The New Johari Window #27: Quadrant Three: The Locus of Control
The resistance to disclosure can take several forms. It can be passive: “I don’t want to show you.” It can instead be quite active: “I don’t want you to know.” Both the active and passive modes of privacy require an assumption of internal control, though the active mode goes far beyond the passive mode. The active mode is based on the assumption that we can somehow control what other people learn about us (which may come from sources other than our own personal disclosure).
The search for privacy can vary across cultures in both form and cause. We might choose not to disclose something because it would be rare in our culture to share these matters. “I don’t want to tell you because it is against my tradition to talk about this.” It is not unusual, for instance, in some Asian cultures, to opening talk about the amount of money one has earned in a year, whereas in most Western cultures it is almost as offensive to talk explicitly about earned income as to talk explicitly about sexual performance. Both money and sex are to be discussed indirectly in Western cultures, with subtle cues revealing the requested (or non-requested) information about financial or sexual achievements.
There are also major differences in levels of disclosure in American and German societies. Americans appear to be much more open and more disclosing when first meeting someone, but are much less open than Germans once the relationship is established. Much as in the case of American homes (and the American school of interpersonal relationships), the American psyche is apparently open to free disclosure on the outside, but it imposes major barriers regarding more intimate disclosure when the relationship is established. German homes and societies tend to impose barriers at the front end of a relationship, but many fewer barriers to disclosure once the relationship is established.