Vulnerability gets a bad rap. This word, one of the most powerful words in dating, is often misused and misunderstood.
So often in fact, that everywhere you turn, people are teaching vulnerability. As if it is so new and foreign this inherent characteristic requires a guided class or weekend seminar.
You’ve most likely attempted to walk the fine line of strength and vulnerability, never quite knowing when to hit the brakes or the gas. So, you wait for the opportunity, the safe place or a kind face to let your guard down and share your innermost thoughts, feelings, tragic life events and disappointments.
Here’s the good news: You don’t need to study vulnerability and it certainly isn’t something you “decide” to pull out every time you want to make a connection. If you’re an honest person (not someone who spouts unfiltered opinions and judgments-that’s just disguised insecurity), but honest with your expressions and feelings, than you already have it. If vulnerability feels elusive to you, you’re not wrong or lacking, but your familiarity with the concept is.
One of the biggest obstacles with vulnerability today is the frustration you feel in your dating life. Whether it’s through wasted time on apps, not being able to meet new people organically, carrying around your baggage…in some way, you feel too jaded to be vulnerable. Life is easier when you can simply move on from a failed romance and push aside the emotions that make you feel like love is going to be forever elusive.
But the real reason why vulnerability is such a difficult and mysterious state of being is simply because you’ve made it all about you.
Sharing yourself is just a fraction of vulnerability. It’s a layer in the cake, not the entire dessert.
True vulnerability (the only kind), is simply this: Your highest sense of honesty, transparency and awareness combined with a healthy dose of generosity.
I’m not saying lay all of your cards on the table on the first date. You have to be:
- GENEROUS by listening to see if they are even on the same page as you are
- PRESENT yourself as lovable (you really should take this quiz)
- OPEN to accepting and inspiring chemistry
Awareness of the person sitting across from you keeps you in check and prevents you from going down a rabbit hole of confessions, way too much detail about your terrible Ex and all the reasons why you feel life has dealt you a bad card. Vulnerability isn’t heavy and dark. It’s bright, present, honest and real. In effect, your date will be more fun, flirty and lively because there’s real and honest communication.
People want to know you, but they aren’t prepared for your complaints and general malaise on a first date. There’s a big difference between getting lost in your own stories and actually sharing your past with wisdom, self reflection and perspective.
Take the pressure off yourself of having to be vulnerable and focus on the person you’re with.
Remember, we really fall in love with who WE are when we meet people who bring out our best selves.
Your vulnerability is less of a shedding of your skin and more about how you make someone feel.
When you’re able to authentically ask meaningful questions and really care about the answers, you’re perceived as being open and vulnerable.
When in doubt, here’s a handy checklist to keep you on track.
DATING WITH VULNERABILITY CHECKLIST:
- Share but don’t story tell. You’ll lose your audience. (Stories don’t create chemistry!)
- Be honest with your answers. Hiding or avoiding conveys insecurity.
- Ask as much as you reveal. You don’t need to keep score but have awareness.
- Truth is only well received when it’s layered with kindness.
- Take the focus off yourself on your next date.
- Vulnerability isn’t limited to sharing the difficult times. It’s also about your willingness to reveal your joy, happiness and passion for life.
- Independent vs. needy: Strike a balance. We all admire independence but too much of it creates a lonely life. Need for someone is wonderful, needy means you don’t respect yourself.
- Strength vs. vulnerability: No difference here. It requires great strength and confidence to be vulnerable.
- On your next date: Ask questions that mean something to the person you’re with, not just what’s meaningful to you.
- Date to connect, not qualify.