Being Private

I’m thinking a great deal now about the topic of what makes some people very private and others not. By “private” I mean not wanting to reveal to others much about your life either good or bad. The reason I’m thinking about this is I’m friendly with this woman who I always got that very private vibe from. If you asked her “ so do you have any vacations planned” she’d answer in the way one might if asked “so what is your deepest darkest secret.” But I was ok with that everyone is different. Though I did think about what made her that way and thought it was likely how she was raised.

She’s always been like this in the 25 years I’ve known her. So several years ago her kid was at my house and ( well I’m going to change some details here to protect my friends privacy but you’ll get the gist) I had this book laying around by a first time author. And the kid was like “ Hey my aunt wrote that book”. I was shocked. I didn’t know her sisters last name or that she had written a book The book had a good amount of press, very well received and went into a lot of details about the authors life and family growing up. Now I can tell you this was not a Glass Castles kind of book. It’s about someone with a very happy life and her stories are sweet and funny. But lots and lots of details about this persons life.

My friend had certainly mentioned her sister( by her first name like “I’m meeting my sister juli for lunch so can’t come to the PTO meeting til 2” .that kind of thing and was obviously close to her. ) But for example i saw my friend at the grocery amd she was picking up a cake and up and if I asked about the occasion she’d say it’s her mons b day and when I asked what they were doing she’d say “ getting together with the family” but a month later her sister might have a column in a newspaper like “How I nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to plan my moms 75 th bithday party for 75 people ”. ( again details changed to protect privacy). My friend would be heavily mentioned in the story ( in a good way). It’s so weird to have alll these details about my friends life that she never shares.

But what I’m really struck by is how super private my friend is…way more than anyone I know and her sister puts it all out there. Maybe one is a reaction to the other? Though the sister’s writing fame came many years after I met my friend and was aware of her almost CIA like secrecy about her life. It sure doesn’t seem like this could be something based on how they grew up. But maybe one adopted the parents way of being and the other rebelled?

So…here’s my question/ discuss topic. Are you consider yourself a private person? Why or shy not? Are your siblings the same? Different? Why are some people so private and others very open. Do you prefer one kind of person to the other?

Me…I’m pretty open. As is my only sibling. Our parents weren’t particularly private people.

I’m pretty open, S is quite private. H tends to be pretty private as well. D is in between.

I am open about my family matters and childhood with my friends verbally, but physically I am very private and reserved. My friends know that I don’t like to be touched so they usually avoid the huggy huggy kissy kissy thing with me. H is touchy and open, he’s all over FB. The kids are in between, except that middle son is the most closed off, private and guarded person I have ever met, physically and verbally. He is so private that he failed English assignments rather than share ANYTHING about himself, but when I told him to make stuff up, he said that was intellectually dishonest!

Baby kid - OMG, my entire life is on Facebook and the like. Big kid - made her sister take every pic of hers off social media. :slight_smile:


I’m too private to tell you how private I am. :))

This could be about our sons. The younger is basically just like your private friend. The older is like your friend’s sister. They are full siblings raised in the same house by their father and me with their older sister. You could know my private son for years and not know as many details about him as I have just shared here in this post. You could know my social older son for one minute and he would introduce you to us as his new friend.

That’s an interesting story. I’m not private, but I’ve become selective about who I tell what.

Perhaps her reticence is an understandable reaction to her sister putting it all out there. Even if the writer wasn’t famous early on, her family may have been aware of the potential for collateral fame.

In her circumstances, I might not mind sis using family events in her writing, as long as most of my acquaintances didn’t realize the connection, and I don’t consider myself all that private in day to day life.

However. I’ve never been on Facebook, etc.

One of my sisters has a huge social medial presence. Another won’t even use email.

Writing about your family is such a huge topic.

Depending on how famous the writer is, her sister may not want to deal with requests from fans for introductions. Of course, not you, Maya… but once it’s out there everyone in your extended social circle will know.

Interesting thread. :slight_smile:

I was thinking about the topic of privacy as well this morning while scrolling through fb. I was struck by all the people who are posting photos and tributes to their dads. I love my dad and my husband, the father of our children, with all my heart and feel so lucky to have them in my life. I have told them and will work to honor them today and I love father’s day but not as a public declaration. My dad and my Dh are not on fb and even if they were I do not think they would want a public shout out complete with photos. I got a glimpse of a an old college friend in his bed with his teens who made him breakfast in bed - I don’t know if I feel like I need to see his messy bedroom, his hairy chest since there were no clothes to be seen, or that peek into his private life. It is easy to scroll past all the posts but it did get me thinking when did it become expected that people need to broadcast their entire lives with public proclamations along with hundreds of comments and photos attached.

