How to Communicate with Someone When They Are Feeling Vulnerable

Opening up to people can be hard, particularly when we are feeling vulnerable.

Here are my top tips for talking to someone when they are feeling insecure or vulnerable.

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Don’t make them feel worse

I have a friend who I love dearly that often does this without realizing – at least I hope it’s without realizing!

I open up and admit to something I’m scared of or bad at and her answer is pretty much always the same – Oh I’m great at that!

This response always makes me feel ten times worse.

When someone opens up to a vulnerability don’t rub it in their face. Granted you may be better than them at a lot of things but now is not the time to mention it.

Now is the time to be supportive.

Books on vulnerability – 

(In case you are unaware, Brene Brown is one of the leading experts on vulnerability.)

Don’t make it all about you

Often our first response is to jump in and compare stories. We see it as a way of connecting, a way of expressing – ‘I know how you feel, I’ve been there too.’

Done gently this can be helpful but sometimes it can get out of hand and before you know it you are waffling on about yourself and the person who originally opened up their heart is sitting there thinking you don’t care and/or that you don’t want to listen to them.

Related post20 Ways to Show Genuine Interest in People’s Lives

Don’t interrupt

I hate to admit but I am guilty of this one.

It sucks to interrupt but sometimes we get so excited to say something we believe will help the other person, we simply blurt stuff out and interrupt their train of thought.

Try not to do this. Focus on letting the other person get their thoughts and feelings out.

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Don’t make your problems worse than theirs

This is where the competitive ‘my life is worse than your life comes in’.

It’s strange to think that people compete on who is the most miserable but it does happen.  

I’ve personally seen it in action. If someone sees themselves as the perpetual victim, they often wear their misery like a badge of honor.

Try to avoid getting sucked into this toxic behavior. It doesn’t help anyone.

Related post – Want to Have Better Conversations? Stop Doing This One Thing

Understand it’s not always about you fixing things

Men struggle with this one the most. Their partner tells them a problem and automatically they go into, how can I fix this mode?

Most of the time people are venting or talking through their problems out loud to find their own solutions or process what has happened – not looking for someone to save the day for them.

Be a sounding board. Be supportive, caring and kind but resist the urge to try to fix everything (unless of course, the problem is about your behavior, in that case, hop to it).

Related post7 Signs You Are Taking on Other People’s Problems


When we open up to people about our deepest darkest fears and insecurities what we want from them is someone who will listen and be supportive.

We are often looking for someone we can speak to without judgment.

Just for the record, sometimes a hug can do wonders too!

Showing support when people are feeling vulnerable can help them through a rough time. It also lets them know that you are someone they can lean on and we all need someone to lean on at times.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends on social media. If just might inspire someone to be more supportive to a person in need today!

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