Growing up (and to a certain extent, even now), it was a very beneficial thing for me to learn how to "protect" my mom from understanding me in ways that would lead to unrelenting criticism. I wonder to what extent this has influenced how protective I am of myself, and to what extent it is perfectly normal to be cautious about letting people get to know me too quickly. It's nice to think that I could just be completely myself around everyone at all times, but that doesn't seem to be a very effective approach to making friends. Of course, warning people ahead of time that I'm probably not what they expect is also not such a great approach. No idea where I'm going with this; it's just something that popped into my head about 5 minutes ago, and I haven't thought it through yet. Thoughts?