I remember when we were children and we had at least a dozen “best friends” that we could trust with the biggest secrets. We used to tell each other everything, we never hid our emotions and we used to be far more emotionally attached than we are now, at least it seems that way. I’ve noticed that as we get older, we learn to keep our “secrets” to ourselves, most of us learned how to “fix” our problems in privacy and we just don’t feel like talking about every detail in our life. People started living by the “you don’t ask, I don’t tell” rule. I have a lot to say about this, so I’m starting a discussion that anyone can join.
Do I personally live by this rule? I wouldn’t necessarily say so. Sometimes I don’t open the topic before the other person does and more often I try to fill the gaps and the silence in a conversation by sharing details about my life. I don’t do that with complete strangers, only with the people I am comfortable with. I feel as if, sure, some things I’d rather keep to myself, but other than that I am opened to talk about anything. I always admit that people are vulnerable beings, I am not ashamed of my vulnerability and I don’t think I need to hide it from the people I care about. Therefore, I share. Even if sometimes a person doesn’t ask. Which doesn’t mean I am going to analyze my entire life out loud while the person I am having coffee with just waits to get a word from me, by the way.
In order for the conversation to flow beautifuly, you need to equally exchange words with the person you are talking to. If somebody asks me about my relationships, I gladly answer and ask them what’s new with their relationships. A comfortable conversation, to me, is a conversation when you don’t feel like you’re interviewing/interrogating someone, but at the same time you aren’t being interviewed/interrogated either. That means you are both able to share without being asked about something.
Sometimes, I don’t share. I don’t share when I feel like it’s not your business to know.
Meaning, I am not comfortable. However, if I don’t feel comfortable with sharing, I won’t change my mind when you ask me about it. I’ll quickly say something that won’t cover the ground and try to change the topic. And that’s the reason I don’t understand the “if you don’t ask, I don’t tell” rule.
Do people like being interrogated? Do you want your friends to ask you about everything in your life? What was your day like, did you have a fight with anyone today, did anyone flirt with you, did you see a squirrel on your way home? If you want to be interrogated, find yourself a shrink. If I’ve insulted anyone, I apologize, but I feel like the “you don’t ask, I don’t tell” rule literally only works with shrinks. Your friends and family shouldn’t pull “information” out of you, because if you have an emotional relationship with someone, you should equally invest in each other and in the conversation. When they share, it’s beautiful when you decide to share back. If they ask you a question, it’s beautiful for you to ask them something too.
If you feel comfortable enough with the person to talk about the topic, you should do that without being asked. What are your fears? That you’ll get ignored? Or that they aren’t worth your trust? I am sure they won’t ignore you. And if they do, at least you know you shouldn’t trust them the next time. We learn from our mistakes, but we can’t learn from something if we don’t even try.