Allowing yourself to be vulnerable around those you care about is a key part in defining the depth of your relationship with them. Being honest with them about your flaws, sharing the things that you are ashamed of, can be the gesture that seals the importance of the connection you share. For both of you.
But being able to trust someone that much isn’t always easy.
It could be because someone has given you a reason to feel hesitant with your vulnerabilities, someone has betrayed your trust before. It could just be because you’re shy. Whatever the reason, it’s not unreasonable to be uncomfortable opening yourself to that extent.
Especially when it’s with a new person, especially if you haven’t allowed yourself to expose your deepest feelings in a long time.
You might even have thing that you haven’t explored on your own in a long time.
But the connection you gain once you learn how to share those secrets is one of the most intense experiences a human being can achieve.
It’s easy to exercise how far you’re prepared to confide.
FIND SOMEONE YOU TRUST
It’ll be easier with someone you know well and feel you can comfortably confide in, to some extent already. But you may get more out of it, or may even feel less awkward, trying with someone you don’t know at all. Whoever it is, trust them – whether it’s because you know they’ll respect or because you know you’ll never see them again. It doesn’t matter.
SET ASIDE SOME TIME
You might not need long, but then you might end up talking all night long. Make sure you have plenty of time, just in case it goes really, really well.
BE ALONE WITH THEM
Without distractions. Turn off your phones, go somewhere quiet, somewhere you won’t be disturbed or interrupted. Be as completely alone with them as you can possibly manage.
COMMIT YOURSELF TO OPENING UP
Know, from the start, that you are going to feel vulnerable. Be prepared for it. Steel yourself to be completely, wholly honest. And trust that they will do the same. It is probably the most important part of the exercise.
Start simple. Both of you need to answer every question. What’s your favourite colour? What do you do at work? What do you do in your spare time? Get used to answering honestly. Elaborate whenever you want to. Go right ahead and tell stories, even if they’re only a little bit relevant. Share everything you can think of that fits each question.
LET THEM GET DEEPER, MORE PERSONAL
Take the conversation to a deeper level on purpose. Visit memories and experiences you know you would usually avoid. Explore the things that it is difficult to explore. What do you really not want me to ask you? What secret did you think you would take to the grave? Maybe you’ll even learn something new.
KEEP ASKING QUESTIONS
Keep going for as long as you can. The questions don’t have to be consistently deep. You can take a break to talk about sillier things if you like, but carry on for as long as you can bear. Or until you fall asleep.
KNOW YOU CAN STOP WHENEVER YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE
If things get really difficult, you don’t have to carry on. If you get to a point where you absolutely, for whatever reason, can’t share anything else, then don’t. If you’ve picked the right person to do this with, they’ll understand when you want to stop. It doesn’t mean you can’t try again another time and it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It just mean you need a little more time.
PUSH THROUGH UNTIL ALL THE DISCOMFORT IS GONE
Whether that means you take a fifteen minutes break, have a cup of tea and then jump right back in, or go watch a film and finish up some other day, it doesn’t matter as long as you don’t give up. Eventually, you’ll feel comfortable – with this one person to start with and, later, perhaps even else you’ll ever meet – and confident with even your deepest secrets on show.
Author Bio – Kirstie Summers is journalist whose day job takes her to all the most interesting places and events in South London. She also freelances for a number of sites and publications, from gaming and literature reviews to creative fiction. She lives in London and spends as much of her free time as possible making the most of being in such a diverse city. She keeps one day a week to herself to swim, relax and keep the stress of the world at bay.