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The New Johari Window #29: Quadrant Three: The Three Schools of Thought

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Finally, as implied in each of the other three benefits, the American school assumes that disclosure and the movement of Quad Three material into Quad One provides one with greater freedom. Other people are less likely to be surprised by what we choose to do, hence we have more options to consider. It is when we hold many secrets in Quad Three that we have to constantly think and rethink our actions: will this action reveal something about myself that I don’t want other people to know? As advocates of the American school often suggest, it takes considerable energy to manage our lies and secrets. If we always have to remember what we have told one person and not told another person, then we are likely to error on the side of caution—taking very little action or taking action that is widely acceptable in the dominant society (embracing the conforming self).

There is also likely to be more freedom and options with regard to our relationships with those specific people with whom we have been open (moving Quad Three material to Quad One). The other person is more inclined to expand her own Quad One when we are disclosing. Given that we both have a greater amount of information about each other, the American school would suggest that we are likely to expand our own repertoire of interpersonal behaviors when relating to one another. With secrecy comes restriction of behavior. With disclosure comes freedom. These are fundamental assumptions in the American school. These assumptions provide a context for optimism about the potential for improvement in relationships through interpersonal disclosure. These assumptions, however, also provide a context for considerable concern (voiced by the other two schools) about the authenticity of the disclosure and ways in which disclosure can be manipulated and manipulative. I turn now to these cautionary perspectives.

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