Difficult conversations can be tricky to tackle especially in modern society where most of what we present to the world has been heavily filtered to avoid public scrutiny. How do we approach these conversations when we all want to be trending, likeable and have our lives appear picture-perfect? The answer – vulnerability.
It would be fair to say that in the age of social media, it is more important to lie and be likeable than to be honest, and authentic. This type of social conditioning is what makes vulnerability even more difficult today than in years past. It is important to remind ourselves that the majority of our followers are not our friends and that most difficult conversations require more depth than what can be accomplished in 280 characters.
With the latest in technical innovation communicating has never been easier, we have never had more ways to keep in touch and are rarely inaccessible. However, as a society, we have never felt more alone; which was further emphasized during the pandemic. While it can be difficult to wear your heart on your sleeve, numerous studies confirm that the presence of vulnerability during communication helps to develop deeper and more meaningful relationships. The key to vulnerable communication is rooted in the ideology that how you feel matters and is of value (READ THAT AGAIN).
This is your reminder that you are the only person in the world who possesses all of your individual cumulative life experiences and as a result, you are entitled to your own unique perspectives, opinions and boundaries. Whilst it may seem daunting to express to a partner that you’re uncomfortable with them being friends with their ex, or telling your BFF you don’t feel like hanging this week, prioritizing vulnerability during difficult conversations is an essential practice and the sooner you begin to implement it, the easier those difficult conversations get.
Fortunately, the first step to practising vulnerability can be done without anyone else ever knowing. When thinking of a difficult conversation it’s time to address, quickly grab a piece of paper or head to the notes app on your phone and write down all of your unfiltered feelings; the more honest you can be, the better. Write down all of your anger, sadness, disappointment, love and hurt. Then when it’s time to tackle those difficult conversations, refer to your notes and attempt to pull your communication from those vulnerable emotions you wrote down instead of being defensive, closing yourself off, avoiding or becoming passive-aggressive. This might look like “hanging out with your ex makes me uncomfortable because I was previously lied to and while you’ve always been honest with me, I feel anxious thinking I could potentially lose you, which hurts to imagine because you mean a lot to me, how can we work on this together?” To most people, this is a welcomed alternative to the typical millennial silent treatment, passive-aggressive Tweet, ghosting or the ever-popular “new phone, who dis?”
Despite how intimidating difficult conversations can be, approaching them with vulnerability and the mentality that they are an opportunity to feel closer and understood by the people around you will liberate you and provide the dopamine hit you’ve been craving. When in doubt, remember that how you feel matters, the people meant to be in your life will not only understand but be receptive to your honesty and that while filters are a great addition to your photos they don’t work well in real life.
Let us know how it goes. Lots of love and luck!