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unlock 10 ways to be more open

How open are you? I'll be honest: I'm not a very open person. If I were a door, I would be locked most of the time. For a various reasons (I won't get into them here because I'm pretty sure you don't have all day to read this post), I'm suspicious and distrusting of others. Because of my lack of trust, I password-protect everything. I'm obsessed with guarding my writing, to the point that I hesistate to let others check their email on my computer, narrowing my eyes and quickly replying, "Why? What for?" when asked if I can lend my computer for a moment. This, I know, is a problem.

Being the type of person who is pretty closed emotionally and physically (you should see my body language!) is not healthy. In fact, it's very limiting for me. It hinders the relationships I have now and it typically prevents me from starting new relationships. The fact that I rarely open my door, even a crack, for other people, is a problem and it definitely stands in the way of my happiness. For that reason, I've taken some time to think about how I can be more open with others. Just like being positive, this will not come easy for me. It's something I'm going to have to work at every day, but I think that outlining some tips to help me do this will really help me.

Whether your door is generally wide open or typically shut tight, we all have situations in our lives where we are more or less open. While you probably shouldn't tell every single person you meet every little detail of your life, it's not necessary to keep the door completely closed. Here are some ideas I've come with on how to be more open:


  1. Learn new things.

    For me this one is key. The more I learn, the more I read about, the more I know. The more I know, the more likely it is that I will be able to relate to someone on some level. Because I am always interested in learning new things and I love to read, this one is pretty easy for me to want to do. However, if you're not into learning like I am, you can try watching the news and keeping up on current events. If you know about things, you can make more connections.

  2. Monitor non-verbal cues.

    This one is also really important. Generally I have very closed body language. Folded arms. Crossed legs. Body angled away from the person I am speaking to. I tend to look around a lot when I am talking to others, mostly because I am uncomfortable or distracted by my own thoughts. I don't smile nearly as often as I should. Smiling and using open body language makes you appear much more open so I plan to work on this a lot.

  3. Listen carefully to others.

    As I mentioned above, I tend to be distracted when it comes to interacting with others. I'm either thinking about what I want to say next or I'm thinking about something else entirely. Either way, this does not help me to be open to others. This keeps me focused on me, inside myself, and stops me from connecting with other people. If I work on listening better, I will be able to connect with others on a deeper level. I may also be surprised by what I hear when I open myself up to the words of others instead of staying trapped in my own little head.

  4. Ask real questions.

    When you're interacting with someone, it's easy to ask questions like "How was your day?" but it's a lot harder to ask the big questions like "What are your thoughts on religion?" Being open and connecting with others means understanding them on a deeper level. Not only does asking the "real" questions help you to connect with others, but thinking about and sharing your answers helps you to connect with yourself as well. When asked a question in return, be open. Be honest.

  5. Ignore your fear.

    The truth is, I'm pretty terrified of connecting with other people. I'm scared that if I share the real me, they will judge it or dislike it. I'm sure on some level we all feel this way and this fear can really hold us back from being open. If you don't share some of yourself with the world, you won't be truly open. So push that fear aside and don't worry about what others might think or say or do. Be you and you'll be surprised how much people will accept you.

  6. Find ways to connect.

    Finding ways to connect with others ties in with #1. If you take the time to learn about the world, and about others' views of the world, you'll have more opportunities to connect with others. Don't be afraid to share what you know or bring up unusual topics. You'd be surprised how much you might have in common with someone else.

  7. Stay in the moment.

    Tying in with listening, staying in the moment means really making an effort, right in that moment, to connect with someone else. Don't think about the things you have to do later. Don't worry about what you didn't get done that day. Be present. It's very difficult to be open when you are thinking about something else. Your mind is closed to a new connection when you are thinking about the past or the future. Be there, in the moment, and you will be much more successful in establishing an open, interesting connection with others.

  8. Refrain from judging.

    Just as I am frightened by the possibility that others will judge me, so is pretty much everyone else. We are all, on some level, worried about others' opinions. I'm a big believer in the idea of "you get what you give." If you judge others, you will be judged. If you judge others, you are labeling them, putting them in boxes, and, while this is convenient, it often takes away a lot of opportunities. Judging others is not a way to embrace openness so don't do it. Period.

  9. Be as specific as you can.

    When you're communicating with others, be specific. When someone says to you, "How was your day?" don't respond with, "Fine. Yours?" Be more open than that. Give details. Provide examples. Share stories. People will feel more connected to you (and will probably share some of their own stories) if you open up to them. Don't be afraid of details. They will not be used against you. (Okay, there goes my mind telling my paranoia to back off!)

  10. Take your time.  

    Being open with others takes time. When you first begin opening up to people, there will probably be a lot of fumbling and bumbling and trying to figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it. It's not easy for everyone to be open and it may take an entire conversation (or many conversations) to really begin connecting with someone on an open level. Be patient with yourself. Every time you're open with someone, the door opens a little bit more. Every little creak of the hinge is progress.


