How to Open Up

Do you have trouble opening up to the world around you? If so, you have nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it takes a lot of courage to be open, honest, and vulnerable with the people in your life, whether they’re a friend, loved one, partner, or acquaintance. Don’t worry. We’ve put together some tips, tricks, and suggestions that might make it a little easier to open up in your next conversation.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Identify the root of the problem.

  1. Opening up is scary, and requires you to be vulnerable. If you’re having trouble taking that leap of faith, think about what’s holding you back. You might be worried about the person leaving you behind further down the line, or judging you for whatever you have to say.[1] Once you figure out the root of the problem, you’ll have an easier time taking control of your thoughts and feelings.
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    • For example, a close friend betrayed your trust and shared a secret, you might have trouble trusting other people.

[Edit]Embrace your strengths and positive qualities.

  1. Opening up is all about learning to be comfortable with who you are. Try to pinpoint any negative thoughts that pop into your head throughout the day. Instead of thinking about your insecurities and weaknesses, focus instead on what you’re good at, and what makes you you. Embracing the positives is a big step toward conquering your insecurities, and helps you feel more comfortable and confident opening up.[2]
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    • For instance, you might admire how pretty your smile is, or how good you are at making people laugh.

[Edit]Practice opening up on social media.

  1. Conquer your fear of judgment and rejection in baby steps. It takes a big leap of faith to really make yourself vulnerable and open up—but you don’t have to do this all at once! Try being a little more open and vulnerable on your social media accounts to help build your confidence. Quick, honest social media posts are a great way to embrace your authentic self while you practice opening up.[3]
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    • For instance, you might tweet about how you had a tough day at work. If you live with a chronic illness, you might shed some light on your daily experiences.

[Edit]Work on your self-confidence.

  1. Boost your self-confidence by practicing self-care. Take time each day to pamper and care for yourself, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Self care can be something as simple as picking out a nice outfit, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, or hopping in the shower. The better you feel about yourself, the more confident and comfortable you’ll feel opening up.[4]
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[Edit]Find common interests.

  1. Common ground makes it easier to strike up a conversation. Sign up for a club or class, or hang out with friends and acquaintances that have similar interests as you. Use your common interest as a conversation starter, and see where things lead. Plus, it’s a lot easier to chat with people who enjoy the same things as you![5]
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    • If you sign up for a cooking class, you could say something like, “I love being able to experiment with new ingredients in the kitchen. What are some of your favorite go-to recipes?”
    • If you join a biking group, you might open up and say something like, “Bike rides are so therapeutic for me. After a tough day, a long bike ride always makes me feel better.”

[Edit]Ask people questions about themselves.

  1. Asking questions can make it easier to open up in a conversation. More often than not, people enjoy sharing and chatting about their lives. Use this to your advantage, and ask a friendly question to get the conversation going. Throughout your chat, pipe in about your own experiences.[6]
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    • You might ask someone how their weekend went. Once they’ve shared their story, jump in and describe what you did on the weekend.
    • Asking questions is a great way to see what you have in common with other people. Chances are, the more questions you ask, the more comfortable you’ll feel opening up later on.

[Edit]Use open body language when you talk to people.

  1. Changing your body language can make you feel more confident and approachable. When you feel nervous and vulnerable, you might hunch your shoulders, cross your arms, and/or avoid making eye contact. Instead, try standing up straight, keeping your arms open, and maintaining eye contact. These small habits may help boost your confidence, and make it easier to open up to others.[7]
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[Edit]Say what’s really on your mind.

  1. Open, honest communication makes it easier for you to open up. Try not to beat around the bush in your conversation. Instead, say exactly what’s on your mind, and wait for the other person to respond. When you make yourself vulnerable, you actually open yourself up to a more honest, genuine, and productive conversation.[8]
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    • If you’re talking to your partner, you might say, “I feel like we don’t get a lot of quality time together” instead of saying “You spend too much time at work.”
    • If you’re chatting with a friend, you could say, “I feel like our friendship isn’t a priority to you” instead of saying “You never answer my texts.”

[Edit]Use “I” statements.

  1. First-person statements help put your thoughts and feelings into words. If you’re feeling vulnerable, you might speak in second person, or rely on the other person to get the conversation going. That’s okay! In your next conversation, try to label your own thoughts and feelings using the word “I.”[9]
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    • For example, say something like “I’m so happy we were able to meet for lunch” instead of saying “Are you happy to be here?”
    • Statements like, “I always enjoy spending time with you” “I loved getting to chat with you” and “I hope we can hang out again soon” are some other “I” statements you can try.

[Edit]Challenge yourself to be a little more vulnerable.

  1. Create small goals for yourself in your daily routine. You might visit a club and try to talk to 1 new person, or have a deep phone conversation with a friend or loved one. Set small, attainable goals for yourself that help you open up at your own pace.[10]
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    • For instance, instead of talking to a friend about school or your favorite TV show, you might talk about something that’s stressing you out.

[Edit]Meet with a counselor.

  1. A counselor can help you tackle your fear of opening up. Schedule an appointment with a therapist and share some of your struggles. They can help you get to the root of your fears, and give you lots of tips on how to open up and connect with others.[11]
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[Edit]References

[Edit]Quick Summary

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