Shame and vulnerability researcher Dr. Brené Brown is a big proponent of allowing yourself to open up and be vulnerable. But even this candid public speaker and author sets limits. In her second book, "The Gifts of Imperfection," Brown explains the importance of being careful who you open up to and reveals six types of people you should never confide in when you feel shame about something.
The danger of opening up to one of these people, Dr. Brown writes, is that the person can easily become one more piece of flying debris in an already dangerous storm. Reading from Dr. Brown's book in this video from "Super Soul Sunday," Oprah runs through the six types of friends who can make a shameful situation worse, not better:
- The friend who actually feels shame for you, gasps and confirms how horrified you should be.
- The friend who responds with sympathy ("I feel so sorry for you.") rather than empathy ("I get it, I feel with you and I've been there.")
- The friend who needs you to be the pillar of worthiness and authenticity, who can't help because she's too disappointed in your imperfections.
- The friend who is so uncomfortable with vulnerability that she scolds, "How did you let this happen?"
- The friend who is all about making it better and, out of her own discomfort, refuses to acknowledge that you can actually make terrible choices ("You're exaggerating. It wasn't that bad.")
- The friend who confuses connection with the opportunity to one-up you. ("Well, that's nothing. Listen what happened to me...")
If these six friends should be avoided, then who should you turn to when you need to confide in someone? In the video, Dr. Brown focuses on what she calls "move-the-body" friendships, defines these devoted friends and shares why you actually only need one of them in your life.