I'm sure some of you readers are open people. Some of you post a lot of personal details on your websites and, while I find the details nice and interesting, they make me nervous. They remind me that I am not as open as you are and, honestly, I'm not sure I will ever be. This really hit me yesterday when I was answering some questions sent to me by another blogger. One of the questions was, "What is your name?" I balked instantly, my eyes narrowing in on the question as if it was a threat. My name? My real name? I took a deep breath and began typing. They I backspaced quickly and wrote, "My name is Positively Present." Not my name. Not my name at all. (But can you imagine if it were?! What crazy parents I would have!)

I instantly felt bad about it because (1) it was a lie (even though it was an obvious one that wasn't hurting or fooling anyone) and (2) it was a stark reminder glaring at me from the screen that screamed at me, "You don't know how to be open!!" To be fair, I've given the link to my blog to a lot of people who know me. A lot of people know who Positively Present is. But why can't I be honest with strangers? Why do I hide behind the mask of PP? I know I'm scared to be open and honest. I've always been this way so it's pretty hard to open up in one big burst of honesty. Almost everyone who knows me is already in shock that I'm so open with my blog (even if I don't put my name on it). I'm really proud of myself for putting so much of me out there like I've been doing over the past few months. Still, I'm scared to put out more.

Writing this and realizing how ridiculous it sounds, I'm still scared. I'm afraid of putting myself out there. I'm afraid of people someday pointing a finger at me and saying, "I read what you wrote on your blog" (which, really, is an absurd thing to worry about since I'm pretty darn proud of this blog!). I'm afraid of (yes, this is ridiculous) people finding out more about me and stalking me. I know, I know. Completely insane. But, after writing this, I feel like I owe it to myself (and to you, reader) to take a step toward being a more open person so here is goes... (deep breaths, deep breaths)

My name is Dani.

Okay, not a huge revelation, but it's a big one for me. There you have it. Me, Positively Present, Dani, being open. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.


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Helllooooooooooooo Dani!
(Beautiful name, you don't have to tell me if it's short for Danielle.) ; )

It's *funny* because I have the totally-opposite "problem" that you have. My husband knows about my blog, but not one other person that I know in real life. Not one. Not my mom, not my sister, not one friend.

I find it way easier to be open and honest with "strangers" than I do with people I see face to face. And like you, I'm dang proud of my blog -- I don't regret one single post. And I suppose that if I did, I could just delete the post, right?

So WHY?! am I so scared of sharing the "real me" with people that I know and love?

(maybe we can encourage each other) ; )

My name is Ia. :) I go back and forth between being WAY too open and being too shut. I'll talk to anyone about my life, but sometimes I feel like I've said too much, especially when it's something negative. I think the trick here is to find a balance and to know who you want to be very open with and who you do not. I'm still finding that balance. I'm really glad you write this blog, by the way, you have no idea how much it's been helpful to me and my own transformation. Thank you!

hey dani : )

i really do adore your blog & actually, this was VERY honest and open. your whole blog is, even if you don't realize it. admitting your faults is something not a lot of people do.

i really do think its those of us who have been the bottom who can eventually rise above the rest because we will it appreciate it so much more bc we worked so hard to get there.

i totally feel like we are kindred spirits (the things i'm learning in therapy are very similar to what you write about learning) & that alone makes me feel better...and more connected.

thanks for writing <3

Congratulations Dani!

I can relate to you. I'm not the most open person either, and it is something I am consciously working on (as well as consciously working on being positive and living in the present moment too : )
With practice and intention, we'll get to where we're going.

And as Erica said, apart from keeping your name a secret you I think you really are being quite open here.

The thing with all change I think is to take baby steps, stretch your comfort zone a bit at a time. I love your blog and look forward to all that is yet to come.

Hm. I consider myself an open person, but I do NOT like letting people use my cell phone or computer. In my mind it's like borrowing a hairbrush.

Do you know, Dani, that your real name is my "fake" name? "Dani" is the name I used to hide behind on social networking sites and when asked by strange boys for my number (always gave the wrong number, judge all you want :)). Anyway, I thought it was a spooky coincidence. It also means that I automatically like you (even though I liked you already).

You're a brave soul! Keep putting yourself out there. So many of us are cheering you on already. Go, Dani!

ok, I'm your lost twin... lol

I have the same behaviour so I understand you very very well...
but I'm trying to change too... It's hard but anyway, I have to do it!
on my blog I posted a questionnaire where I reveal some personal things that at the beginning I thought I wouldn't be able to reveal them... but I did it and I'm proud of that :)

I understand completely! My mother reads my blog and maybe my sister through her. It´s funny but I have given the blog address to quite a few friends who were also decluttering and also my ex-sister in law, and some of them visited once and some none. I don´t know if they understood it was MY blog in some cases (the none visitors), not just some random blog I wanted them to look at- I mean wouldn´t you be curious enough just to look once?? LOL.

Sometimes I wonder if I am private enough? I am naturally open, but also don´t want any crazy people after me or my kids. That is really my only worry, otherwise I am also happy enough with what I write- even the bad clutter/hoarding stuff. However, I also haven´t gone out of my way to tell casual acquaintances about the blog, so I can also be somewhat private in my day to day life.

I think I told my husband that I have a clutter blog in passing- he has not once asked to see it. Don´t know if I should be concerned or relieved!

