Agathe has this thing where she really, really needs people to be open. This is exactly why we get on like a house on fire. Within moments of our first email we both knew intimate details of each others life. The best part about a penpal is that your secrets are safe. But if you ask me pretty much any detail of my life (with the exception of what I spend on my wardrobe), I will tell you with absolute honesty. At the moment Agathe has someone in her life that she would like to open up just a little bit more to her. They’re close but she feels like she’s laid her soul on the line and gotten very little in return. As an oversharer myself, I recognize how that sort of situation can you leave you feeling vulnerable and raw. So tonight we were discussing how she can get this person to open up a little bit more. Oh yeah, and they’re dating.
“Don’t make a big deal out of it or sit him down for a “heart to heart” because then he’ll think he’s getting dumped.” (From our fb chat). Here’s a few of my non snarky suggestions for pulling details out of someone who is a little tight lipped:
1. Sit close. Closeness signifies safety. Use open body language. Make them feel comfortable.
2. Try and avoid small talk. People who don’t like to talk much REALLY HATE IT (as do I).
3. Be patient and give them time to answer. This is the most difficult for me. I tend to speak quickly and grow impatient with those that don’t move at the same rate I do. I am perpetually working on this flaw.
4. Try and engage them on something they’re comfortable about. For instance if you’re trying to get information about previous relationships, maybe start with a good story about one of your exes. Something funny, not heavy.
5. Be a good listener. Be quiet. Make tea if you have to contribute something. Allow them to open slowly and with a little time the pot will boil.
Remember that everyone is different. Some people will never budge an inch. But for most people, these things simply take a little time. Maybe there will be a time in the future where you’ll want him to shut up and will long for these days of peace!
Image from here