Why I Don’t Have Deep Friendships.

Ooooo Vulnerabites, let’s get into it!

“Mac, I open up about my marriage, but I don’t feel like you do the same.”

She shared her marital frustrations with me, and here came the golden question, “Girl, am I trippin?” — In short, I responded, “Maybe y’all should try counseling.” Ouch! There was no empathy, only pure analysis that ‘this was not an isolated incident’ and ‘I could feel the weight of the history’ that I absolutely did not want to get into.

Did not want to get into? She was really quite annoyed with me at this point. So, here I was at the crossroad of writing blogs about ‘should people open up about marriage to friends‘ and dealing with the reality of someone actually opening up to me. No nitty-gritty details about him sleeping with the maid or anything like that, but a step up from the superficial ‘we’re good.’

Let’s Connect on Instagram @YoursVulnerably

Let me start off by saying I don’t know if people should or should not talk to friends about their marriage, which is why I started the conversation. I wanted to engage in dialogue around it —and that we did, Thank You Vulnerabites.

Now that I’ve somehow experienced the other side of my blog here’s where it’s awkward for me.

I don’t want to feel compelled to share about my marriage, because you’ve shared openly about yours.

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Let’s Connect on Instagram @YoursVulnerably

But more than marriage sharing, I don’t want to feel forced to share about any part of my life just because you’ve opened up about yours.

Now, here’s where I’ve exposed myself. If someone has built enough trust in me to share openly about their life, it could mean that we’ve spent enough time together or have communicated authentically or often enough for them to identify a safe space in this friendship, right?

Then, why don’t I feel the same way?

After a 3-hour long conversation of what felt like a “friendships anonymous intervention”, I walked away finally being able to admit, “Hi, I’m Mac and I have a problem developing deeper friendships.”

The beauty of the intervention wasn’t just admitting that I have a problem, it also offered me clarity around why…

While I waited at the Delta luggage carousel in JFK airport, I picked up my phone and began to call each of my best friends, “Hey Sally, I can’t be your friend anymore, please don’t try to convince me otherwise. It’s nothing you did, I just want to live a different life and it’s hard to do that with you as my friend.” 

By the time I got around to calling my fifth best friend, she didn’t answer. The other girls  must’ve warned her not to answer my call. I ended our friendship on her voicemail. I grabbed my luggage, walked away from the carousel, called Sprint and asked for a new phone number. Done.

I stepped into the brisk air of New York City a friendless 20 year old. This was the start of my defining decade.

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Let’s Connect on Instagram @YoursVulnerably

As I tried to re-cast my best friends, no one seemed to ‘fit the script.’ So, I learned how to have deep-shallow friends. You know the friends you talk to often, but never about anything that really troubles you. Yeah, those. I did manage to squeeze in a few good friendships where we hit it off right away, like that road trip I took to Atlanta with Ms.McCullough two days after meeting her.

But by then, I had developed this new way of living that didn’t depend on friendships and I’m still living with those survival skills…

1. I process a lot of my life internally, on my own. With the exception of life altering decisions that I may take to grandma, mommy, big sis or a mature woman who stands as a mentor in my life. That’s only after I’ve mulled over it and I’m not able to get to the other side on my own.

2. My default source for advice is research.  I read a whole lot, and my line of thinking is — if I’m going through this, someone else has already been through this — and hence there must be an article, sermon, book, thesis, ted talk, conference or research paper about it somewhere on Google.

3. I write. I buy a new journal every year and it’s the keeper of all my secrets and that’s how I ‘get things off my chest’.

These aren’t bad survival skills to have, but I’ve used them as crutches and excuses for not engaging my relationships into something deeper. Because quite honestly, it’s just been easier to live at a distance than it is to take the risk. — Sounds like someone has hard time being vulnerable.

Do I have the capacity to go deeper? Of course. How do you think I got married? But it took my first fiancé dumping me to realize I couldn’t get very far with that surface stuff. lol

Oh and four months ago I got dumped by a very good friend too — sheesh— didn’t even know that was possible. It’s been a wake-up call as I reflect on the state of my friendships.

I’d be an idiot to think that if I keep carrying on like this, that I’ll ever develop the deeper friendships that my heart so desires.

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Let’s Connect on Instagram @YoursVulnerably

I think I’m finally in the frame of mind, were I am willing to do things differently. Give me time Vulnerabites, the change won’t be overnight, but it’s coming. The first step to overcoming is admitting there’s a problem, and I’ve done that… took me a decade, but I did it.

