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Building Deep Friendships: Learning to be Vulnerable


I said it. (Looks around nervously.) The v word.


I think that most of us cringe at the thought of this word: vulnerable. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines being vulnerable as "capable of being physically or emotionally wounded; being open to attack or damage". Who would ever want to be in this position? But I would actually say, it is impossible for us to desire deep and intimate relationships with others without introducing or experiencing vulnerability. (I could not help myself with creating this meme.) So let's dive into this one a little more.



My friends and I went to a game arcade recently and the child in all of us came alive. For me and one of my close girlfriends, we both wanted to bring home a toy we won. At a particular machine, we had the possibility of winning a tiny toy for 3 tokens per attempt. Please note, both of us are competitive. We were so close to winning each time that it was almost addictive. We could have spent our entire tokens here because of "one more try". After numerous failed attempts, I moved on to other games. Shortly after, my girlfriend came over to me excited because she won not only one toy--but two! She offered to give me one but I almost did not take it. I wished that I won it, by my effort so that I could claim it as my prize. But then I chose to receive it and accept that "I have this, because you won it and shared it with me."


The little teddy bear is up on the wall in my bedroom as a reminder that it is okay to receive something that I did not attain myself. This acceptance has been a win for me.


The experience reminded me of an episode of The Christy Wright Show: Business Boutique called "How To Sell Without Feeling Slimy" with Tiffany Peterson. They shared that "the reason why receiving is harder [than giving] is because it's vulnerable. The giver is the one in control and in the power position." Yes, I would have preferred to be in control and independent at the game arcade, but on a deeper level, accepting the teddy bear made me dependent. I am learning that in building deep friendships with others, it is absolutely okay to simply receive assistance, affection, gifts, compliments--and not feel the need to immediately give something back. If this is a healthy relationship, I will have more opportunities to continually give anyways, and continually receive.


Nurturing and thriving relationships experience a continuous give-and-take and both processes involve some level of vulnerability. We are not required to have deep relationships with everybody, but for the ones that go beyond the surface, we have to learn to be vulnerable. We are less likely to drown on the shore, but we will never swim there either.


I invite you to leave a comment below if you are also learning how to be vulnerable in your relationships.





By Kerry-Ann McPherson

Project Manager & Contributor


4 Comments


Unknown member
Sep 17, 2021

“If this is a healthy relationship , I will have more opportunities to continually give anyways , and continually receive”So true! love this perspective!

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Unknown member
Sep 18, 2021
Replying to

Thanks Candice! This is a true friendship :D

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Unknown member
Sep 16, 2021

Very interesting take. No one wants to be vulnerable. I recently offered to help a friend who was obviously in need but she refused. I asked God to open her mind to being vulnerable and accept help. Great read!

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Unknown member
Sep 18, 2021
Replying to

It's a journey for all of us. We need each other, even if we don't want to admit it. Thanks Paula.

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