Dalmas Taylor and Irwin Altman

When people come to know each other in a relationship, they participate in a reciprocal process of self-disclosure that helps them understand each other better, as proposed by psychologists Dalmas Taylor and Irwin Altman in their theory of social penetration. The process of communicating with each other in order to divulge personal information is essential for the growth of any relationship, regardless of gender. Self-disclosure allows people in a relationship to express their feelings, goals, thoughts, and any other information that will help them understand each other better. As much as self-disclosure may have the disadvantage of insecurity of letting another person know your strengths and weaknesses, it enables the other person to learn from you and may help in solving the problem if the person has some experience. Furthermore, it is a way of strengthening the relationship between the individuals in a relationship has it improve trust (Derlaga, & Berg, 2013).

Evidence shows that the level of self-disclosure in the same-sex friendship may differ in the opposite-sex friendship. The same is echoed by privacy management theory that postulates that women and men apply different criteria to decide on the information to share and the ones not to share with others depending on the type of relationship. Self-disclosure is slightly higher in same-sex partners compared to opposite-sex friendship. People are comfortable to share their feelings and thoughts when they are in relationship or friendship with people of the same sex, unlike difference sex. Also, women tend to disclose more in same-sex friendship as opposed to men who prefer to communicate only when engaged in some activity and not friendship (Taddicken, 2014). Meaning, men always strive to control their privacy by keeping some issues to themselves in a relationship according to privacy management theory.


Derlaga, V. J., & Berg, J. H. (Eds.). (2013). Self-disclosure: Theory, research, and therapy. Springer Science & Business Media.

Taddicken, M. (2014). The ‘Privacy Paradox’in the social web: The impact of privacy concerns, individual characteristics, and the perceived social relevance on different forms of self‐disclosure. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 19(2), 248-273.

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