By Anne Marie Derosier
When I look at my friends list on Facebook I realize how few of those people I actually talk to. Very few of these people actually know me on more than a surface level, and only a handful of them are walking with me through the joys and struggles of life.
We have so many forms of communication. We are always trying to find the right words to publish the perfect status on Facebook, or pick the perfect filter on snapchat, or post that perfect succession of hashtags on Instagram for people, depicting that our relationships consist of likes and hearts. According to Facebook, your best friends are the people that like every single one of your posts, but the real question is, will they be there for you when you call at 2:00 am, hands shaking; choking back tears: broken?
What are these relationships missing? Authenticity. Authenticity is being vulnerable with people, letting them see you as you are: the good and the bad, and letting them love you. Our world is so sorely lacking this. We don’t get beyond the surface in our relationships. It’s always:
“Hi, how are you?”
“I’m doing well and you?”
Although there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it prevents us from really getting to know people. Why does this matter? As humans, we are made for relationships, and I’m not talking about the Facebook kind. God even says himself, “it is not good that man should be alone” (Gen: 2:18). We crave companionship; people to share our lives with.
How do we create authentic relationships? First of all, you have to be willing to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is hard, but without it, you will never get pass a surface level relationship. Another thing you can do is ask good questions. Some people need to be asked a direct question to open up. For example, you could ask “how is your prayer life going?” or “what was the best and worst part of your week?” You are less likely to get a two-word response when you ask questions like this. In turn, also learn to be a good listener: don’t interrupt, make thoughtful comments, and ask questions. Cellphones are something that can get in the way of forming authentic relationships. Put your phone away, this tells them that they are important and you care about them because you are giving them your full attention.
Go find someone to be vulnerable with.