I’ve read a lot of relationship and leadership books. A common theme of these books is: What makes a person likable?
There’s actually science that shows that being vulnerable makes a person seem more relatable, builds intimacy, and increases favorable opinion.
Having the courage to reveal your flaws, voice your fears, and speak your truth… is actually attractive. Yep.
(Hence why I feel no shame about revealing embarrassingly personal stories of rejection, heartbreak, and failed relationships. I’m banking on the fact that you guys will like me for it… or at the very least, get a kick out of my stories.)
So, to recap: In business, in friendship, and in romance, vulnerability can make you more likable. OK. So why aren’t more people vulnerable? Why do people hide their true selves in favor of wearing a facade to impress you?
Usually, it’s due to shame or pride.
Why hiding your authentic self backfires
I was once pursued by a guy who refused to open up about himself. Don’t get me wrong — he was not mysterious (which would’ve been a bit sexy) — he was evasive. I would ask him seemingly benign questions like, “So what did you do after you graduated?” and would receive responses like, “Oh, that’s a long story, and it’s a time in my life I’m not very proud of… let’s save that for another time.”
Getting to know him was like pulling teeth!
Let me be clear. It’s OK to take time to open up, to reveal yourself bit by bit. But doing that, you take a risk. You assume that you’ll have another chance. And if you didn’t have another chance… would you be OK with not sharing your true self?
(I mean, how many times have you seen a Bachelor/Bachelorette episode where the ousted contestants said, “If only I opened up sooner…”?)
Back to my story: this guy was so concerned with presenting himself in a positive light, making sure that I had no reason “not to like him,” that he never allowed me to see him for everything that he was, flaws and all, the good and the bad.
Whatever connection he was trying to stitch between us was unwoven by his own hand.
Everybody has baggage. Everybody has history. Sure, protect your heart… but don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Allow others to empathize with you and your experiences… they’ll get to know YOU, and like you better for it.
(P.S. My Instagram Stories are always a minefield of vulnerable confessions, if you would so like to be regaled!)