Johari Window: Building Trusting Relationships

Have you ever had one of those “OOHHH” moments, where something you learnt ages ago finally comes clear to you several years later? At the time you were learning it, it was understandable, even got that “A” in the exam. But it really came together when you were able to apply it practically to your current situation. How most of those math topics will help me today…? (I digress). During my final year at University, I was privileged to several free electives. (Courses not related to my degree directly). My boyfriend, now my husband encouraged me to do a Psychology course, he thought that what I learnt would help grow our relationship. So, after classes I would share what I learnt and we discussed it.

I had an “OOHHH moment” today. After a long day of motherhood, I really felt like I needed a secret place I can go to and escape for a while. After shedding a couple tears, because reality is that I have no such secret place. I was surprised at the thoughts I had on how to deal with the situation. Then I remembered The “Johari Window” from the course Interpersonal Dynamics. It was a concept created by two psychologists (Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham) for the purpose of building trust through communication and self-discovery.

It looks something like this…

Or does this one helps better understand it?


It looks somewhat confusing but the main point of the tool is to:
  •         Built trust, by revealing things about yourself
  •        When feedback is given; take the information to learn more about yourself, and use it to address personal problems. 

The more you share with someone the closer you become. You are best friends because you have so many “secrets” for each other.

This is not a mini lecture so I go back to my “OOHHH moment.” I was hiding information in the “B or #3” area, not because I love keeping secrets but because I never thought it was important. But after finding myself in the situation and these hidden thoughts almost played out in the light, I realized the importance of disclosing the information so I can get help.
The more you reveal to your partner, the closer you will become. So, the ultimate goal in our relationships is to widen the “open area,” through self –disclosure and/or feedback. It takes different situations to discover information about us in the “unknown area,” and for us to consider revealing hidden information.

If done carefully; and with great sensitivity, couples and all other relationships, can become more trusting, solve more issues, resulting in a more meaningful relationships. 


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