Kirwin - Thanks! :) It is short for Danielle (it's already out there now, haha). That's so funny that you haven't told anyone in your life (other than your husband). Sometimes I wish no one knew because I would be able to be a lot more open with it, but I do find it nice to know that people in my life, friends and family, can learn more about me, and, not surprisingly, it's helped me to connect a lot more with people because they sometimes relate to my posts. We should definitely encourage each other to be more open with both the people close to us and those who don't know us so well. After the support I've received today, I'm really starting to realize that openness is awesome!

Ia - You're right. Like most things, there is a balance of being open and being closed. The trick is not to be too much of one or ther other. I'm so glad you enjoy reading my blog. It's such a wonderful experience for me and it really is helping me to be more open, both with others and with myself.

Erica - Hi! I'm so glad you like it as well. I'm actually quite surprised about how open and honest I've been in my posts. I guess there is something to be said about sitting here in my office and typing and just putting it out there. It's freeing and so much easier than expressing myself face-to-face. I'm so glad to hear that you're connecting with my blog and it sounds like you're on a similar path. It's nice to know that there's a kindred spirit out there! :)

Hayden - I feel the same way (though I'm actually fine with someone borrowing my hairbrush, haha). There's just something so personal about my computer and phone and I have a hard time sharing them with others. Good to know that I'm not the only one out there who feels this way.

Chania Girl - That's SO funny!!! Though, to be honest, it doesn't surprise me at all. It seems like we're somehow connected and that is just another sign. It's so great to know that people like you are cheering me on! I really need and appreciate the support! :)

Yoli - Haha. Hello, twin! It's so hard to change this kind of behavior, but I really think it's for the best to make a switch to being a more open person. I feel like (and I'm sure you do too) that I miss out on a lot because I close myself off from others. That's great that you put yourself out there. Way to go!

Renia - It sounds to me like you do a pretty good job of balancing it. You seem open, but not overly so, which is a good thing. That's very interesting about your husband...I wonder if he wants to read it but thinks you don't want him to or if he's not interested. It's hard putting yourself out there, but I'm glad that you've been able to share your experiences on your blog too.

Hilda - Thank you! :) I think you're right - all we need is a little practice and good intentions. It's not easy, but we can do it! I'm trying to do a little bit at time, and I really feel great today now that I'm just a little bit more open. I'm so glad you like the blog. It means a lot to me! :)

Wow, I am exactly the same as you when it comes to my computer, body language etc. When I chat with people I often like hiding behind my hair, and looking downwards or away. My blog is under the name 'Penny' but that isn't my real name (it's a nickname from the Beatles' song Penny Lane).

I always struggle with this. Believe me I understand how hard it is to write your name on your blog (not that I give mine away!). In fact a few weeks ago I made all my blog posts private because I was paranoid someone who I know in real life might find them. Now I do talk about personal issues, but some stuff I don't want anyone to read probably wouldn't matter one bit to them. I guess it's like what you were saying about password protecting your files. I don't think I'll ever not be a private person in that way.

Regarding body language and talking to people easier, I have a read a little of the book 'how to talk to anyone' (http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Talk-Anyone-Success-Relationships/dp/0722538073/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241033445&sr=8-1) which has some interesting ideas on the subject.

I think a lot of my problems are down to low self esteem. I want to be a writer but how can I make that happen if I don't want anyone to read what I write?! Lol!!!

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I'll follow you to watch the unfolding of the lotus blossom. Everything and anything worth doing in life begins with a small step.

Nice ideas!

My favorite is to stay in the moment. It's also one of the hardest for me because my mind jumps around.

Penny - I feel the same way about writing. Before I started this blog, I never wanted to share what I wrote with anyone. Writing on Positively Present has really changed all of that. Thanks for the encouragement and for letting me know that I'm not alone in this. It's so great to know someone else feels the same way. Sounds like a very interesting book. I will definitely check it out. Btw, have you seen Almost Famous? The main character in the film goes by Penny Lane because she doesn't want anyone to know who she really is...Interesting that you do the same!

Suzen - Thanks for stopping by PP. You're right -- one small step in the right direction is all I need to start down the right path.

Roger - That's my favorite of the ideas too! It's tricky for me sometimes because, like you, my mind is all over the place, but it really does work for making more open connections with others.

Wow what a FANTASTIC post. I can really relate to not being open. I don't easily form new relationships because I am terrified of letting people see who I really am. I do my best to be positive and happy, but I have a history that doesn't align with my current intentions, and many times it bleeds into my present. On the flip side, when I DO let someone in, I am extremely open. I tell them everything; I give them everything; and I make myself vulnerable almost all the time. I think deep down I'd love to just put myself out there, past and all, and stop worrying about what people will say/how they may hurt me. But this is a huge challenge for me. Something I work at every day.

I am really impressed by your site and insight. Thank you for what you do. Extremely valuable! And nice to officially make your acquaintance Dani. :)


For someone who isn't open very often you certainly have written a post where you had to open yourself. I admire you for doing that. For reasons too many (and perhaps too boring for others!) I was once very closed off to others and distrusting. Finally, I came to better understand about how I was associating pain to certain things. I have since learned, and am still learning, how to change those associations so that my mind can be transformed and I can continue to grow as a person. I appreciate how you feel and know what it is like. Thank you for being brave enough to write this post!

