The New Johari Window #23: Quadrant Two: Interpersonal Needs
A second scenario brings us back to the British school dynamic of projection. Other people may assume we want to be open with them or that we want them to be open with us because of their own need for openness. I am frequently reminded of this dynamic when I’m on a long flight across the United States. All-too-often, I’m sitting next to someone who is not only disclosing everything about their life to me, but is also expecting me to tell them everything about my own life. They assume that I am interested in their disclosure and that I am delighted with the prospect of sharing with them.
In most instances, both of these assumptions are inaccurate and I believe that I am offering very few verbal or nonverbal indications that I have a high need (or any need) for openness in this setting. I suspect, in most cases, that I am a “victim” of their projections. They assume that I want what they want – otherwise their insistence upon telling me their life story (even when I put on my headphones) would be recognized by them as a rude and unwanted invasion of my own personal space (which it is). Their projections save them from facing the fact that they have been inappropriate in their interpersonal relationships with me.
The third scenario is similar to the second, in that it is based on the foundation of untested assumptions about other people’s needs for openness. In this case, the culprit is not projection; rather, it is stereotyping. We might assume that women always (or usually) want to be open and want us to be open with them. Alternatively, we assume that all Italians want to share their feelings and want us to share our feelings. We might instead (or additional) assume that all men find it difficult to be open or that they don’t want other people to be open with them.