should let the other person ask you questions. Of course, not everyone would, even if given the chance, due to shyness or conversational narcissism, but at the absolute least, pepper the discussion with your own thoughts and observations so the other person doesn’t do all the talking.


Ask yourself at the conclusion of a conversation whether you know nearly as much about the other person as they know about you to see if you struck a balance between too much and too little self-disclosure.

If you answered no, you either spoke too much and didn’t ask enough questions of the other person, or you asked too many questions and didn’t reveal enough about yourself. Next time, adjust your pace of self-disclosure to get a more balanced dynamic of disclosures.



The “how to think of questions to ask” is a question that can be asked in conversations with new people. This question helps you figure out what they are interested in and what they want to talk about.

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