On Being More Mysterious.

by Rachael on February 26, 2012 · 24 comments


Many people delight in telling you how guarded they are. How long it takes them to open up to others, and how being burned in the past has caused them to be wary of falling too fast.

Somehow, despite being hurt plenty of times, I never learned to do that. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, then I’m certifiable. Because I don’t know how to hold anything back.

My “open book” policy in life – online and off – transfers to matters of the heart as well. I’ve had dozens of relationships that didn’t work out, and yet I don’t know how to be wary, or careful, or even wonder if I shouldn’t give all my secrets away.

I have never not been willing to fall in love with reckless abandon. And I’m starting to wondering if this is a problem.

What would happen if I was more cautious? If I tried to take things slow for once in my life? If I kept some secrets inside, instead of spilling my guts at the first opportunity? (I’m talking emotionally here folks, get your heads out of the gutter.)

“Mysterious” has never been one of my descriptors, and I’m wondering if I should give it a shot and see if there’s any pay off.

I don’t even know if I’m capable of it. Holding back just isn’t in my DNA. But I’m beginning to think it might be a worthy experiment.

Update: So about five minutes after hitting publish, I read this in a magazine:

You get me, In Touch.


1 Paula February 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm

I’m liable to hold back when it comes to my love life but when it comes to anything else I’m pretty much an open book – I will spill all my secrets within seconds of meeting you! If you DO try this though, be sure to let us know how you get on!

2 Doug February 26, 2012 at 1:40 pm

I’m with ya on the lack of mystery thing – what ya see is what ya get. It’s hard to have a successful relationship without both people being invested in it… and well… I’d rather put the effort in and get hurt, than half-ass it… and well… just get a half-assed relationship.

3 adam February 26, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I actually think that it’s a better policy NOT to be so guarded and hold back. It leads to erring on the side of over-caution and that just means some great opportunities might get missed.
It takes much more courage to be open.

4 Arielle February 26, 2012 at 1:56 pm

As someone who is really guarded with their feelings, I have to say that I hardly delight in it. Though I obviously can’t speak for anyone else, so maybe there are people who think their emotional wall is some kind of badge of honor or something. But I definitely have a “grass is greener” mentality about the whole thing – it seems like you miss out on a lot when you’re not open with your feelings. I think it’s really hard to change that though, from both ends – you’re either naturally open or you’re not. Coming from the dark side, I don’t think mysteriousness is something you should aspire to. Own your openness! =)

5 Gina February 26, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I think it’s a far better policy to NOT be mysterious in love!
When you are up-front and open about everything from the get-go you also are able to cut through the bullshit way faster. I’m not saying you should tell your whole life-story within 5 minutes of meeting a man (or woman), but if you hold back too much both might realize it’s not “the real thing” after you’ve invested too much time and emotion.
Also, I’d rather try and give my love to someone and end up hurt, then guard myself so much that I miss out on love completely. So many people are lonely because they have forgotten how to open up their heart…
In the end, every beginning of a new love relationship brings so many positive moments that I think it’s worth every tear you might later spill. Love is the greatest feeling of all.
But then again, I’m just a hopeless romantic.

(By the way, I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now and I think you’re a brilliant and amiable person, being an open book and all!)

6 Tom February 26, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Mysterious isn’t bad. Can be fun sometimes. Guarded can be OK only to a point. Guard yourself too much, though, and you end up like me. I wouldn’t recommend it.

7 Lauren Michelle February 26, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I’m naturally reserved. I don’t know if that comes off as mysterious to people, though. I feel like it comes off rather awkward, lol. I think mystery has a lot to do with attitude. Some people just don’t like to open up until they really get to know someone. A lot of times it can be a matter of trust and security felt with another person. Then again, there are others who don’t mind being an open book. It would be interesting, though, to see how it effected you to be more reserved. I would like to hear how that goes from someone who’s naturally more outgoing.

8 KassyK February 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm

For me it has been different in terms of love and friendship. I think I have always been somewhat guarded in terms of love but once I feel it is right, I jump in right away and gave away my heart completely. It is less a matter of being mysterious for me and more a matter of protecting myself. But it is sort of useless because once I let someone in, they are IN. I think the semi-guardedness has made me seem more unattainable to a lot of guys–but I don’t know if in the end it is a good thing.

