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Thread: What do you consider private and public?

  1. #31


    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Puppy View Post
    I fail the "how was your weekend/" question quite often. "mediocre", " it sucked", "beautiful with waves of happiness" when "great, how was yours" is the correct answer.
    I feel like I'm lying with the answer that I'm "supposed" to give with questions like this, if it actually isn't the truth. But I usually know when someone asks such a question and is genuine about it, or whether they're doing so because it's the polite thing to do. In the latter case, I don't care nearly as much if I have to lie.. I figure that, in both cases, I'm giving the answer that the other person wants me to give.

    Like most people, the topics I share are typically dependent upon the 'vibe' that I get with the other person. Just as with the "how was your weekend?" example above, I get a feel for what sort of information can be shared.

    A person's role in my life doesn't usually matter. For example, I have some coworkers who I don't 'hang out' with, but I feel comfortable sharing information with them nonetheless; others, much less so. I was thoroughly confused when one coworker asked me questions about my sex life, but I freely shared that information with another without batting an eye.

    I don't lie about traits such as my religious or political beliefs, but I won't often make them known if doing so will cause disharmony in a group setting. I'll discuss politics and religion in general terms, though.

    When I'm giving speeches or lectures--especially motivational speeches and the like--I usually divulge tons of personal information as it relates to the topics at hand. Some of my public speeches have detailed my struggles with depression, my sense of and search for identity, and my failed relationships.

    Also, is time a factor in casually revealing what you consider private information to people, i.e. you still don't know them very well but you've been around them several times?
    Not usually. There are certain people with whom I've established mutual trust within a few hours of meeting them (one of which quickly became my best friend), and there are many others who I've known for years and don't know a whole lot about me.

    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    When having casual and informal conversation, I would like to have specific and concrete examples of what people would consider general information that they'd have no problem talking with others about, what they would consider private, and what your dividing line is between what is public and private. I'm defining casual as being in the company of people you've chosen to (not forced to) be around even if you don't know them very well. For example, would you casually mention how many sex partners you've had, if you've attempted suicide, that you've had an abortion, that you have an STD, how much money you make, your political/religious beliefs, or what your favorite movie is?
    Now, to hopefully answer the question that you're actually asking..

    In casual conversation where there are people who don't give me that trustworthy vibe, I don't usually share anything that would be divisive, and I often find that getting too personal doesn't add to the conversation. Many such conversations are meant to be surface-level, so, well, I'm more surface-level in disclosing my information, too. However, if any person in the group happens to bring up an issue that they're having in some area--such as relationships--I'll typically disclose whatever information I think would help them out.

    In a one-on-one setting or a very close group setting with people who give me that particular vibe, my casual conversation tends to take more personal overtones. Everything you've listed is on the table for conversation, and there's little that I won't discuss. In fact, I can't think of many examples of things I won't discuss in such a setting. Maybe fetishes and bodily functions.. ? I'm also very sensitive when it comes to disclosing others' information.

  2. #32
    Plumage and Moult Array proteanmix's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Puppy View Post
    To drag this topic up to a weird level...

    In the last two months I have developed a new trick-seeing Fe masks. You look at the other person and you notice if they are wearing an Fe mask or not. It's in the eyes, the face, the smile. There is a tenseness there.

    I realized I have always used that as a screening tool when I select people to interact with. I called it "snobby or prudish or standoffish", but in reality I just knew I would not mesh with them. I didnt know why.

    ENFPs are the best Fe mask breakers ever. We can find tert Fe folks, say utterly crazy shit, then break them out of the Fe facade of politeness and make them giggle. Especially the ENTPs. My ENTPs seek this out IRL.

    So I will be very open with those who dont wear Fe masks, but I will choose not to interact with those who do and disclose nothing as a result.

    Perhapos this sheds some light on the alcohol/party scene described above?
    A challenge! If I'm using Fe as a barrier and boundary I doubt you'd break it. I have scripts and programs ready for such things. I tend to think of Fi as pound cake and Fe as sponge cake, with the difference in texture and density being the tipping point. They both are intended to make confectionery delights and have similar ratios, but output is different. Sometimes you want a good hearty and rich cake, sometimes you want something light and porous. I also have an obsession with referring to Fi and Fe as cakes.

    The woman who I'm referring to in the Turkey day story is an ENFP, early 40s. We also went to happy hour earlier this month and she told me the day she lost her virginity (MLK day because she was out of school), how many sex partners she's had, the last time she had sex, her period tracker on her iPhone to track her ovulation schedule, and that she's currently looking for sperm donors because she desperately wants children. She told me a lot and I listened and asked questions. I truly enjoyed the conversation we had and I find her mostly refreshing but I also felt the press from her to tell me more about myself. This took place when we were by ourselves at a corner of the bar, with dim lights. I think that she tested my receptiveness with the Turkey day story and I was receptive so it continued on at the happy hour. The only reason why I hesitate with her is because we work at the same organization and she lets information slip casually, but then so do I so I'm being little hypocritical.

    At this specific dinner party I'm referring to a person I'd only met once before told two of us they were the product of an adulterous affair and how it's affected their whole life. It was pretty deep I think we talked about real stuff. They said their half-siblings had contacted them and wanted to met and they didn't know what to do. I didn't get the feeling this person was fishing for sympathy and any ol shoulder to cry how. They seemed to truly be on the horns of a dilemma.

    This is what I'm talking about, situations like this where you get really intimate with people you don't know well but are likely to see again. All of this of course presupposes that you do feel comfortable enough. It's like highly concentrated, but brief interactions.

    As for the Fe mask, yes I have one and yes it is superficial and surface level. The difference is the Fe mask is like four-inch thick plexiglass at a ghetto liquor store. It's clear because I generally consider myself a transparent person, so I'm not hiding anything but you're not going to get to what you see on the other side of the glass. I guess the tenseness you see is that, but also you've got to think why is this person reacting to me like this. What reasons have I given them to tense like this? Do they do this with others or is it just with me?

    If I notice someone tenses like that with me, I try to be around them in other situations to see if they're just generally like that or do they relax at any point. I know I'm very much like that with my supervisor, very formal and professional, always knock on her door before I enter, very little idle chitchat, always keep at least a three foot radius between us but that's because I feel like I've been burned by her many times before and my guard is up. I also suppress my reactions around her and try not to register anything on my face but bland pleasantness. She very much enjoys triggering emotional reactions in people, I think it energizes her. I do not like people purposely leaching my emotional energy like that, I find it disgusting. I tend to freely give it so when some tries to steal it from's just highly offensive and repugnant.

    I know she notices I'm much less guarded and freer with other people in our department and generally. She is successful in getting emotional reactions from me when she besmirches my character and questions my competency and abilities. LOL, she asked me in November did I want to work there any longer to get a rise out of me, and I said not really but I need a paycheck and she recoiled. That was pretty funny! I need to do that more often. I'm also actively looking for a new job.
    Relationships have normal ebbs and flows. They do not automatically get better and better when the participants learn more and more about each other. Instead, the participants have to work through the tensions of the relationship (the dialectic) while they learn and group themselves and a parties in a relationships. At times the relationships is very open and sharing. Other time, one or both parties to the relationship need their space, or have other concerns, and the relationship is less open. The theory posits that these cycles occur throughout the life of the relationship as the persons try to balance their needs for privacy and open relationship.
    Interpersonal Communication Theories and Concepts
    Social Penetration Theory 1
    Social Penetration Theory 2
    Social Penetration Theory 3

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