In recent years I’ve come to learn that being vulnerable takes a considerable amount of strength and courage. In my twenties I would often hide behind my smile during times of depression and laugh and joke as if nothing were wrong. Not only did this add to my feeling of isolation but it inadvertently harmed my friendships because I didn’t give my friends the opportunity to connect with who I truly was or what I was going through. On reflection, this left little room for an authentic, deep bond between us.
Since my breakdown in 2009 I realised that this coping mechanism wasn’t working for me at all and I started to become more open with my friends with how I was feeling. It was very scary at first to be so vulnerable but almost immediately I felt lighter and deeply loved and comforted by my friends. It was a truly liberating experience to finally take off my mask. As a result of this simple but significant shift my friendships grew and the bonds I had with my friends became deeper because I had been brave enough to expose my core self.
Of course I chose my moments. I didn’t decide to open up to them on a crowded dance floor or on a double date. I chose my environment carefully, often during some quality one on one time, occasionally over coffee at a café or at a restaurant.
So the next time you are feeling low, angry or even depressed try being vulnerable, your friends will probably value your honesty more than you realize and they will be thankful they have the opportunity to show you how loved you are. In return you will have a support network which is built upon honesty and trust – the key ingredients of intimacy in any friendship.
Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable in your friendships? If you have how did it impact the friendship? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, support and insight from our community, we’d love to hear from you.