How do you get someone to open up?



Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry to my giveaway! And thanks for your queries about everything lurve and relationships. In this post we're gonna talk about getting someone to open up, something I know a great deal about because I have often found myself in relationships with people who have far less capacity to express themselves emotionally than myself and by that I mean that I am a woman who has been in relationships with men. I'm kidding, I'm kidding* but it is true that I've found myself frustrated by what I've seen as my partner shutting themselves off from me emotionally and I've learned from it. So, here are some tips I hope to take into the future. 

1. Make sure what you're looking for exists
Here's a typical conversation with my ex: 

Me: What you thinking? 
Him: Nothing
Me (Shifting closer): No really tell me what you're thinking?
Him (Big sigh): I was thinking about whether snails have penises

And despite this I still insisted on prodding, prodding, prodding - searching for the emotional depths I was certain he was keeping hidden from me. When I started dating a couple of years ago, I did a lot of reading about relationships and discovered the five love languages. These are - words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time and physical touch. When we say we want someone to open up we often mean, TELL ME I'M GREAT! SAY HOW MUCH YOU LOVE ME! And maybe your partner is telling you this in other ways? Maybe they're showing you love by cooking dinner every night and you're overlooking this because you haven't had a book of sonnets written for you. 

2. Take into account individual limitations
People can only work with what they have. If someone tells you they're an open book and six months later you still don't know their home address, you don't want to try and get more out of them, you need to get the hell out the relationship. This isn't usually the case. A person who struggles to express themselves emotionally will most likely be up front about it; so you need to judge them on their effort and not their output. I'd tell a stranger at a bus stop about my post birth bleeding, getting me to open up is not that big a deal. If someone who finds it difficult gives you something, anything - recognise that and thank them. 

3. Approach them like a horse
A friend once told me that you have to approach a man like a horse. If you come at them head on they'll become threatened and flee,  you have to come at them from the side. Don't sit your partner down and fire questions at them, everyone is more open when they're relaxed and an interrogation is rarely relaxing. Think about those sideways situation - driving, walking, before you fall asleep at night or if even that's too much try text messages, at least then you get to keep the evidence.

4. You're not asking questions because you're afraid of the answer.
If you think your partner isn't opening up it's because there's things you need to know - do they love me? Are they happy? Are they going to watch the next episode of 'Suits' without me? When you're lost you ask someone for directions, so why not ask your loved one to point you in the right direction? Is it because you're afraid of what answers you might receive and frustrated ignorance is bliss? If you want someone to open up, you better be prepared to be open with yourself first. 

*I'm not kidding


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6 comments

  1. A thought provoking post, that has made me think! #satsesh@_karendennis

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  2. #thesatsesh hahaha this is both wise and humorous. I am terrible for asking everyone 'what are you thinking?' perhaps i should worry more about my own thoughts?

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  3. cracking about about your ex. Thats the sort of answer I would give...and also not be kidding #anythinggoes

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    1. And you wonder why you make us crazy ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  4. I thought this was going to be about teens - show's where my head is at. I don't think the love languages works for them, but the horse approach of 'softly, softly' helps...a lot of time to get to the crux of the matter. #AnythingGoes

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  5. hahaha #notkidding - i said that out loud before i got to the end. My hubby says men have a nothing box in their heads and they really can go and hide in there and think of absolutely nothing. Obviously this is a completely alien to most of us women who largely struggle to focus on just one thought never mind disect the multitude that constantly swirl around. But hey, if a man answers 'nothing' it might well be true, ...
    ... athough it probable is nore likely to be whether or not snails have penises ;-) #thesatsesh

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