Friendships Are The Best Ships - Part Two
Friendships are the most important ‘ships’ I like to say. Friendship is about a lot more than the sharing of secrets, it’s about cultivating an environment of trust, honesty, and acceptance. Making sure that we are upfront and honest with our friends can sometimes be hard, especially when sensitive subjects are involved.
Vulnerability, being able to honestly express what is going on in our heads and hearts, will nourish continued growth in friendships.
I don’t know about you guys but the idea of letting my friends down is the most horrifying thing I can think of. I have a friend who invited me to go to Vegas with her for her birthday. I was so excited to attend the festivities. As luck would have it financially I had an issue. I had to tell her that I could not go on the trip. There were a few ways that I could have dealt with this situation.
I could have said yes to going on the trip in spite of my financial situation and then I’d be panicking on the inside the whole time. This would cause me to create animosity I would most likely direct at my friend.
I could have avoided the questions when she asked about the trip, just to bail out last second.
Doing that would have allowed me to avoid being vulnerable and avoid telling her about my financial situation which I derive shame from. However, I decided to tell her what was going on. I told her that I was in a rough spot that I had other responsibilities and financial goals that had to come first. GUYS the guilt was real, it was so hard to let her down.
The true telling of a good friend is how they react to bad news.
She did not shame me, she did not tell me I was a bad friend or that I should be more responsible with my money. She didn't tell me that I obviously don’t care about her or her birthday. She, without missing a beat, was vulnerable with me, she said she was sad that I could not come and she was really looking forward to me being there. She said “ I get it”.
I have never been so grateful for a friend as I was in that moment.
When our friends ask us for things that we can not supply it can be frightening to upset them. As I see it there are a few ways we go about dealing with this problem.
We can sit in the fear of potentially letting our friends down making us say yes to things that potentially are not in our best interest.
This ”yes” can then create resentment in our relationships due to a lack of communication of our feelings. We can choose to avoid, not show up or disconnect from the situation, hurting our friends deeply. Or we can unveil our true feelings and speak our truth to our friends and let them see and understand where we are coming from.
Doing the right thing can sometimes be so tricky but ultimately I believe we cultivate better relationships when we're honest with our friends.
I am not sure what person said that expressing yourself is easy, because it is not. It’s hard to admit our true feelings to our friends, but often times it is harder to admit hard truths to ourselves. Brene Brown talks about owning our story and how that is part of the vulnerability process.
Getting to a place where we are vulnerable is no walk in the park, we have to wade through the mess, we have to dig into our pain and we HAVE TO accept the conclusions we come to about our lives.
It can be scary when we put a microscope up to our mistakes and choices and realize that things have to change. I recall having a conversation with a friend once, and I said through tears “I know that when I say how I am feeling out loud that makes it real, and now I have to do something about it.” I later spoke my truth to the person I needed to and even though it was hard I felt good about being true to myself.
A product of vulnerability is that we get to speak our truth to the friends that have earned the right to hear it.
I have had friends who were never vulnerable with me and that made it impossible to have a real and heartfelt conversation. I constantly wanted more from the friendship, I wanted to dig deeper I wanted to know my friend better, but the lack of vulnerability made it impossible. To get to the good parts of friendship we have to be willing to give a little, to be open and trust our friends will be supportive.
It's important to own who we are and how we feel, but that does not make it the right of someone else to know these things.
If you don't feel comfortable enough to share your story with someone you're on a first date with you don't have too. If you're not sure what your friends intentions are with the relationship you don't have to share your story. If you share with someone and they throw your feelings back in your face, you don't have to continue to share with that person.
Vulnerability and trust are different things but they are not mutually exclusive.
You need be vulnerable to gain trust, but you don't have to pour everything out all at once. I find being vulnerable pays off in massive ways, sharing yourself with people can be the most rewarding part of a friendship.
Honestly I practice what I preach, it makes my palms sweaty, my heart race and fills me will fear that I might lose a friend however, it is an amazing way to clear the air. I would say 98% of the time you're saving your relationship by being vulnerable.
Give it a try, it's hard, so hard, but when you're open you create the friendships that you want and deserve.
- Lyndsay Grace