In defense of being a closed book

I’ve always referred to myself as an open book, which is just a nicer way of saying that I’m a chronic oversharer. Coupled with my generally uncontrollable urge to fill up awkward silences and my proclivity for rambling when I’m nervous means that people get to know me pretty well, pretty quickly.

I used to view my openness as a net positive thing. Even though I might seem annoying or TMI to some, the ones that did stick around would be just as transparent. But lately I’ve been thinking that I might be wrong. In fact, it might be the other way around. Someone who is more closed off might feel more comfortable with someone like me but it somehow gives permission to their reservations. I’m all for healthy boundaries, but when one person in a relationship of any kind is far more open, there’s an imbalance of vulnerability and therefore, an imbalance of power. We let them know us without anything in return.

The other thing, at the risk of sounding like a prude, is that there is a downside to being “emotionally slutty.” By being laissez-faire with your emotional borders, people who should have increased access to your inner world are in reality afforded the same privileges as your yoga buddies, your roommates, maybe even your work BFF. I can’t help but wonder if by easily emotionally intimate, do we devalue the moments of emotional intimacy that truly matter?

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