When we feel embarrassed or shameful, our first instinct is to keep quiet about this. However, this only makes the shame worse. Owning it and talking about it with someone who will respond with compassion and support will help these negative feelings dissipate sooner. It will also help you form a connection with the other person. Remember, connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued, and it is absolutely essential to thrive emotionally, physically, spiritually, and intellectually.
Avoid the friend who will hear your story and feel shame for you.
You may even end up having to make her feel better.
Avoid the friend who responds with sympathy rather than empathy.
For example, sympathy would be saying, “I feel so sorry for you,” or, “You poor thing,” rather than, “I get it, I’ve been there.”
Avoid the friend who has put you on a pedestal.
This friend will just be disappointed in your imperfections.
Avoid the friend who is so uncomfortable with vulnerability that he scolds you.
Or, he may look for someone else to blame for the situation. Either way, you won’t be getting the compassion you need.
Avoid the friend who just wants to make it better.
This friend will probably tell you things like, “You’re perfect, everyone loves you,” in an attempt to make you feel better.
Avoid the friend who tries to one-up you.
Connect with the right person at the right time about the right issue.
All of us have been those six friends to others at different times—it’s perfectly normal and human. However, when what you need is compassion, you should evaluate your issue and think about which one of your friends is most likely to give it to you in this situation.