Opening up to people can be hard, particularly when we are feeling vulnerable. When we feel vulnerable, we may be feeling raw, exposed, and anxious.
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 who 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. Not competitive or superior.
Books on vulnerability –
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
- Rising Strong by Brene Brown
(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 approach 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.
- It’s Not All About You
- Want to Have Better Conversations? Stop Doing This One Thing
- 20 Ways to Show Genuine Interest in People’s Lives
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.
Related post – 12 Best Books on Having Better Conversations
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. It just keeps everyone miserable.
Related post – How to Make Yourself Miserable – 15 Behaviors That Will Make You Miserable
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 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 and start making improvements)
Related post – 7 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 and compassion when people are feeling vulnerable can help them through a hard time. It also lets them know that you are someone they can lean on and confide in. We all need someone to lean on at times.
If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends on social media. It just might inspire someone to be more supportive of a person in need today!
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