I'll refrain from quoting John F. Kennedy, but in two words: live fearlessly!

Way to go; brilliant post by a brilliant (and ever-more-fearless) writer.

You seem to be very open on your blog. I do understand how you feel about having your real name out there. I only tell people from the blog what my name is when we're in contact via email. Sometimes I'll put my name in the comments I leave. Otherwise I just feel like I don't want my name out there. Thanks for sharing. Take care, A.

Hi Dani,
This blog is awesome, thanks for sharing it with me. You commented me on my http://aliceinwonderlandbook.blogspot.com/
that's how I found your blog. I'm going to read it from now on.
I know what your are talking about opening yourself in the net. I was like that a year ago. Then I just decided that what the heck, here I am. Because I've seen other sites where people are very open, and truly they are the most interesting sites to read. People are interested in other people, and most of them don't judge you. So, here is my squidoo page that I just published and here is more of me than I've ever given online. Read it if you please.

Looking forward to knowing you better!

I got the impression you were very open by discussion these personal aspects about yourself! It was wonderful to read your post! This is my first time here, I am really enjoying your writing!
I have just recently starting putting myself out there. I have been blogging for 2 years (exactly yesterday!). My first blog was a non fiction herbal blog. Just a few months ago I decided to start discussing my self growth and try to empower other moms to be authentic. I still have anxiety- what if I said too much??? Well I figure 'too late' I already put my most vulnerable 'stuff' out there so what do I have to loose!
Ironically on of the things I have been working on is trusting myself as a mother. I have found once I worked on my own trust issues I became much more open. I guess we will see how this online openness effects me in the future!

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the name Penny is based on that character from Almost Famous as well as the Beatles :D Love that film!

Lori - I'm so happy to know you liked and related to my post. That makes me feel great! It's hard to find a balance between letting people in and being completely vulnerable. Like you, I'm working every day at this. It's slow going but I think, at some point, I will strike a happy balance. Thanks for your words. They really made me happy!

Keith - Thank you for your encouragement. It definitely took a lot for me to write this post, but I'm so glad I did it. Look at all of the wonderful feedback (including yours!) that I'm getting. It makes me feel great and, of course, encourages me to be even more open. See, I was open and nothing bad happened. Yay! It seems like you've learned a lot and that's great. It's so hard to be open (in my opinion) and I think it's a constant learning process. Thanks for posting a comment. It was great to read your insights.

Megan - Thank you! :) That is a great quote and I'm glad you posted it here. I must remember it always. Live fearlessly! Thanks!!

Anita - There is something scary about putting your name out there and after I published my blog post yesterday, my heart stopped in panic. I thought I'd made the wrong choice. But then I realized...it's just my name. And my first name at that! I didn't put my social security number or my address or even my personal email account. After I thought about it like that (and started seeing all of the encouraging comments from awesome readers like you) I felt a lot better. Thanks for commenting!

Tuula - Thanks for coming by PP. I loved the Alice site and I'm going to add it to my blogroll. :) Thanks for sharing your experience about opening up. It's good to know that someone else was where I was, opened up to the world, and doesn't regret it. I really appreciate your honesty and your ability to share your own insights on the subject. Thank you!

Angie - Thank you for sharing your experience about openness. And congrats on having a blog for two years! My is just a baby at a little over two months old. As you said, it's really hard to be open online. I felt like I was being open and honest on my blog, but I also felt like (even though friends and family had the link) I was hiding behind Positively Present. Now that I put my name out there, I feel a little bit more vulnerable -- but in in a good way. I love what you said about trust. Working on your own trust issues (which is what I do a lot in therapy) really helps you to be more open. I don't think there is ANY way I could have done this blog or put myself out there like this six months ago. I'm learning a lot and it sounds like you are too. Keep up the good work. I'm sure you are a great mother!

Penny - GREAT film. I love Kate Hudson in it. She is amazing. :)

Dani- Great post. It's interesting to see your thought process. Have you tried hanging out with children? They seem to live in the moment and refrain from judging more than adults. And if you're in charge of them (babysitting, volunteering, etc.) you get the experience of constant and specific communication. I spent one summer as a camp counselor and that enhanced my communication skills with everybody.

Also, I don't think your first idea about learning new things would work to help me become more open. I don't think knowing the same tidbit of information as someone else will help me make a connection with them. A general interest in a subject or healthy curiosity is sufficient to get a conversation rolling. It's probably easier for me to engage and actually listen to somebody when they have new information for me.

Anyways, good luck.

It's very nice to meet you...Dani. I have long wondered at your real name. It feels awkward responding to your comments on my blog with @postively - ... :)

I'm so glad you took this step! I look forward to learning more, as you are comfortable sharing. As for me, my life is an open book anyway, so I encourage people to cyberstalk me. I always use my real full name in comments, and on my blog, and on twitter, and everywhere else. I'm also a federal employee, so my salary information, tax information, work history, and just about anything else people could ever want to know about me are all online somewhere. To make matters worse, I used to do a lot of public relations work for different charities, so a lot of that stuff is online, too. Everything you could want to know is just a google search away, in my case!