I guess I lean towards much more private since it is not just social media where I don’t feel like sharing everying since I don’t share too much at work in the real world about my personal life. My coworkers do not have my cell # and we are not friends on fb. I like them alot and we have been out socially many times, but they are coworkers and I want to be work free when I am at home. I am married to a private person as well. My mother on the other hand will share every last detail to everyone. It is challenging to be with her when she is talking on the phone (or worse in person) to friends about each of my siblings and myself. She thinks nothing of sharing $, medical, or personal details about herself or any of us, it is so hard. It does come in handy when the word needs to go out about something and we don’t feel comfortable sharing.

I am a bit of an open book, even here I seem to share quite a bit about my personal situation. I really don’t care who knows details of my private life and especially if I’ve had a drink or two, you might hear all about my personal life.

My D on the other hand is pretty private. I think that comes from shyness. She is convinced that no one wants to hear what she feels. Even when she thinks she sharing, she’s not. I sometimes tell her that she needs to tell her boyfriend how she is feeling. That in order not to build up resentment, you have to let people know.

But there are other people who seem to think that if you ask about their family, they are giving up a state secret.

We live in a world of oversharing. I don’t have any social media, and unlikely I will ever have, yet I don’t consider myself overly private. With the exception of two girlfriends, I don’t voluntarily discuss my private business with anybody. If I’m asked a personal question, I’m happy to answer, but I don’t go out of my way to broadcast my life.

I think there is a difference between sharing on social media and being private.

I have a friend who posts all the time on Facebook. You know where she is and who she is with. She checks in at restaurants and posts her political views all the time. But in person, she’s very private. She has stage 4 cancer but very few people know that. She doesn’t share personal things. It seems so strange in a way.

I don’t post on Facebook very often. I don’t care though about sharing my private life with my friends in a personal setting.

Facebook and all social media are a very heavily curated view of your life and shouldn’t be confused with being open and honest. Because very rarely are the two the same.

IRL, I leans towards being a private person. No, I’m not shy, but I’m introverted. My siblings, we are four in total, are different. Two extroverts who share-share-share, and two introverts who don’t even have a Facebook account.

I think one thing I don’t like about being too open is I bristle at the thought of people trying to “figure me out” or tell MY story. I don’t know where that comes from. Maybe my family? There is a particular kind of gossip I recoil from, too. I think to myself MYOB.

There is a difference in being private and in being selective about those to whom one reveals private information.

I’m pretty extroverted, but I talk to other people more about them than about me. Some things I’m open about, but they are more likely to be things from the periphery of my life, not internal things. I don’t know whether people realize how much I actually keep to myself.

I find that many people have grossly inaccurate ideas about extroverts: what they think, how they feel, what makes them tick. Especially introverts. B-)

For some, seeming extroverted is a skill, not necessarily the true self.
Agree with Consolation.

I’ve known many people who APPEAR to be extroverts in their professional life. At home, when they can be themselves, many are actually rather reticent and reserved and tired of having to act the extrovert role. These are all very successful professionals.

It’s all about boundaries. Some people have extra-tight boundaries. Maybe they don’t trust very well. Maybe they are afraid of being judged.

This thread made me think of a story from about 15 years ago, when my children were in elementary school. I was somewhat friendly with one women who was the mom of one of my D’s friends. Small school, saw each other at pick-up every day, saw each other when the kids played together. That sort of thing. I knew she was very quiet. Once when I was at her house when the kids were playing, I mentioned that I had seen her husband doing the morning drop-off several days the previous week (it had always been she who did the drop-off). She said, “Oh, I was out of town for a few days.” OK. She didn’t work, so I knew it wan’t a business trip. So I just said, “I hope it was for something fun.” She said that, no, it wasn’t. Her mother died. First, if I and others had known we certainly would have offered to help out with kids, meals, etc. But nobody knew! Second, wouldn’t that be something you’d mention sort of up front when getting together with someone? Even after I mentioned that I saw her husband at drop-off she STILL didn’t mention it until I said I hoped it was for something fun. So, heavy boundaries.