Vulnerability in FriendshipsApr 01, 2023
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it's our greatest measure of courage.” -Brene’ Brown
So, what does it mean to be vulnerable in a friendship? If you look at the quote above from Brene’ Brown, it means to show up and be seen. Think about all of the times that you might have been invited to a party or event and instead of attending, you stayed home. What was it that kept you from going? If you are at all like me, most of those missed opportunities were because you were feeling insecure or afraid of something. Will anyone talk to me? What if they don’t like me? I don’t know what to say if someone does talk to me. So instead of going to see what might happen, we stayed away because we didn’t want to feel those vulnerable feelings, thinking we were protecting ourselves. But if what Brene’ says is true (and I believe it is) we were missing a chance to show courage, to do it anyway and take the risk. Our fear will tell us that we will look weak when we are being vulnerable when the exact opposite is true!
The shame from past experiences can keep us from taking chances with new friendships. Maybe you took a chance with someone in the past and it didn’t quite work out the way you wanted it to. Don’t let that stop you from moving forward, learn from that experience and keep trying. Feeling shame because something didn’t work out the way you thought it should is not helpful, it will keep you small and stuck. Learning from that experience and daring to be vulnerable again is the best way to improve your friendships.
Embrace the Emotions
When it comes to relationships you can be sure that there will be a lot of emotions! I believe that there are no “good” or “bad” emotions, emotions are just energy moving through us, and our emotions give us information. That information is how we know when it is safe to be vulnerable and when it is not. Pay attention to how you feel about yourself after an interaction with a potential friend, if you feel drained and exhausted after most of the interactions with that individual, take note, that is vital information! Once you practice embracing the emotions, you will know when it is safe to be vulnerable and when it is not in your best interest.
Review your Expectations
Another potential source of vulnerability in friendships is differing expectations. We all have different expectations of what a friendship entails, and these expectations can change over time. For instance, one friend may expect regular phone calls and visits, while the other may prefer a more relaxed approach. These differing expectations can cause tension and disappointment if not communicated openly. Therefore, it's important to have regular conversations about what we expect from our friendships and how we can meet each other's needs. These conversations can feel very vulnerable, but the more we practice the easier they become, and the stronger our relationships will become.
Talk about Trust
Trust is another vital component of friendships that can cause us to feel vulnerable. Trust involves having confidence in our friends' reliability, honesty, and loyalty. If this trust is broken, it can be challenging to repair the friendship. For instance, if a friend shares confidential information with others or lies to us, it can erode our trust in them. Therefore, it's crucial to be honest and transparent with our friends and respect their boundaries and privacy. And again, being willing to discuss the boundaries you have in friendships can feel vulnerable but in the end, that kind of vulnerability will strengthen your friendships.
Here’s to practicing more vulnerability in our friendships!
If you want support in manifesting more friendships, please consider joining the Chatty Chicks Book Group starting in April. Together we will go through the book "Daring Greatly" by Brene' Brown, it is a tremendous resource for all relationships! Here is the link to check it out and register:
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