I can honestly say that I've never experienced anything scary or threatening by having all of my information online like that. And while I don't encourage everyone else to be as open as I am, I think it's great to reveal as much as you feel comfortable with revealing.

Again, congratulations on taking this step! I (for one) am so very proud of you!

Dani! Hello! What a wonderful post.

I have wondered your name for a while now. I feel like there is suddenly a little less distance. I appreciate your courage.

Writing online has been a big exercise in honestly and openness for me too. I'd been so shy for so long, and now I regularly spill my thoughts out in front of everyone, and once I hit Publish, they're out in the open for everyone to scrutinize. And I can't hide behind embellishments and fictions, because some of the people who read my blog know me really well and would call me on it.

In the 45 days I've been online, I feel I've become a considerably more genuine person, and I am less afraid to be myself than ever.

Blogging has been a huge source of growth for me, and it sounds like it has been for you too. Thanks for this post, it's more than a baby step.


Jaylin4DC - I'm not a big "kid person" (you can read more about this on my "see the world through enchanted eyes" post) but I agree with you. There is such an openness with kids that is really inspiring. You make a good counterpoint to #1. Just because you know information doesn't necessary mean you will connect with another person. I guess it's what you do with the information that matters and, I guess, the information just opens more doors, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll want to go in those rooms.

Jay - Haha, yeah, I think it is a bit awkward to write Positively Present so I'm glad I put an end to that awkwardness for you. You are actually one of the people I think of when I think about people who are so open with their blogs. Your full name! Wow! Thinking about doing that gives me a slight panic attack (like I said, baby steps for Dani...), but I think it's great that you do that. And, I guess, working for the government sort of forces you to be open about a lot of things. Nonetheless, I appreciate your ability to be an open book. It's great! Thanks for encouraging me. I really appreciate it!

David - Thanks for your comment. You're right -- after re-reading my post and realizing how much I've grown since I started by blog only a little over two months ago, I realize that this IS more than a baby step. I have a really hard time putting myself out there and look at what I've already done! :) I really appreciate feedback from readers like you and I'm so glad you can feel more connected now that you know my real name.

Hi, Dani!!! What a beautiful name!! Oh, I'm so glad you revealed it here because it makes you more REAL now. Much easier to comment directly to a person than to a mysterious name.

I am SO stumbling and tweeting this post, 'cause I know a LOT of people will be thrilled to know your real name.

Aren't you glad you decided to open up... even just a little! The tiniest ray of light sneaking through a crack in the door can really light up the whole room. :)

Lisis - Thank you! :) I'm so glad that by opening up and sharing my name, I have become more of a real person (to you AND to a lot of other readers). I am real so that makes me very happy. I love what you wrote about the sunlight. So beautifully said! It is so true -- just a little bit of light let in can make the whole room seem bright. I do feel great that I'm starting to open up. It's been a wonderful experience and I really appreciate the support from you and readers like you. Thanks for Tweeting and Stumbling it too! :)

The most important thing in this post is your willingness to overcome your fears-whatever they are and why they are there. I admire this empowering attitude.

Good stuff, Dani. I know what you mean, it's pretty hard to just throw yourself at the mercy of the internet, but in the long run it's hard to imagine anything bad coming of it. One step at a time, no rush!

Dani, I just met you through this post and already adore you. I share much of the same issues you express here and admire you for your courage.

My blog started as a way for me to begin dealing with the same thing. A couple of my posts scared the hell out of me to publish (though, I didn't have any readers), but with my wife's encouragement, I did. It felt good.

Maybe one day, I'll put my real picture up on there, as well as on twitter!

Is it okay if I take a little risk here? I love the name, Dani. My wife lost a baby about seven years ago. We were going to name her Cynthia Danielle. My nickname for her is Dani. I hope that doesn't offend you. See, that little girl who never felt the air of the outside world yet saved my wife's life. She was and is mommy's little angel and we look forward to seeing her "on the other side." Mabye I'll blog about that some day.

It's very good to know you, Dani! And honest, it scares the hell out of me just thinking about pressing the "Post" button now.

But, here goes... :D

Sunny - Good point! It really is important to overcome fear and I feel like I'm taking a step in the right direction to do that.

Warren - It's definitely hard at times, but you make a good point. What's really the worst thing that can happen? One step at time seems to be working out pretty well for me so I'm going to keep it up!

Chris - Wow. Thank you so much for putting yourself out there like that. That is wonderful! I feel honored now to have the name Dani. Reading what you wrote makes it that much more special so thank you for sharing it with me. Thank you so very much for pushing the "Post" button. You are lucky to have an encouraging wife who urged you to keep posting on your blog. It really helps to have support when you're nervous about putting yourself out there and I am so lucky to have all of these wonderful readers who support me. I'm so glad you found my blog and shared your experiences with me. It means a lot to me to read your words so, again, thank you.