But in terms of friendship, I used to be incredibly open with new friends, co-workers, etc. and the joke among my girls was that I go to the bathroom and come out with a new best friend every time. I have always been happy making other people feel comfortable and included. Then a couple of years ago, I stopped being so open with everyone (trust issues and realizing some people are not as worthy of openness as others) and only with my closest friends.

I am still just as friendly, just as easygoing with new people, but I am more hesitant to share personal details with anyone outside the inner circle. I feel 1000% liberated still sharing but only giving up the real details to a select few. In that sense building a tiny bit of a guard has made me a better and more trusting friend.

And you know what? I think it works. So I guess for me it is the perfect balance of open and mysterious but I see zero wrong with being 100% open or 100% mysterious.

Let me know how the experiment goes.

9 Caryn February 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm

As you said in the car, you want someone to take you for who you are and not change to fit you. I think being cautious is ok but you need to be YOU. Don’t start beings mysterious in hopes that will attract someone new. But you attract a network of people so easily because you’re you. Don’t be anyone but yourself. I believe the bealstrelating ships are built on honesty and being open. I think that’s gets you farther than being mysterious.

10 suicide_blond February 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm

i think you’re pretty swell just the way you are

11 Skylers Dad February 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I am pretty much an open book, and all of my emotions are right out front for everyone to see. I don’t have much of a filter in what I say, usually engaging my brain long after the words have come out of my mouth.

I have no clue what my wife saw in me…

12 meleah rebeccah February 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm

“Because I don’t know how to hold anything back.”

Me either. I’m also an open book and that tends to frighten people at times. But I am too old to care about what anyone thinks of me. And since I have nothing to hide, it’s quite liberating.

LOVE your In Touch horoscope.

13 bethany February 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm

I used to be very much like you… so open that I never held anything back, so open that I let people know everything. I was open, honest, and didn’t care who knew my life or loves or past or anything.

And then, through that very openness and honesty, I fell into a situation in which, being so open meant that people that were my enemies, would do anything and everything they could to hurt me – especially using everything that made me happy or made me sad against me. I’m still in that situation, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it makes writing, where it once was extremely easy, extremely difficult. My blog, my social media updates – nothing is my own. Everything can be wielded to hurt me, and I keep that in mind whenever I blog anything or everything. I have to justify everything – inoculate everything, to ensure that it doesn’t come back to hurt me.

My situation, and my life is incredibly rare, and I wish that I could write what was in my heart.. I wish I had that freedom back, that people didn’t want to use everything I said to hurt me… I wish I could be more open – that I had that freedom, but I don’t… and I miss it.

Don’t become jaded or trapped, because you are an incredibly open and honest person, who helps others when you are open. I am open with the people that matter most to me, and open to the person I have let into my heart, but this path has been much more difficult because I can’t be open to the world at large… and, if I could, it would help me tremendously… Every time I try to open up to the world at large, all I get is a lot of pain… and a lot of people that want to hurt me return and do just that.

14 K February 27, 2012 at 12:07 am

I can be a bit guarded, but I’ve learned to warm up to people a bit more quickly. In relationships, I can be a bit guarded, but I think it really depends on what those past hurts have been and what came out of them.

15 Kelly February 27, 2012 at 1:57 am

I admire that you can just “go all in” if you will. I’m not necessarily guarded but I have a tendency not to share my feelings because I think they’ll scare people off or make me look crazy, even though I know that if they do get scared off they aren’t really for me, ya know? I think I could take a page out of your book and be less cryptic and mysterious in my offline life, so I think you can continue on just how you are.

16 Eric February 27, 2012 at 8:46 am

Hmmm. How does one go about being intentionally mysterious? Answering questions with questions or changing the subject? Blocking off hours, days, or weeks where you can’t be contacted? Being seen in public with more than one celebrity at a time in a way that doesn’t make sense and offering no explanation? The mind boggles.