“If we want to experience true connection, we must be willing to take the risk of vulnerability.” -Brene Brown

So, Vulnerabites, how are you getting in the way of deeper relationships?

OR

What advice can you offer me for establishing deeper relationships?

Yours Vulnerably,

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39 Comments Add yours

  1. I struggle with this as well. I am an excellent listener and master distributor of advice but have this ability to deftly say things I cannot take to heart myself and can comfortably navigate depths of a person while also being shut off myself. Still working on it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Let me start by saying, Welcome to the Vulnerabite Family! So very glad to have you! 🙂

      I really appreciate your level of self awareness. Recognizing this in our selves is the first step and then being able to say “I’m working on it.” Bravo! Glad to have you! Big Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. P.S. Beautiful pics by the way – Love, Love, Love your hair – my hair wants to be just like yours when it grows up =)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AAww thanks hon! My hair? Girl, that ain’t nothing but some ‘Jamaican Bounce’ crochet! It’s $8 a pack! Your hair can be like mine today! lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL – I can’t, I like to rolled out of my seat laughing at you….lol. Well, at least you keeping it real….LOL LOL. Oh my, tears….lol

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hahahahaaa…. Girl yes! I’m the chick who gets compliments like,”oh i love your dress” and Im likely to reply, “Girl, I got this at Marshalls for $20”. I’m just that chick! I don’t believe in ‘hiding’ my good finds. Sharing is caring!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I can relate to this – but I guess, I’ve kind of been back and forward in my life with friendships. I’ve been the person that shared everything and expected the same from the ppl I was friends with, all because at the time I was an open book. Anddddd, I’ve been on the other side of where ppl shared things with me and I shut down on them. I believe in between these times – there were definitely some hurts in there that caused me to do what I did and feel the way I did. At one time, I was an up and down basketball with some friends in which they didn’t know who I was from day to day. I realized that that wasn’t the way I needed to be – I’ve written several blog posts about this in which I may refurbish this month. I understand where you are and I do hope that you get to the place that makes you feel comfortable.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! Roshonda! I am in absolute awe at how you’ve been able to take a step back and examine how you’ve evolved over the years. I am a huge advocate for self awareness, and this was it in motion. I too have definitely had some past hurts guide my present day actions, but as I’ve clearly broadcasted to the world in this post, I’m totally aware of them and looking forward to the growth that’s to come in my friendships. Thanks for always adding value in the comment section.So glad we’ve crossed blogging paths! Big Hugs to you boo!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. driftyness says:

    This sounds a lot like me! I feel really uncomfortable when I self-disclose to a friend, and the only friend I somewhat do that with is someone I’ve been friends with for like 10 years. I find that it helps me to disclose a little bit and then build from there the next time. Like I’ll tell a friend that I’m really not feeling that great instead of telling them that I’m good. Or I’ll say things in our WhatsApp conversations so it feels distant enough for me to feel somewhat comfortable.

    I still find myself deflecting to “but what about you?” when people try to dig a little deeper with me, though. I think it’s gotten to the point where most of my friends would be uncomfortable if I told them inner-self things because they’re so unused to hearing that from me.

    I think my next steps are to just practice. Keep sharing a little more with my friend and try joining some kind of group or activity when we’re all encouraged to share with each other.

    I’ve come across many people who refuse to open themselves up to people and say that it’s because they’re independent and strong. It may be true, but it’s also concerning because human beings need social connection and intimacy. It’s how we’re wired. I’m glad you’re thinking reflectively about where you’re at and making changes. Hope you get where you need to go!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Drifty!!! Little sis!!!

      Ah ha!! Deflecting! I know someone who does that and I always call her out on it. It’s good to hear from someone who does that and what they’re thinking when they do it.

      Hmm—“some kind of group or activity when we’re all encouraged to share with each other” —- What kind of group is this? When you find one– let me know. I need some inspiration for this Vulnerabite Experience that I eventually want to come to life!

      “but it’s also concerning because human beings need social connection and intimacy. It’s how we’re wired.” —- Indeed. We are created from community — and into community. Technology is trying to rob of us the human connection that we actually need to survive. Hence why ‘bad prisoners’ go into ‘the box’ and their punishment is simply isolation — no torture — just isolation, which in itself is torture. (That’s for another blog)

      Always good to hear from you Drifty!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. driftyness says:

        Hey big sis!

        You’re a good friend! I think those of us who kind of hide behind the walls we build need people to tell us to come out.

