Have you been at a dinner party when your partner or someone close to you has said something that has completely shocked you? Taken you by complete surprise, because you thought you really should have known this fact already?
In my work I get to know people's inner thoughts - their issues with partners, children, family and friends, and I often get to know those partners', children's and family and friend's thoughts on them as well, so I get to have an understanding of both sides of the fence, but with the challenge of not being able to share my knowledge. Sometimes I feel like just telling everyone what's really happening in everyone elses lives - and they might well all live under the same roof - because ultimately everyone would be better off.
It is clear to me that there is so much that can be resolved by being transparent, by not having things filed in the 'do not open' folder. My suggestion to a patient today, that he inform his partner about a change in his management, because she might be able to identify problems earlier than he would regarding adverse effects, was met with wide eyed questioning look... It seemed obvious to me, but people do like to keep things quite partitioned in their lives, even from people who are incredibly close to them, even when it might really be very beneficial for them.
Which leads me to believe that a lot of people really don't know enough about those people who they think are really close to them. If you know how someone thinks, because they share their reasoning with you - then you're going to have a better understanding of any problems they might be having - or how to deal with problems as they arise. Too many people are guessing what their partners/significant others are thinking - but not actually asking them. Some partners aren't so good at being receptive to such questions either, becoming protective or patronising, or answering with things like "oh, you should know what I want" - which isn't exactly encouraging one to ask similar questions ever again, leading to further future misunderstandings.
My personal feeling is that too much information is never too much. (Although you do need to be selective with whom you share it - ie not the whole neighbourhood.) Sure, you don't have to speak your thoughts as you are developing them, but the more transparent you are with those close to you and the more they are with you - the less likely you are going to have misunderstandings and less likely you are to grow apart. But it's got to work both ways - no question should be dismissed, even if you think you've answered it a thousand times before.
I guess we need to give up our sense of needing to protect ourselves from criticism. At the base of this I guess is trust - you need to have trust in those people around you for this to work out... but if you don't have that - why are they still around?
So next time when you find out at a dinner party that your partner used to date a pro footballer, know his name and what his preferred activities were, and feel free not to share them with the neighbourhood.