“Omg I’m really into this person, but I don’t know what to do!”

“Just, have a little talk maybe?”

“Well, what do I say?”

“I don’t know, something not dumb?”

Sounds familiar? To me, it was literally like yesterday. (Yes, my friend asked me that question this Monday) Because I’m armed with empirical evidence, my answers were a little bit different from above. After this blog, I believe your friends would be grateful to you.

What’s empirical evidence then? Okay, so here’s a guy called Keith Welker. He demonstrates that there is a positive correlation between self-disclosure and the feeling of passionate love. In his study, couples report passion love is significantly higher in the high-self-disclosure interactions than those in low-self-disclosure interactions. Moreover, he states that “the creation of couple friendships may be an additional way to reignite feelings of passionate love in romantic relationships.” In a not-so-Ph.D way of speaking, try double date more, and when you do that, have something fun. In Welker’s first part of the study, he finds out that in the “double dates” scenario, in which two pairs of couples engage in an activity I like to call “know myself better” followed by a classic game Jenga, couples report increased passionate love within couples, while single couples do not. 

Now the question is, “How do I self-disclose then?” The answer is, you know its name, a sense of humor. A study led by Carson showed that participants perceived more self-disclosure from the acquaintance when the conversation contained humor than when it did not. Surprisingly, however, this trend was only for conversations centered around a superficial topic. In conversations centered around the deeper or more intimate topic, participants perceived less self-disclosure when the other person used humor. One possible reason is that disclosures are less likely to be judged as true when they are accompanied by a humorous statement than when they are not (Bitterly & Schweitzer, 2019). Don’t get frustrated yet if you have a good sense of humor. Carson’s study only focuses on acquainted same-sex friends and unacquainted same-sex strangers. In other words, this is a study for same-sex friendships. The pattern is unknown for romantic relationships, but indeed Carson’s experiment provides some insight regardless of gender. If you two can’t even be friends, not to mention romantic partners. 

You may wonder, “if I meet someone online, can I use this self-disclosure method?” Of course you can, for making friends. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT self-disclose too much if you want to have a romantic relationship with someone you meet online. It’s proven by researchers (Lee, 2019) that there is a negative association between online disclosure and intimacy in romantic relationships, BUT not in friendships. Lee’s research again proves that greater disclosure was associated with higher intimacy and satisfaction when done offline. The result of this study actually presents us with a hybrid dating technique. How about start making friends online and wait until the first in-person date? We all know now what’s self-disclosures and responsiveness can bring you, so you know what to do. If you are curious about making friends online or becoming a “potential” dating target, we have great articles about that too!

1. Carson, K. J. (2021). Humor as a facilitator of intimacy in developing friendships (2021-08069-287; Issues 6-B) [ProQuest Information & Learning]. 

2. Lee, J., Gillath, O., & Miller, A. (2019). Effects of self- and partner’s online disclosure on relationship intimacy and satisfaction. PLoS ONE, 14(3). 

3. Welker, K. M., Baker, L., Padilla, A., Holmes, H., Aron, A., & Slatcher, R. B. (2014). Effects of self-disclosure and responsiveness between couples on passionate love within couples. Personal Relationships, 21(4), 692–708. 

4. Bitterly, T. B., & Schweitzer, M. E. (2019). The impression management benefits of humorous self-disclosures: How humor influences perceptions of veracity. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 151, 73–89. 

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