17 Jas February 27, 2012 at 10:18 am

Being careful is one thing; obviously your heart could be benefited by the ability to use rationality and good judgement when making a decision of the romantic variety.

In movies, it makes for an excellent storyline if Person A relentlessly pursues the jaded and walled-up Person B despite constant protest and rejection; Person B will eventually allow A to win them over and enjoy their new life in an emotionally fulfilling relationship.

Yeah, not so much in real life. Most people won’t doggedly pursue a potential love interest that constantly scorns them or refuses to open up. Even if they did, Person B would would stay so busy keeping his or her guard up that they wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy the experience of falling for someone who obviously cares for them.

I found myself thinking, “Wait… Really?” as I read this entry. Don’t get me wrong. I love open books! I love people who write and live fearlessly. However, that said… There are some blogs where the unabashed “open bookedness” of the author sinks out of “fearless” and down into the zone that makes the sassy lady who lives inside me brain say,
“Ooooh gir’. You tryin. You tryin real hard.”

I have read LivitLuvit for a while now and never have I found myself thinking,
“TMI, man.”
“Daaaaamn, this girl be trippin with how EMOTIONALLY OPEN SHE IS!”

If your blog is any indication of your actual life, then I think that your level of reckless abandon and readiness to fly with whatever life throws at you is on point.

“Taking things slow” and “Being smart” aren’t always mutually exclusive.

In other words, “Grrrrrrrl’ you alright.”

18 Shevonne February 27, 2012 at 11:06 am

I have been thinking about that a lot lately. I’ve been hurt so many times that I am pretty guarded, and I panic when a relationship hits a milestone. I am learning though to be open and put myself out there (like you). Eventually, I will find the guy who values me.

19 Paul Roth February 27, 2012 at 11:12 am

I’m pretty sure that people who try to go the mysterious or guarded route have fewer connections, are just as likely to get broken-hearted by the end of a relationship, and have the added onus of wondering if things would have been better if they’d just opened up.

Fewer connections AND more regrets? No, thank you.

I like you as you are, Miss King, and I think you’re probably better off than most. To utterly mangle Tennyson:
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than to have tried things half-assedly and failed to enjoy a relationship as much as you could have.

20 Lesley February 27, 2012 at 11:47 am

There is something to be said for trying a new way of life if what you’re doing isn’t making you happy. But. But, it’s a fine line to walk between changing your behavior and not being yourself. And you are way too good at being you to change that. :)

21 Teacher Girl February 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm

I think that living your life the way you want to makes you you. Yes, you may get hurt, but you are real and genuine and probably live a much fuller life than people who remain guarded all the time. Do you need to spill all your secrets? No, but being guarded is not necessarily better for matters of the heart.

22 Arina February 27, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Dude. Dude. I totally have an entry in my high school diary that reads, “I will be more mysterious.”

And then I tried. And it was kind of fun (I was single) for a while. Then I met a boy, and GUSH.

Gush gush gush. I am exactly like you, and it isn’t a bad thing. We are honest with ourselves, and with others, about who we are. :)

23 Hannah February 28, 2012 at 4:16 pm

So, last Monday? The guy I’ve been dating for more than a year pretty much broke up with. Three days later? Despite feeling totally heart-broken and bruised, I went out a blind date. A few friends told me I was nuts, take a few days (hell, a few weeks) to get my feet under me again, gain some perspective on my last relationship, and blah blah blah. But…in matters of the heart? I think we HAVE to keep going for it. We have to keep trying, putting ourselves out there, baring all, risking, hoping. We have to keep believing that one of these times that we love and give of ourselves, it will be the *right* time.

I mean… That will happen eventually. Right? RIGHT??!!??!!

24 terra February 28, 2012 at 4:33 pm

I’ve always been the type of person who falls in love very easily. And it’s sucked some, but it’s paid off some (or a lot) too. That said, I am guarded. I don’t let a lot of myself out and it takes time for me to let my freak flag out all the way. I just prefer to observe, I guess, and listen. But I’m for taking risks and for throwing it all out there and for doing what feels right in the moment even if it’s only for that one singular moment and even if it means I spend time on the couch crying for a week or two later.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: