Last spring, Carly Rae Jepsen released her fourth album, “Dedicated,” and it quite honestly slapped. While the album was filled with bops, one track, “Too Much,” was made for people like me who feel everything all at once when we meet someone new.

In the song, Carly sings about how she wears her heart on her sleeve and is unapologetic about sharing her feelings with new lovers. Hard same. Yet while I enjoy being a part of the overly sensitive squad with queen Carly, I still get a little insecure about whether I am actually too much. It might be previous relationship trauma, or it could be because I’m a Pisces. Regardless, facts are facts. America, I indeed feel too much

I Know What Works For Me

Friends and family regularly tell me to relax when I meet someone new. I imagine they’re trying to protect me. And I hear them. I’ve made progress —  I no longer get hurt if a guy doesn’t text me back within an hour. I’ve extended my grace period to two hours. I’m also an unapologetic double texter, because guys need to know that I know they’re ignoring me. 

All jokes aside, I think being this sensitive comes from knowing what I want. Dating expert and founder of LoveQuest Coaching Lisa Concepcion believes expressing how you feel when you meet someone you really like is actually a solid system.

“People who wear their hearts on their sleeve often know who is going to be a fit for them,” says Concepcion. “The more we own that part of ourselves, the more likely it is we will attract people who feel the same.”

They say opposites attract, but I’ve never really clicked well with guys who are aloof. Whenever someone doesn’t match my level of openness, I can’t help but feel stifled, probably because it makes me feel like I’m coming off as “a lot.” But at the same time, I would feel bad if someone was stuck with my sensitive ass and had no clue how to deal with me. So when I suspect a mismatch, I tend to just cut my losses.

Lessons Learned

I know logically that not everyone is on the same emotional wavelength. But while others may view me as too much, I can’t help but contemplate whether people around me are just too little? Being as open as I am has taught me valuable communication skills that have helped me navigate tricky relationship situations. When people are emotionally shut, it makes me wonder if they’re robbing themselves of some sweet soul searching.

“When we’re closed off with other people, more often than not we’ll be closed off with ourselves,” says Concepcion. “But if you’re showing even the smallest signs of vulnerability, it’s easier to communicate and put yourself out there.” 

Getting your heart shattered a bunch of times comes with the territory of allowing yourself to be vulnerable. But I refuse to let the fear of getting hurt stop me. If nothing else, being too guarded would, I suspect, be emotionally stunting.

However, when I know someone is shut tight, I try not to get any more involved. I have no interest in dealing with someone who has the emotional intelligence of a confused bro asking me, “Can you chill?” without bothering to wonder why I reacted the way I did. 

Boundaries Are Still A Thing

I get that not everyone is down to share their trauma — hell, even I’m not that open. But mentioning that a certain album or film moves you to tears actually makes me like you more. According to Concepcion, when sharing, it makes sense to lean in to how an event or thing in your life affected you.

For example, if you’ve experienced loss, Concepcion believes it’s OK to talk about it. But instead of mentioning it for sympathy points, she recommends focusing on how the loss affected you. Did it make you realize things about your own mortality? Did it remind you of a positive memory that is relevant to the conversation you’re now having?

“It’s all about being vulnerable with a purpose,” says Concepcion. “When you do this, the person will think you’re brave rather than an oversharer.”

I can’t even begin to count the amount of times I’ve been accused of the O-word. I like to think I’ve found my way, but I still sometimes slip up and talk about something regarding an ex or my mental health on a first date. 

But if the topic of conversation falls under something like family dynamics — which, as a child of separated parents, feels very personal to me — I’m a pro at navigating it. I acknowledge that my parents’ relationship didn’t have the greatest ending, but I also highlight how their separation taught me that people shouldn’t stay together just for the sake of not being apart. By leaning more into the life lessons aspect of my experience, I’m able to quickly remove any possible red flags.

Yes, I make mistakes, but I’m OK with that. Being open has allowed me to get in touch with my feelings, teach myself how to calm down, reassess, and figure out how to properly navigate what’s going on in my head. There’s something powerfully relaxing and reassuring about going on a date and having nothing to hide. And if Carly Rae Jepsen can make a career from being an open book, then why shouldn’t I do the same?