I have always been cautious about what I tell people about myself. I never want to reveal something that I might later regret. But I do like to have close relationships. The problem is I find it takes a long time for me to form that closeness. When I was in sixth grade I moved to a new school. I didn’t begin to feel like people really knew me until my junior year in high school. I really enjoyed those last two years of high school, but maybe if I had been a little less cautious about telling people about myself earlier, I could have had more fun all throughout junior and senior high. Maybe I should go out on a limb a little more; I may find that people are willing to let me come closer to them as a result.
The symbol of an onion is a great representation of all the aspects of a person. I believe that it can help in committing to someone in marriage if I understand that people are like onions. It may sounds trite, but it is so important to not only have depth with a person but also breadth--which unfortunately is sometimes forgotten on our campus.
My parents have always been a bit skeptical of "campus marriage" as they call it--meeting someone in college and marrying them before you even finish school. But now that I'm in college I'm beginning to understand my parents' perspective on this issue whereas I used to think they just didn't understand "love at first sight." I know several couples that have graduated within the last year and gotten married and they are struggling in their marriages because their spouses have supposedly "changed so much" since college. Have they really changed or are my friends just slicing through the different layers and cutting out wedges that they didn't see before?
Growing up as an Air Force brat, I've had numerous opportunities to put the theory of social penetration to work. I've had to leave my friends behind and make all new ones more times than I care to count, and starting anew never seems to get any easier. The immediate thought of many people is that after so many moves, I would be a pro at making new friends. Everything gets easier with repetition--including self-disclosure and vulnerability, right? Well, at least in my case, the answer is a resounding no.
Three weeks before I was to start my junior year of high school at Beavercreek High School in Beavercreek, OH, my parents informed me that we were moving to FL. That move was by far the most difficult for me. First of all, it was completely unexpected. More important, however, was where it came in the sequence of my life. I knew that in two short years, I would again have to uproot and start over. I had no intention of going to college in Florida, I knew I would almost certainly be going to a school where I knew no one. It was then that I decided I was not going to allow myself to become close to anyone. My relationships would all be characterized as "breadth without depth." While I couldn't express it in such terms, I knew that with self-disclosure comes vulnerability. Vulnerability can lead to attachment and emotional dependence and that equals painful goodbyes. How much easier would it be to keep all my relationships on a purely superficial level?
Despite my "good" intentions, I was unable to maintain my aloofness. I met a girl, Shaun. She was a senior who had moved to Florida the year before--her junior year of high school. This commonality led to numerous reciprocal conversations about our moving experiences, which led to more and more self-disclosures. Though it wasn't immediate, I soon found myself in a close relationship.
When I first met Natalie, I decided that I wanted to be good friends with her. Looking at the comparison level of alternatives, I evaluated her against another good friends and saw more positive things in Natalie. Natalie is much more relaxed, has a better sense of humor, and is smarter. While at the same time I didn't realize that I was looking at the comparison level, I look back now and see that is exactly what I was doing. As our relationship has progressed, my comparison level has also risen. With normal friends, I do not expect a call on a weekly basis. But, with Natalie being my closest friend, I expect to talk to her at least once a week and am disappointed if I do not. Even so, when I speak or talk to her I am always pleasantly surprised and have a positive outcome. Our relationship is very important to both of us because we have reached a very deep depth of penetration. There is very little Natalie does not know about me and very little I do not know about her.