        In my city, there is an arts/poetry group that gets people in the city together. People do poetry, tell stories, and perform and there’s an open mic so people can go up and do their thing if they’d like. It’s a really supportive crowd so people feel comfortable being vulnerable. I don’t want to feel like I need to be artistic right now, so I have my eye on some other events. One is a live storytelling event where people get together and share stories about their lives (if you’ve ever seen videos by The Moth, that kind of gives you an idea) and the other is a kind of women’s event where the point is just to create a supportive environment where people can hang out together. Haven’t been to these two yet, but I can update you if I see anything promising. I think your Vulnerabite Experiences is a great idea!

        Curious about your take on isolation! I’m sure it’ll be some great food for thought (and conversation) as usual.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hey Drifty! Aww you’re too kind!

          The storytelling group sounds dope! Sounds like something I’d enjoy.

          Love these creative groups that are providing you with opportunity for authentic community. I love it!

          My take on isolation? Lol.. Umm what about it? I don’t think we are created to live that way. Hence why “misbehaved” prisoners are put in ‘isolation’ as punishment. Punishment. And indeed it does punish them, they come out and are never the same. We are designed to be in community. What about you Drifty (waiting for your real name one of these days)? What do you think about isolation?

          Liked by 1 person

    2. And hugs back to you Sis! You’re right, self-awareness is key! Glad our paths crossed too!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. K says:

    Friendships… I’ve been married for 4years now and at the end of our second year of marriage my husband and I moved to another church. The next year was the hardest as the reality of who my friends really were manifested. I soon found that my already small circle, ladies who were my bridesmaids even who I thought would be my besties forever soon became distant people. Conversation became shallow so I stopped checking in all together because it was way to awkward! The lessons I’ve learned is that we have some people in our lives who are necessary for certain seasons and those relationships can expire. I struggled with that fact. My husband is my absolute best friend who I can be completely transparent with without feeling judged and that is great; however, I have held onto 2 people who have proven trust worthy because as a woman female perspective is necessary. One friend is my spiritual advisor of sorts and the other we can talk about anything and be completely cool. The thing is, is as close as I am with them my relationship with my husband is 99% our business. If we are having issues, if he cheats, if he hits me….i would go to counseling before revealing our deep challenges and it’s not because I want us to appear perfect but at the end of the day somethings are meant to remain private and sacred in your covenant. Not to sound be super spiritual but God would have to lead me to share that kind of stuff with someone.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey K! Let me start by welcoming you to the Vulnerabite family 🙂 I’m so happy you’re here — and love how you’ve jumped right in to sharing life with us! You fit right in my new Vulnerabite 🙂 Big Hugs!

      Now, let’s get into it:
      1.)Friendships — the first person who commented on this post shared that exact same sentiment, people she went to church with for years, soon became like strangers. Unfortunately, some relationships are only an extension of being in the same place at the same time together (like co-workers), and for one reason or another, people aren’t interested in being intentional beyond that (and others are).

      2.) As for the bridesmaid thing — that story sounds all to familiar. I did not have a bridal party, so I can’t say that I understand. However, I will say that people I THOUGHT I’d be celebrating my covenant with weren’t even on my guest list… yikes! Not because of bad vibes, but just because the relationships had faded.

      3.)You have 2! — and quite frankly, you can count yourself blessed! I don’t know that you need any more than that 🙂

      4.) Husbae is bestie! — I totally hear you on that. Having close friends doesn’t equal sharing all parts of your marriage 🙂 — I feel this part of your comment is meant for my last post, wrote a whole blog on my thoughts around this…lol

      5.) Yes— some marital experiences are best shared in the safety of counseling. Some experiences are too delicate for the typical girlfriend response of, “Girl! Oh no he didn’t!” — I do believe in discerning when, how and with whom to share certain things. I agree with you on that! Some things will forever be between you and the husbae, and I didn’t quite understand this until I got married. But I’m always trying to find the balance of sharing openly enough to be ‘honest with where I’m at’ — without feeling like I’m casting husbae to the wolves. You know what I mean? — That’s all in my last blog too…lol

      Loved reading your perspective. Thank you for trusting this space with your vulnerability 🙂 Glad to have you and see you in my next blog.

      Big Big Big Hugs K! 🙂

      Like

  6. Yes! Birds of a feather surely flock together. And when you’re vulnerable, you encourage the rest of us to be vulnerable as well.

