The Business of Friendship by Shasta Nelson

The Business of Friendship by Shasta Nelson

Author:Shasta Nelson
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Harpercollins Leadership
Published: 2020-06-08T16:00:00+00:00


At the bottom of the Triangle, it’s not appropriate to confide and process our lives with someone with whom we don’t have a history of Consistency, but we can aim to be genuine in sharing who we are and be curious in learning more about the other. We won’t tell others everything about what we’re thinking, reveal our lives to them, or probe for juicy details—but we can aim to show up with authenticity in the context in which we’re connecting. At a bare minimum, we will show up with genuine interest—for who they are, in what we’re willing to share about ourselves, and for what this relationship could become.

The goal of Vulnerability is to get to know each other, which we do incrementally as we practice Consistency and Positivity with someone. When we’re asked what matters most to us in a relationship, most of us rank honesty at, or very near, the top.2 We want to believe that people are showing us who they really are, and we deeply want to believe we can do the same, without fear of judgment, exclusion, or punishment.

But, Vulnerability, perhaps more than Consistency or Positivity, is the one requirement our culture struggles with the most when it comes to “how much?” How honest should we be? How expressed can we be? How much of “us” can we show? How many of the details can we whisper? The Triangle provides us with the visual reminder that, again, it’s not whether to be honest, but to what degree.

Our goal is to be authentic in a way that is balanced by the level of relationship we have with someone. As we move up the Triangle, we will both practice increasing our Vulnerability in our shared context, eventually moving to sharing more in other areas of our lives, and slowly moving up to levels where we’re not only each sharing, but where we’re more likely to be processing our feelings, confiding our fears and shame, and shining proudly in who we are.

At the Top of the Triangle we experience meaningful transparency, both feeling that we either know everything there is to know about the other person, or at least that we’re willing to explore it together. Ideally, there is little need up there for filters, masks, or off-limit subjects because we feel secure in our commitment (highest level of Consistency) and complete acceptance (highest level of Positivity).


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