Take it from someone who has been one
It took me 12 years to understand this:
If you take time to open up to people it doesn’t mean you are closed off, boring, scared, weak or dishonest. Instead, if you take time to let things develop and respect the initial boundaries that naturally exist between two people who don’t know each other, you’re being wise.
I was the kind of person who would tell a stranger the things I would write in my secret diary. The concept of TMI was never a thing for me. People also never discouraged it. Why would they? It was entertaining. Scandalising. Refreshing.
I strongly felt that I am “just being me” and that there is no need for irrelevant things like the passage of time or self preservation. Let me digress a little here. It has been pointed out that I need to work on my self preservation skills. At first I got mad at the person who pointed it out but after days of thought, I agree.
Opening myself up to everyone in no strategic way is draining at best and dangerous at worst. Also, who does that? Even companies put in careful thought into who their target audience is and what their tonality and content should be like.
Everything is liable to change
Something I realized a while ago is the fact that feelings are not to be trusted and neither are intentions. However pure or true they may be in the moment they are liable to change. And not just a tweak or two but a whole 180 degrees! That’s why it’s a cliché to be betrayed by a partner or a best friend.
People tend to become a version of themselves you can’t any longer recognize and it’s often without any warning or apparent reason. Most times, it’s also without any consideration for those that care about them. (Also that’s why ghosting is real – will talk about that vile action another week!)
Stay away from the halo effect
Halo effect is another thing at play. You know when you meet someone new and you notice something about them that immediately strikes you as beautiful or brilliant? And then you can’t stop noticing all the other amazing things about them and in that process place them on a pedestal? Yeah, that sucks and is the road to disappointment.
We are all flawed human beings and we have good things and bad things that make up our personality. If all you do at first is notice the good, then all you have left after is the bad. And it all hits like a truck. Suddenly, you can’t tell why you thought they were so great to begin with. That’s another reason to not dive deep right away.
I met this guy recently and we like each other right now. It’s been two weeks. And yes how we feel about each other is not fake. It’s genuine. But these kind of emotions? They are tender and new. It’s like that plant bud trying to grow in a windy landscape. Only the passage of time will tell if it can survive the weather. If it gets along with the soil. And what is so wrong with letting things take their course?
Be careful about what you take to heart
This narrative in pop culture lately that when you feel something you shouldn’t hesitate to say it right away. Maybe it’s because of ideologies like YOLO and carpe diem. Maybe because society as a whole tends to usually repress their feelings because of fear or their ego. But that’s why you should be so careful about what words you let reach and register in your mind.
I, a person who has never had any issues with expressing my feelings doesn’t need to be pushed to be any more transparent than I am. But growing up, I didn’t see that I was different in my emotional behaviour than those around me. So, without even knowing or understanding, I built this deep-rooted belief that you shouldn’t hesitate for a nano second and pour your emotions and thoughts thoughtlessly.
You don’t want to be a manic pixie dream girl/boy
It hadn’t hit me until now that not restraining from saying everything in the beginning or showing all of your true feelings is not a just quirky or admirable personality trait. It is unnecessary, unwise, and most times a recipe for self destruction.
Not every person you vibe with has to know the strings to your heart asap. Not every person who shows you their heart is owed a showing of yours. I get that sometimes it’s easy to get swept away in the moment where it feels right to say or do something even if it seems stupid or irrational. And sometimes that kind of recklessness is good. It’s youthful, right? But to have that as a consistent behavioural pattern is not healthy.
The beauty of going slow
There’s also something so subtly beautiful about letting thoughts and emotions brew inside of you for a while before you communicate them to the person, especially if they are positive ones. Just imagine developing a crush on someone you see everyday. How nice would it be to let those butterflies and bubbling emotions stay with you for a while before you “confess” them to that person?
Even in a sort of negative situation like when your friend passes a snide remark that’s totally uncalled for. Wouldn’t it be sensible to let that go, sleep on it and move on instead of confronting them about it (unless, of course, it is way out of line). If they do that again, then I get and support the need for confrontation.
You are a piece of art
I’m starting to appreciate the nuance and wisdom of not giving everyone all my back stories. Reasons for my scars. Things that make me tick. Break down. Or even those that melt my heart. I’m starting to enjoy being that piece of art that doesn’t reveal its crux to you in the first view. You have to see it, you have to want to see it multiple times before you even begin to understand what it stands for.