A study by Collins and Miller demonstrated that too much self disclosure too soon could be off-putting.” I personally would be a little uncomfortable if someone I had just met started to tell me his or her deepest and darkest secrets. I have actually experienced first-hand a potential relationship completely implode because too much was disclosed too early on. Collins and Miller study also showed that “people favor people they have made personal disclosures to.” In my personal experience I would agree with this finding. When I disclose something to an individual, there is a connection that begins. Derlega, Mathews, and Green say that disclosure is the building blocks of all relationships.
Research by Berg and Derlega found that there are gender differences in the breadth and depth of what we self disclose. Studies show, that women disclose more about themselves personally, more depth. They talk about their relationships, feelings, accomplishments, and their home life. “Sally” for example will talk to strangers about the best vacuum for hardwood floors, but not about her boyfriend cheating on her. Men on the other hand have more breadth to their self-disclosure talking about cars, sports, work, politics, money and business. I have no problem talking about my work with SEO Orange County, but I won’t tell a stranger about my girlfriend. This research seems to fulfill gender expectations that have remained consistent over many years, although they are progressively changing. This research was done twenty-three years ago, and Im sure if the same study were to be performed today there would be some similarities but also changes. Perhaps they would find that today women are just as interested in politics as men. It might also find that an increasing number of women are sports fans, and are entering the business world.
Overall I find that the research on self-disclosure holds true to many of my beliefs and experiences. Who, what, when and why I decide to disclose to someone is all found in research over the past 25 years.