Hi Dani,

Good for you for taking a bold step and sharing your name with all of us! I know that must have been hard but you did it. Yay! Do not feel bad about not being as open as you would like. We all have dealt with that on some level. When I was in my twenties, I was not as open as I am now. I think as a person becomes more accepting of themselves, the more open they will be. I think in society there is a tremendous amount of pressure to be perfect but no one is perfect. So how do you feel now considering all the great feedback you have been getting?

Nadia - Thanks for your encouragement. It's definitely not easy for me to be open, but I think you're right, as I start accepting myself more, being open will come more easily to me. If you had a chance to read any of the comments on this post, you probably know that I'm feeling pretty great right now. It's AMAZING to have such wonderful support from my readers. It's really helping me to realize that it's okay to be open and if I put myself out there, people will actually be accepting and supportive of me. Thanks for being one of those people! :)

Hello Dani! Your courage is inspiring - I keep the biggest details about myself hidden as well, for fear that people I actually know will find my blog. Kudos to you for taking that brave step forward!

This is an amazing blog! I wish I'd known about it sooner.. something I really need. THANK YOU.

Kiki - If you look at all the comments on this page, you might find even more inspiration to open yourself up. I was definitely scared to put myself out there and look at all of the great, positive feedback I've received! Thank you for your support. All of this support is really inspiring for me.

Y - I'm so glad you like it! :) Thank YOU for coming by and commenting. :)

dani...you're doing fine! take it a bit at a time...let people in--it's so worth it. yes, you run the risk of being hurt...but if you don't invite people in you will miss out on some terrific friendships--and LIFE! :)

Hah! I was right (and I hadn't even read this post yet)! You are mysterious! Well, just for the record, I think you are pretty darn nice (even though we haven't met). I support you in your quest to be more open. I have found that the fear of vulnerability is really a reflection of our relationship with ourselves! Once again, I salute you (que the cheerleaders!).

Hello Dani!

It's wonderful to meet you! We appreciate you visiting our blog and getting to know us.

Opening up just a little bit took alot of courage on your part, so be proud of the BIG, baby step you just took!

We absolutely enjoyed your post and look forward to seeing our friendship bloom.

Many Blessings....
Roxanne and Hugo ~ Believe Achieve

Dani, Dani, Dani... I love this name! Thank you for sharing. When I first found your blog I wanted to write a comment to "you". I went to your About page to find your name and couldn't find it. Now I know.

I think you're one of the most authentic bloggers I've come across in a while. I can relate to a lot of what you say... and, I'm a freakin life coach! Not all life coaches are made the same right? I think I became one to learn to see past all that... into the real person. You know, the one BEHIND the mask.

Natalie - Thank you! You're right. Letting people in may mean risks, but there are also great rewards as well.

Raphael - So funny. I thought you had read the post when you wrote that mysterious comment on Twitter. Thank you so much for your support. :)

Hugo & Roxanne - I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. I really appreciate the encouragement. Thank you for coming by PP!

Davina - Coming from a real life coach, those words me a lot. Thank you! I'm so glad I can be more open and now you can connect with me more as a person and just as a "you." Thanks for your encouragement. It really does help me to know that my readers are so supportive.

Hi Dani - Just wanted to let you know that I linked to this fantastic post in my weekly collection of inspiration, The Fizz Fix. Thanks again for sharing your openness with the world!

Kiki - Thank you! I really appreciate the link love and it's really an honor to have this post mentioned on your blog. It clearly wasn't easy for me to put this out there and it feels so amazing to see how supportive people (like you!) have been. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Wow this is an amazing blog. I found you from Galadarling.com
Thank you somuch for this article, I find it easy to engage people and am open in my gestures but I don't ask the important questions to show I am really interested in getting to know people deeply.
Gonna work on that!
Thank you

Amy - Thank you so much! I'm so glad you found PP and I'm even more happy that you like it. :) It's always great to have new readers so thanks so much for stopping by.

Dani is a beautiful name! But I totally related to your post. I blog now about (my) moods and art. I often am anxious when I press Publish. I go over and over the post until I think it's written "well enough." That can take a long time! I took the advice of many coaches and use my real name on my site. That did take some time to work up to.

Listening is my favorite tip of yours. I am often too anxious to really listen in person. Ignoring fear is the only way I can function. Glad to see it on the list.

Diana - So glad you related to the post. Listening really is important, but it's hard to do when you're anxious. I really try to be mindful when I'm with others (something I never used to do) and I find that I'm able to make stronger connections by paying more attention. Thanks so much for commenting!

It's weird I'm completely the opposite to you. I'm happy to tell my name and opinions and even real personal stuff online but in person I'm a lot more reserved.

No one that I know in the real world reads my blog (because I haven't told them about it) It does scare me what will happen when my family and friends do have a look. Probably because I think they will find someone different online and who knows whether they will like what they see.

I'm not afraid of what anybody new I meet online thinks. If someone doesn't like me it's no loss.

But I guess it's best to be open. When my friends read my blog I'll find out which ones say "awesome dude" and which ones say "you are a weirdo." I should really burst the bubble of who people think I am. It's tough though.

Now that I've written all that I have just noticed Kirwin's comment above me. I'm just the same as you Kirwin.