    I agree. There is nothing like support from girlfriends. Now that I’m married, I even appreciate time with my girls even more. We are GLOWING up, Mac! And it’s awesome.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Happy to hear that Yaa Yaa! That is my hope — that as I’m vulnerable, it will inspire my Vulnerabites to do the same! Big Hugs to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I appreciate your vulnerability in this post and see a lot of myself in you. I’m also very guarded. There are a lot things that I choose not to share. I keep a lot of my inner thoughts to myself. I’ll confide in my husband but that’s pretty much it. My best girl friends might know a sliver of what might be happening with me. Overall, I am very guarded. I saw nothing wrong with it until I saw this post.

    I’m guarded because, like some of your vulnerabilities said, I’ve been hurt many times before. My guard is up for protection. I understand that there is a balance. There is so much I’m missing by not being vulnerable, so what I’ll try to do moving forward is to be discerning. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself because the best friendships are organic. When I feel the time is right to be vulnerable, I’ll open up. But other than that, the guards are up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aaahhh Yaa Yaa my darling! As I get to know my Vulnerabites, I’m understanding why y’all are still here, because we are birds of a feather and we are finding our way in this new flock together ☺️ … and I love it!!!

      I hear you! Husbae is my bestie too, but there’s something different about having a solid group of girl friends—- you know what I mean?

      I’m so proud of you for understanding how much were missing out on by not being vulnerable in new friendships. But you hit the nail on the head, discerning who it’s appropriate to be vulnerable with. No pressure honey! You’ve been hurt and your protecting yourself, it’s to be expected. Self preservation is our natural human default.

      We’re becoming aware and growing together. What more could a girl ask for? 😌

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a very interesting post. I actually remember when you let some of those friends go. And I can definitely relate to you. I don’t interact with old friends as much as I feel like I should. Sometimes, I feel bad or embarrassed so I either won’t reach out or I’ll send a social media message or like a post. I feel like a message is kind of like the ice breaker to see if they even want to communicate. If they don’t respond, maybe they’ve moved on, if they do respond, we chat and catch up. Yeah, making friends and keeping them can be a little difficult for me sometimes. Having a social life is really like a job; if you don’t go to work, you get let go or if you’re not happy, you leave.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha!!! Omg! Yes Little One!!! You would probably remember that! I hear you on feeling bad for not reaching out so choosing not to all together, but that’s part of taking the risk and being vulnerable right? Putting ourselves out there with the possibility that they may not return the effort. It is indeed ‘work’ to maintain relationships, but just like the check that comes with a job, it’s rewarding! Thanks for sharing your tactic to ‘break the ice’ — social media does have it’s advantages. I will admit that people I haven’t spoken to in years have attempted to ‘break the ice’ on social media, and I just ice skate right around it…lol.

      Like

  9. It takes gratitude to admit you have a problem forming deeper relationships. I was once the person who formed deeper relationships but then ppl I trusted used all my secrets against me when we fell out. So now this momma has her guard up.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Used your secrets against you? Ouch. Yeah, that would be enough to make me never have another friend ever again in my life. So sorry you’ve had to go through that Quetia! But I believe that as we sow love, trust, vulnerability and authenticity in our friendships going forward, that is what we’ll reap. Doesn’t mean everyone we do good to, will do good to us.. but we’ll get it back, even if not from them 🙂 Big Hugs to you Mama!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Kaje Marie says:

    Fly eagle fly!! 🦅 That could definitely be another factor.

    You’re welcome! Glad I can offer some insight. Echoing your sentiments. I did not expect to develop friendships through blogging, but I love it! 😃

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You can call me The Naked Eagle from here on out 😂😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Kaje Marie says:

    I gasped and took a big gulp when I got to “Hey Sally….” 😳

    As an introvert, I can’t do surface level relationships and although I have found myself doing a lot of networking and relationship building in the name of business, I actually prefer a small circle. If I can’t share with a person, then the relationship isn’t going to go very far. Since I like to deeply know who a person really is, the person s/he doesn’t easily show others, I also pull down that barrier once we get past the awkward small talk.

    I don’t even know what advice to give. Because on one hand, you need to be your authentic self and show some vulnerability in order to develop those deep friendships, but on the flip side there are people who just can’t be trusted. It doesn’t take long for people to show their true colors in my opinion, and I can read a person’s energy. Just sit back, observe, and trust your gut. Maybe analyze who is a part of their circle. There’s usually some clues there as to what type of person someone is based on who is surrounding them.

    Great post as always!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes!!! Good point — Birds of a feather flock together right! I left my flock in college and been an eagle ever since…lol.

