I think making a tree private is a way of meeting _more_ people who have the same family interests as you do. That is, if they are willing to go the extra step to contact you. If they are just takers and collectors of names, then you probably don't have that much in common with them anyway. I think your "cousin" is an exception, but generally most people who take the time and spend the money to be on Ancestry are "sharers." These are the people you want to meet and who are most likely to contact you if your tree is private.