Being vulnerable

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I had grown impatient with slowly building friendships after the move to Houston and was complaining to an old friend via e-mail.  "I have lots of great dinners and lunches with interesting people.  I can find someone to do any activity.  But, I still don't feel like I have many true friends.  I don't know who I'd call in a medical emergency... or a wine-deprivation emergency."

She gave wise advice, but it wasn't easy to implement.  Be vulnerable, she suggested.  While my positive, upbeat attitude can be fun, nobody becomes invested in someone who is fully put-together and perfectly capable of handling everything on her own.  I'm absolutely not fully put-together or perfectly capable of handling everything on my own, but I do tend to try to hide those sides from others and allow A to be my sole support.

My life is also objectively pretty good, so I don't have the opportunity to just "be vulnerable" all of the time.  Today, though, I had an experience that gutted my professional self-confidence.  I wanted to hide at my desk today, but I forced myself to shoot a quick e-mail to two of my female co-workers.  It was short and to the point--I told them I was having a low-confidence day and asked for any quick-fix ideas/tips/advice.  They immediately suggested we take a quick work break to grab iced teas from the convenience store across the street, one offered to join for a run, one offered to be a dinner companion.  We took the quick iced tea break and I felt a little better.  Then I ended up meeting up for a run/walk.  A volunteered to cook dinner.

After it was all said and done, not only did I feel a lot better about the self-confidence-gutting experience, I felt better and more supported in those friendships all because I managed to get myself to jot two lines into an e-mail.  Be vulnerable, she suggested.

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