      Now that you mention being an introvert and your inability to do surface relationships, I wonder if the ‘extrovert’ in me, hasn’t allowed me to focus on relationships deeper than the surface because I’m always engaging so many ‘friends’ at once and I’m just spread to thin…hhhmm??? You got me thinking girl.

      There are layers to this! Shheeshh! I’m happy for the insight your comment just brought me. Thanks boo! Appreciate ya! And the evolving of our blogationship 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  12. J says:

    This is right up my alley! Not only am I an introvert, my parents actively discouraged outside friendships in my elementary school years, so my ability to make friends is limited, if I say so. I was fortunate that I met my best friend in church at a young age.
    Developing friendships as adults is hard, in my humble opinion, because we start to look at motives, personalities and lifestyles, things kids don’t look at.
    This is my long winded way of saying God will provide, even a friend. He gave David Jonathan, Moses had Aaron and Hur, He even gave the disciples a whole crew.
    Finding someone who shares your values and loves you flaws and all is what friendship is about. I don’t want to sound trite, but He can place the right people in our lives.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, parents discouraging friends — Girl, that’s a cultural aspect that I didn’t even consider— how we’re nurtured ultimately plays a part in how we experience life, right?

      Aaaww thanks J! Yes! God will provide. I am now willing, my heart is open —at least I’m trying for it to be. And yes, Jonathan came in David’s adult life right?!?!? And so weird how he trusted the son of a man who wanted him dead. Sheesshh! That’s a sermon right there.lol

      He can and I believe as I remain open and willing, He shall do it. Amen.

      Like

  13. Oh this is so good !! I think my problem is the other way around . I actually want to build deeper relationships but because I left behind a totally different life it’s kind of hard to meet people with my new mindset -and lifestyle . So I’m just patiently waiting for the right girlfriends to come into my life 🙂 it’s tough because I actually talk way too much and I like girl talk , so not having a bestie anymore is like sad at times but I’ve learned to talk to God a lot more and write. It has helped me tremendously .

    I think we all have somewhat of a fear of being vulnerable , only because it’s a risk ! We hate risks, we can get hurt. But what’s life without risks?

    God bless you sister !! And I’m so happy you’re being vulnerable and sharing this with us. I love growth and this is growth.!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! Cristal!!! When we transition into a new life and finding new friends to come alongside us is definitely a journey! I have no doubt that your new bestie is coming sooner or later! You’re honest and transparent… people are drawn to that! Your trouble will become that you have too many best friends…lol. Wait and see 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Tiffany says:

    Wow that was a lot in the post. Ok first, I don’t need to announce to anyone we can’t be friends, I slowly wing them off. Plus God will remove them. This will happen as you move through growth and seasons of life. God gives us a purpose.
    Secondly, I too suffered from building close relationships due to life experiences in the past. I prayed on it and God revealed why I couldn’t connect with people. God changes me and now I have a small group of very close friends who will have my back no matter what.
    Thirdly, I believe when we share parts of our lives with others it can be bit of a risk. It’s rarely you’ll find a couple or friend who are neutral with you about what you share with them. Before I share anything I always discuss it with God. And ask him who I can share it with. God helps me

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol… Yes Tiffany!

      1.) We don’t always need to announce the end of a friendship — however in my case at 20 years old, I needed to do that for those friendships. And yes, more often than not, friendships do gradually come to their own end.

      2.) It’s a beautiful space in life to have close friends who have your back no matter what!

      3.) It is indeed rare to find people we can take that risk of vulnerability with.

      Thanks for your thoughts Tiff! Always a pleasure to hear from you boo 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tiffany says:

        You’re welcome! I do enjoy your post, they make you think about my life and the value of it. It’s about creating boundaries.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh wow! The value of life huh? Glad to hear that!

          Liked by 1 person

  15. Vanessa says:

    I can relate to this one. It took me a while to see how shallow many of my relationships were. But I was surprised because these were people I had spent a lot of good times with talking about life and God. Now I see that the only thing that really held us together was that we attended the same church. People have moved on from the church so it’s been dead silence almost as if all those years spending time together never existed. When we do talk every now and then it’s awkward.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wow! Yep! Some “friendships” are only a result of being in the same place at the same time, and doesn’t go beyond that— almost like a co-work. I guess they can be considered border line acquaintances.

      Well, we can’t control others —- so what do you think that you could’ve done differently to help foster a deeper relationship with your co-churchers?

      Liked by 1 person

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