Dear those of you who have a hard time opening up,
If you have ever watched the popular television drama, One Tree Hill, you're probably familiar with Peyton Sawyer's famous line, "people always leave." If you're like me, you know that it's true that people always leave, which is why you're careful about who you open up to.
People come and go and it's hard to judge who is going to stay and be there for the long run. Opening up to someone is like giving that person a small part of your soul, so you have to be smart about who you give a part of your soul away to. When people leave your life, it's hard, no matter how close you were to them. Like there's that one person you were kind of acquaintances with in high school who now no longer acknowledges your existence and that SUCKS. It also sucks when someone you're close with leaves.
Having to decide who gets to know you is incredibly challenging. It is so hard to tell who is worthy of knowing things about you. Sometimes sharing little things can be just as scary as sharing big private things. Asking someone what their favorite color is can be just as nerve wracking for them as asking them about their childhood. In 2017 there are so many different games and facades people can play, which can make it extra challenging to determine who you should share your soul with. About a year ago there was this trend called "Waste Your Time" and people would literally talk to others like they had an intention of dating them, when in reality they were just wasting their time, because apparently that's funny? It's games like these ones that push people away from ever opening up to others because "people always leave."
Everyone knows that getting close to people is part of life and you can't push everyone you meet away, but of course knowing that and achieving that are two different things. Opening up is hard. You're vulnerable and in a place of pure emotional rawness, and people can be so cruel and unforgiving and apathetic. And trying to decipher how someone is going to act when you open up to them is HARD, especially when it comes to trying to figure out how someone you're romantically interested in is going to react to the skeletons in your closet, or at least to finding out that you're a cat person.
Instead of opening up to people, we have a tendency to build up walls. Sometimes it's easier to be closed in and alone than it is to risk losing a part of your soul to someone who is just going to end up leaving. There's this voice in the back of your head that says something along the lines of, "if you tell so-and-so this, they're going to leave, so don't share that with them." We know it's crazy and absurd and we tell ourselves that "if they don't like what they hear then fuck them and move on," right? Well, that's not what happens all the time. Sometimes we like a person so much we're afraid that we're going to scare them away with our scary past, or scary present, or maybe even scary future, so we keep the information to ourselves and wait for "the perfect moment" to share all of our skeletons. But that perfect moment never comes and we just end up pushing yet another person away, all because we're afraid of them leaving on their own.
It's crazy, I know, but in my short 22 years I have met so many people who struggle with opening up to others, just like I do. There's this fear of judgement and fear of being patronized by someone of deep importance, and that fear stems from people always leaving, or threatening to leave.
If you're with someone who won't open up to you, don't pressure them. They'll get there, it may just take a while. It has nothing to do with you. If I don't open up to you, it's not about you. I may not feel comfortable at a certain moment. Or I'm afraid of what you're going to think or say. Or I'm trying to see if I can trust you or not. The more you pry for information, the more likely people like me are going to push you away. Don't take it personally, I mean it could be worse, we could be a sharer*.
The moral of all of this is that people who don't open up right away have their reasons and they're valid ones. It's scary telling someone personal things about you, especially if you don't know how they're going to react. So, please be patient and kind and empathetic, because we're probably trying our best.
*SHARER: someone who tells you all about their life even when you haven't asked them about it. You're probably just standing in front of them in the long check out line at Target and they tell you about their cat with 8 toes who was left alone in a field when he was a mere kitten.