Tom - Isn't it fascinating how people can be so different? I think, actually, that I'm much more open than I give myself credit for, but I think I'm just scared of strangers. I've seen so many things in the media about how people can steal your identity, stalk you, or (yikes!) kill you that I've become very wary about putting myself out there, especially via the internet. I do think it's important to be open and honest with the people in your life. If your friends and family don't all say "awesome, dude!" than maybe you shouldn't have them in your life. I've realized that it's SO important to have support -- especially support for who you truly are -- but I know how hard it can be to put yourself out there and let people see you. Strangers are scary, but they certainly are easier to open up to!

Your post brought my early childhood to my mind. I grew up shy but became determined to live life more openly by age 12 or so. My mantra became "I regret what I didn't do more than what I did" -- which was my way of letting myself know that it was OK if it turned out to be a mistake to speak up, get to know someone, do something, etc.

Reading Positively Present has been enlightening. It's nice to meet you, Dani. I'm Suzanne, a kinda new visitor here as you can see by my late reading of this post. :-)

Suzanne - Thanks for sharing your story! You're so lucky that you were able to recognize that at such an early age. It's interesting to me how I can be a very outgoing person but also very closed off with what I share with the world...It seems like they wouldn't necessarily go together. I'm so glad you've started reading PP. It's nice to meet you! :)

love this post i could totally relate to it. I'm not open at all and it realli hinders me from having halfway decent conversations cos i spend too much time filtering everything i'm going to say before i actually say it. I reali like the tips on listening, i'm either a bad listener or i just have other things to worry bout most times. its strange cos when i leave a social gathering i regret not letting my guard down more and being more carefree. i think i used to be a lot more open as a teen but somehow built this big shell around myself over the years and find it hard to escape frm it! i will definitely work harder on being true to me and stop being afraid of offending anyone or being disliked

Niya - I'm so glad you could relate to this post. This was a really hard one for me to write but one of the most important ones. Ever since I wrote this post I've been opening up more and more on my blog and it's been great for me. It's not easy to be open, but it's often that we regret not being more open when we live our lives in a closed up state.

Hi Dani,

I liked points 4 and 8, especially your view about judging. I am terrified to connect to new people for the same reasons. Beautiful and honest.

Rama - Thanks for your comment! I definitely have a hard time being open with people, but ever since I wrote this post things have been getting easier and easier because I've been following my own advice. It's still not always easy for me to open up, but I really try to!

thank you for the post, this is very inspiring... i am very closed off and it causes a lot of problems in my relationship. i will try to put these tips in practice and make a change.

Robin - You're welcome. I'm so glad you were inspired by in. I'm definitely more closed off than not, but I've made a LOT of progress since I wrote this post.

Thank you for writing this. Im going to try your suggestions, noone else has put it the same way you do. My only problem is getting it to work out. :( Im both very open and very closed, but I seem to be closed off from the man who I should be the most open with(my fiance)How do you recommend I be more self aware? I barely notice it when I am shutting down.

Jessica - It can be really hard to be open (it's still a struggle for me at times), but I'm pretty sure following these tips will help you out. One of the best ways I've found to work on my openness is to find a really good therapist that can help you sort out why you might be hesistant about opening up to someone you love. It's the best way I've found for dealing with the temptation to shut down and close myself off from those I love.

I think your name is very pretty. I have a similar problem too. Actually, me and this other girl do, but she not here right now so I cant say her name. I have to tell her so we can learn to be open more with our best friend. he'll like that too im sure and im really happy that you shared this with everyone. its gonna help a-lot so thank you. my name is Skye. so hi Dani! i like your honesty which means i like you1 cuz its about you!

Skye - Thank you for your wonderful comment. It's words like yours that making me realize the value in writing a post like this one. I'm glad you had a chance to stop by and read it and it's great to know it had an impact on you. (By the way, you have a great name too!)

Amazing! There are others like me. Your blog post has been a great help to me. All of the tips you gave, are things I have been telling myself for years. But none of them sunk in until reading your post and hearing about your personal experiences. So, Thank you for being open and making a connection. You have inspired me.

Kenna - I'm so glad you were able to connect with this post and that you found it so helpful! Like you, I was telling myself these things for years without actually taken action. Now that I actually act on these things, I am MUCH happier! :) I'm so happy you were inspired by this!

the most important piece of advice i think you gave is to open yourself up to learning new things. It is only by doing things you haven't done before that you grow as a person, and you grow most when you do the things you know you should do when you don't feel like doing them. If you don't learn new things you will always be stuck where you are and never really go anywhere in life.

Joe - Very great point. The more we're open to learning new things, the more open we can be with ourselves and the people in our lives. The more you learn, the more you grow. Thanks for the comment!


My name is David, and i have the same problem as you. It is realy hard for me to open to other people. I am very talkative when I am with friends that I know, but when someone new come I am quite. I dont know what to say. I have to know him better first, then I can realy talk to him. So I will try to be more open. I will not worry what other think about me...
I will be a new me :)

David - Thanks for your comment and for sharing your own story with being open. It can be a very hard thing to do, but having a positive attitude about it and really being open to the idea of being open can help a lot. Good luck!

