Almost all of us have met someone who is willing to talk about their life with excessive openness. What lies behind the need to open all the doors of private life to others and how can it be fraught for the storyteller?

When we see reality TV characters on the screen or read unusually frank interviews of showbiz stars, we realise that keeping the public interested is an integral part of their profession. However, when our far from public acquaintances reveal all the details of their lives, it is not always perceived as disarming sincerity, and in most cases so and in general alarming.


“Extreme frankness – first of all a tool of psychological defence, – explains psychologist Marina Myaus. – Focusing on the details of their actions and accompanying feelings, a person completely avoids any internal analysis. The thought is immediately verbalised and transformed into words.

What secondary benefits does the narrator gain by doing this?

1. Avoiding conflict

When we tell people about ourselves, we are symbolically surrendering. We try to show in advance that we are friendly, have no intention of hiding anything, and in return we hope for approval, acceptance, and concern from others.

2. Coping with anxiety

Extreme candour is usually accompanied by insecurity and high levels of anxiety. We can become so anxious that constant verbalisation of feelings becomes an attempt to cope with an unstable emotional state.

3. ¬†Being “different”

This often characterises people with hysteroid traits, who are so trying to prove themselves in a way that is unusual from others. And if this is backed up by charm, we can really attract others with our depth and sincerity.

4. Stop weighing every word

The opposite situation: we get so tired of endless neurotic self-control that at some point we voluntarily give up all boundaries. Constantly evaluating the correctness of our words and actions proves so agonising that we symbolically invite everyone to witness our lives.

5. Unconsciously ask for help

Extreme frankness in this case turns out to be an unconscious attempt to let the environment know: I feel so bad that I have nothing left to lose. This is often how depression manifests itself, when we do not think about how we might be affected by the reactions of others.


“Those around you tend to either fall in love with or be intimidated by this quality,” explains Marina Miaus. – To some people, it may seem like a manifestation of sincerity and the courage to be yourself. However, most people find this quality alarming. Excessive openness is associated with unreliability and the feeling that you can’t be relied on.

Uninvited frankness can break up family members or spoil relations with colleagues

When you talk about your intimate life, you are inviting viewers to another episode of a live TV series. Be prepared for them to barge into your life with advice at any moment.”


The negative side effects of extreme candour tend to outnumber the pros, so it’s important to recognise this tendency in yourself and try to find the root cause that is causing the excessive openness that can play against you.