I just wanted to tell you my own personal experience and views as to why this is so important coming from a person who has had a such a difficult time in general connecting with people.
Your vulnerability towards someone allows you to connect in a human way. It tells a
story that will bridge the gap between you and the other person you’re speaking with.
You’re telling the other person, “Hey, I’m no different than you. I have flaws, I have experiences, I have the emotions, just like you!”
To put this in perspective, think of someone you know who seems to be “super cool” so to speak. Anyone, a movie star, a co-worker, maybe even a friend. Think about how they
conduct their lives. Do they seem more distant? Do they seem a bit lonely? Depressed even? Perhaps they are always missing from some kind of social gathering or distancing themselves somehow?
In college I was always considered to be the “cool” one of the friend group, but they also didn’t realize that I was also the suicidal, depressed one. My “coolness” was essentially a mask of my true emotions within me. I knew this, but others didn’t – yet this became my identity and I welcomed it with open arms because at least it gave me some form of attention that I was seeking. It gave me an identity and something to stand by. When people are calling you the “cool” guy, it brings with it a sense of awe from others that feels good at times.
But get this – the times when I finally felt alive; when I felt free and at peace was when I was upfront with my emotions, even when joking about them. When I took off my mask and was honest and “vulnerable” – that’s when I was truly at peace with myself.
In college, during my late night conversations my roommate, that was when true connection was made. My roommate at that time became one of my closest friends to this day because of how much I shared with him those long nights. Mind you, this guy was completely different from me. You could have said we were opposites in our personalities. But, when we traded off these vulnerabilities that allowed us to tell our story of our day, how we felt, what we were up to, it allowed me to vent my emotions that were built up inside of me.
Our giving and taking of vulnerable moments allowed us to be set free of the mask and secrets that we hide within ourselves reminding us that indeed we are people of flaws and distorted lives. These vulnerabilities allow us to have our souls essentially intertwined in order to help us realize that we are not alone in the endeavor to just live our tiny little lives.
So what does it take to be close to someone? Be human.
You’re not a robot and you don’t live a unique life. Allow yourself to just express your emotions, vent to someone, whatever.
Obviously…you need to choose the right moment. You can’t just be vulnerable to the next person you meet. Allow yourself to get aquatinted and at the right time, slowly open yourself more and more but not to the point where you make them feel responsible for your vulnerability, but just enough to say, “Hey, I feel the same way!”
As a quick example, I’ve had someone vent to me about how difficult it is to work with a particular co-worker of mine. In return I simply sympathized with her, didn’t say anything bad, but just listened and I realized at that point how comfortable she was with me in order to say something like this. I’ve built enough trust with her so that she can express her struggle and feelings towards me.
Be vulnerable, don’t be the “cool” guy. Be the relatable, understanding, and loving human being you were meant to be.
Insane Introvert, out.