Hi D. I struggle with point nine the most. I always give to little emphasis but thanx for reminding me to focus on this. I also struggle with story telling and seem like i'm not interesting enough to hold a story and just give up half way especially when I don't explain it properly or loose the story and everyone's attention. so sucks. If u have any advice on how to work on this let me know. Thanx. Pete

Pete - Thanks for your comment! #9 can be very tricky and it ties in with the trickiness of storytelling. I can't say that I'm all that great at storytelling myself so I can't ofter any specific wisdom on that, but what I do know is that people usually like to hear people talk about things they are passionate about so it's best to stick to those topics. Also, people like to be around positive people so it's always helpful to focus on the good things in whatever you're talking about!

Hi Dani,

I just wanted to say I am and feel exactly the same way. I always feel like I have a giant block in my mind that prevents me from having good conversations with people who I know want know me. I know I need to actively work on my habits and I have a long way to go, but I find these tips very helpful. I will def apply them to my life. Thanks!

I noticed this post was written in 2009. I hope you've made a lot of progress in opening up since then! :)

Kat - Thanks so much for stopping by and reading this article. It makes me so happy to know that you connected with what I wrote here. Since I wrote this, I have come so far and I owe a lot of it to this site and being able to open up to readers on here. Thanks again for reading!

Hey Dani!
well we are aboard on the same boat. I do the exact same thing, I am very private of my things... It scares me to death that my brothers will read some of the mini pieces of work I've written, or when he asks for my laptop.
This was sorta helpful, I just have to learn to be open... this is sad, and it really really made me cry that my older brother says he has some concerns about me... my life. I am 17, so still in High School. He told me how he doesn't know who I am, He isn't comfortable by the fact that he doesn't even know who my friends are... Even my mom doesn't know me well or so he told me thats what she said. I hang around my room a lot of the time, and I just don't know how to spark a conversation. I've always read the whole 'ask questions, relax, be yourself' but then? what else? Even my best friend says I'm pretty quiet. I am just scared that someone will tell me how socially awkward I am... apparently I don't know what to say at the right time, I hate myself sometimes because sometimes I create awkward silences... I hate myself for not being a socialite like my older brother.... Dani, I am so sorry, I just hate how I have no social skills at all. Hope to hear from you!

Suzel - I'm glad you found this post. Hopefully it makes you realize that you're not alone. It's hard to be open, to be friendly, to be social. And more people struggle with those things than you realize. It's important to remember that it's okay to be quiet, to only have a few close friends, and to prefer being alone. Even if other people seem more social or don't understand you, it's okay to do those things if those are things that make you happy. High school in general is pretty awkward for everyone (even if it doesn't seem like it) so don't worry -- things will get better as you get older. No matter what, don't feel like you have to adhere to the standards of others. Be yourself -- even if that's a quiet self that prefers to be alone. However, if you do want to open up more and work on your social skills, I'd recommend joining a club or group or even trying therapy. Therapy works wonders for those with social anxiety disorder. I know it's tough right now, but high school is a hard time. You'll get through it and, as you get older, learn more about who you are and who you want to be. Stay positive!

Hey Dani :)

I am only a teen, but i still have trouble speaking to people that i don't usually talk to. I can't really start any good or 'deep' conversations. It's hard to make new friends, and share my religion. I also have trouble showing people how great of a person i really am (not to be conceaded or anything). I need help. Please.

Grace - Sometimes being a teen is when being open is the hardest (at least it was for me!). Opening up to people can be very difficult, but you're off to a good start by knowing how great of a person you are. You just need to share that greatness with others. My advice would be to find something you're passionate about (a hobby, sport, religion, etc.) and join a group in which you can meet other people who share the same interests you do. In that environment it will be much easier to open up to others. Also, keep in mind that being a teenager is tough for everyone -- it gets better!

Hey dani,

I can totally relate with you. But in my case I have a problem being open with people I know. I can be totally open with strangers, maybe thats because I really dont care what strangers think about me at the same there is this comfort that I wont be crossing paths with them anytime soon. Its people that I know like my friends, work colleagues that i have a serious problem being open. I feel that if i let them know the real me then they would find me boring and dull and take me for granted or worse still maybe stop being my friends. The worse part of being so shut is when someone talks to me I end up speaking so softly thaT i embarrass my self & i end up crawling back into my shell :(

Samai - I know how you feel. Sometimes I have a really hard time being open with people I know -- people at work, friends, or even my own family members. It can be very hard to open up to people, even people you know well, but the trick is to feel comfortable with yourself. Once you realize that you're awesome and not at all dull (you're not, I promise!), you'll feel more comfortable with yourself and can then be more comfortable with others. Check out some of my self-love posts to learn how you can starting loving yourself more!

Hi Dani! Great tips and written really positively too, really enjoyed reading this! So much I can relate to. Keep up the great site :)

Arru - Thanks for your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed this post! Thanks for reading!

Hi Dani,
Thank you for writing. I'm an esl (english as a second language)kid and the fear of saying something with an accent killed my social life. I realize now that I have nothing to be afraid of :)
thanks again

Meng - I'm so happy you found this article and it helped you to realize that you have nothing to be afraid of when it comes to opening up to others. You should be proud of the fact that you're learning a second language. That's very impressive!

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