My friends are vulnerable. It’s not something males are prone to. I’m not certain females do it better than we do. Close friends know my failures. They’ve heard me when I’m caustic and bitter. I’ve shared moral failure and perceived failure. They’ve put arms around me---and not stabbed me in the back. Stranded on an island the most difficult thing for me would be to not connect with friends. I am, we are, wired for friendship; our souls long for deep vulnerability. This open place can be a place of peace and beauty. It can also be an unsafe, shaky and scary place.
A friend once broadcast a personal failure that only they knew about to my email list. That is one dark side of vulnerability. That our real selves including the darkest parts will be used to embarrass and malign us. Friendship must be a safe place. Our personal relationships and our small social groups must be safe. The bible study groups I am involved in all have a rule: What’s shared in the group stays in the group.
We all present one face to the world. Some attempt to live their whole life with game-face on. Our Instagram and Facebook posts present all our perfect moments to our audience. We don’t air our kid’s tantrums or arguments with our spouse. Even at church (especially at church?) we present Mr. Perfect Peace when chaos and crumble are what life really looks like.
I know of three suicides in my circle in the last years. All male by the way. How depth of friendship may have broken through. Not surface friendship—but deep honest, transparent friendship. That’s the treasure in friends. That’s the privilege of prayer. It is soul shaking stuff to let people in. It goes against grain. Vulnerable and committed is the safest and freest place to be.