Michael, a Tawkify recruit, reached out last week wondering about vulnerability. How does one express vulnerability on a date? In his exact words...
I love reading your articles. A number of people have asked me lately if I have problems "being vulnerable" in dating. I'm not sure what this means or what the consequences of it are. Personally, I think my greatest point of vulnerability is that I'm afraid of being rejected. But that isn't something you can share with someone you are dating if you want success. So what's the right way to "be vulnerable?" Hope this email might be fodder for your commentary.
It's excellent fodder Michael--thank you for writing in!
Matchmaker Kimia Mansoor kicks off the discussion:
To me, being vulnerable means allowing your authentic self to come through when you are with your significant other (or date). This means being open about sharing your most intimate feelings and not being guarded. We often put up walls to protect ourselves from getting hurt, but it works counterintuitively. Putting up walls can manifest as not communicating or playing games, both of which are responses to fear of rejection.
By guarding oneself from intimacy, we are able to cope with the fear of rejection--but why not take a chance and admit that fear of rejection is a reality in your next relationship? This type of authenticity will surely add to the intimacy and mutual understanding that you share with your partner.
Matchmaker and Heartalytics contributor, Kristina Cappuccilli, offers tactical guidance:
Given the nature of modern day relationships, being vulnerable is scary. Putting yourself out there is difficult when you're not sure how the other person feels, which begs the question:
"How do we overcome the fear of verbalizing our feelings for someone without coming on too strong, or committing to something we're not ready for?"
The first step is being honest with yourself - do you see potential in this person? Are they someone you could see a future with? The answers don't necessarily have to come in the form of absolutes, but you should have an idea of your intentions based on your feelings for that person.
The second step, and perhaps where people have the most trouble, is finding a way to tell them how we feel. Even saying something as casual as "I really like spending time with you," or "I haven't met someone like you in a really long time," prompts them to respond in some way. Whether or not the other person feels similarly, this is all they'll need to feel comfortable enough to verbalize how they feel - no matter the outcome. Stepping out of your comfort zone isn't always a natural process, but it's an important one, especially when it comes to love.
A big thank you to Kimia and Kristina for defining what vulnerability is as it relates to dating--and also for providing direction on how to express vulnerability with a potential romantic partner.
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