Opening yourself to someone else is always a risk. That’s true whether it’s a friendship, a romance, or a business relationship. Once you’ve opened yourself to that other person, they have the opportunity to hurt or reject you.
I’ve lived through broken relationships. I’ve had friends turn their backs on me. I’ve had friends say hurtful things about me to others. I’ve been through nasty breakups. I’ve been through a divorce. I’ve faced business setbacks. There are contacts who won’t return my calls or emails.
The natural response for us when these things happen is to protect ourselves. We don’t let people in quite so close next time. We hesitate to become really vulnerable. As a result, it becomes more and more difficult to form deep relationships.
It can be difficult to give up that protective fence we’ve constructed, but the cost of keeping it up is huge. I’ve talked to several people lately who have told me that they don’t have any close friends. None. They have no one they can go to when they need advice or a shoulder to cry on. I’ve talked with people who feel like there’s no depth to their marriages.
Yes, being vulnerable can open you up to additional hurt and pain. Without that vulnerability, though, our lives become isolated and lonely. It may be difficult, but it’s definitely worth it.