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Public Versus Private Selves


We often assume that topics we consider to be public information will also be considered public by others. As a result, we may unintentionally violate the privacy of others. The questionnaire that follows shows the topics that I consider to be public and those that I consider to be private. 


Public and Private Attitudes and Opinions


Private

1. My thoughts and feelings about my religion

I think this is because I was raised not to discuss religion publicly since it can be a contentious topic.

2. My views on abortion/afterlife

3. My views on racial integration

Public

4. My view on sexual morality

5. The characteristics I value in another person

I think it is important in leadership roles to let people you lead know what is expected.


Tastes and Interests


Public

1. My favorite foods

2. My likes and dislikes in music

3. My favorite reading matter

4. The kinds of movies and TV programs I like best

5. The kind of party or social gathering I like best


Work or Studies


Private

1. My shortcomings that prevent me from getting ahead

2. My special strong points for work

3. My goals and ambitions

Public

4. My feelings about my career

5. My feelings about the people I work for or with


Money

Private

1. How much money I earn

Private

2. Whether or not I owe money

3. My total financial worth

4. My most pressing need for money right now

5. How I budget my money


Personality

Public

1. Aspects of my personality I dislike

Private

2. Feelings I have trouble expressing or controlling

3. Facts about my present intimate relationships

4. Things I feel ashamed or guilty about

5. Things that make me feel proud


Body

Public

1. My feelings about my face

Private

2. How I wish I looked

3. My feelings about parts of my body

4. My past illnesses and treatment

5. My fears about being inadequate


Adapted from Pedersen, P. (1988). A handbook for developing multicultural awareness. Alexandria,

VA: American Association for Counseling and Development.

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