2014 I was facilitator of a specific conference (I wrote about it here) and I met a lot of new people there. One of them was a woman from the Philippines who is living in the Netherlands. We met there for the first time and didn’t really talk before, during the preparation process. Afterwards, we just skyped from time to time and then we didn’t write for maybe 3 years. Then, she invited all of the facilitators to her birthday and that is why I write this post from the Netherlands.
The conference lasted only 11 days for the facilitators and because there was so much to do we couldn’t talk that much during the conference either. However, it was still enough to speak about very private topics and to be, after a short period of time, open towards each other and showing vulnerability.
You might think that after not talking for 3 years, thinks might be awkward but on the contrary. We directly spoke about very private and deep things that happened in our lives. As if we continued a conversation we started 3 years ago. It felt very normal. She also told me that she doesn’t speak about some of the things with her best friends.
This kept me wondering and I realized that we can all improve our relationships and also our friendships. If an 11-day conference was all it took to form such a strong bond and to be so open with each other, it should be easy to have the same kind of conversations with your best friend(s).
Maybe it is more difficult because we also love our friends and we don’t want to be rejected by them. It might be easier to open up to a stranger you don’t see afterwards. But the thing is that we long for those conversations. It is already very difficult if not impossible to talk to our parents or family about those things. But that is what friends should be there (partially =) ). But still, we seldomly share our deepest fears and thoughts with them.
I think we can improve our friendships by being more vulnerable. Of course, that is scary. And yes, you might have a negative experience. But if you do, this friend might not really be your best friend or she or he is not ready to talk about these kinds of things. But raising those subjects and wanting to talk about is better than remaining quiet. We need to voice our thoughts to process our feelings.
It can be a great way to deepen and strengthen your friendship if you are brave enough to talk about your deepest thoughts and fears. I am pretty sure the other person might be grateful that you do, because he/she was also afraid to bring up those topics.
Just try it out. I can say that I enjoy these talks a lot and they show that we all struggle, and we are all only humans. If you want to know how to best approach such a conversation with a friend write me a mail =).