You’ve probably had one of those arguments
Two of my closest friends and I had a bit of a disagreement. I would even go on a limb and call it a “blow up”. One of those arguments where you just don’t know if you will have a friendship when the smoke clears.
I am not confrontational, so this means I avoid every opportunity to have an argument. Let me just come out and say it – this is not a great way to live your life. Sometimes you need a bit of confrontation to get past issues in your relationship. Which was the case with this situation.
Our massive misunderstanding actually led to us becoming closer than we had ever been. While we were working through our issues we realized that all three of us had literally the same problem. I am 100% sure that you’re also having this problem in a relationship.
This one problem is affecting our friendships
This problem that is causing relationships to fall apart. This problem that is so easily fixed.
All three of us were not communicating how we really felt. We were refusing to talk about our feelings and be vulnerable. A quick example: we all wanted to talk more but none of us were willing to say this because it would make it seem like we’re being “needy”. The last thing you want to be is a “needy friend” when people are married with kids and have their own lives and their own problems. But, choosing not to say this one thing was eating away at our friendship.
Talking about your feelings and being vulnerable is hard
Very hard. Even if we’ve known these people all our lives we are concerned about how this vulnerability will alter how they see us or interact with us. This is a heightened awareness/ fear in our adulthood. While talking to Hope Kelaher, author of “Here to Make Friends” and our guest for episode 33, she mentioned that our relationship to vulnerability is born out of our experiences in childhood.
How your family affects your friendships
Were you brought up in a home where people, children specifically, spoke about their feelings? Or where your family provided the space for you to talk about problems?
I was not, and a pretty significant number of my friends weren’t either. So we’re all playing this dance even in our adulthood, regarding how vulnerable we want to be. Let’s be clear about something: you can tell your friend everything and still not be vulnerable. Vulnerability is the state of being open to injury. Really being open and sharing your thoughts with someone and being prepared for the fact that they may not think like you, may disagree with you, or may inadvertently hurt you.
Why we don’t want to be vulnerable
Nobody hopes for the latter. Being vulnerable opens us up to things we would rather avoid. This is why it’s so difficult to be vulnerable. But we really should not allow our apprehension to vulnerability, our fear of sharing how we really feel, to destroy our friendships.
It is already difficult to make friends in adulthood, and we all know this adulting thing is hard so we should be using our time to cultivate and nurture meaningful relationships and connections. We need real people we can talk to about real things. That might not be your entire friend group, but a solid group of a few close friends is essential.