None of us wish to expose the tender parts of ourselves to an unpleasant, unsympathetic critic. It may just result in severe ridicule or even humiliation. Up close, not one of us is even close to perfection. We pull the “Push” door sign. Sure, everyone has the right to do stupid things, but sometimes we abuse that privilege. Hey, in politics, stupidity is not even a handicap. But seriously, we have episodes of anger and self-pity and are not exactly reliably remarkable.

Yes, I worry all the time, and invariably spill my coffee on my favorite sweater. You know that spilling coffee is the adult equivalent of losing your balloon. Listen, I like my coffee so strong that it wakes up the neighbors.

Do you fret about where your career is headed? I know. Your career plans were much more exciting when you were five, right? Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for it. Do you worry about what others think of you? If it’s not your business, don’t make it your burden. How much energy do you spend hiding parts of yourself from others and putting on your daily disguise?

Indeed, we try to appear a great deal more “normal” and balanced. We agree that the definition of what is “normal” is quite tricky. Well, the perks of being my friend is that you’ll be the normal one.

Yet the one thing we all long for is love. And the only route to intimate connection is allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. When you share what you perceive as weakness, you can actually endear yourself to her. She may now feel that you have humanized yourself. He may now be able to see his own vulnerabilities echoing in the lives of others.

Admitting our fragility, however, does not mean that we expect our friends or loved ones to rescue us. We do not hope that they will solve our problems. We are simply real with him in the hopes that he now feels more at ease to reveal his less noble side.

Many of us are understandably focused on the possible drawbacks of being too vulnerable. Exposing parts of your true self is a risk, taken in the hopes that she will now feel safe to unburden herself, as well. Perhaps he will reveal something of his secret self in return.

The truth is that if you do not fear emotional openness, you are paradoxically strong enough to be weak. It’s okay if the ones you trust see your anger or sadness. Despite our imperfections, we know that we are all wounded in one way or another.

Try not to be too complicated to handle. Politely explain your needs and wants to friends and loved ones. Provide gentle but authentic insights about yourself. Please do not make me have to decode you. Speaking of coding, you know that “algorithm” is a word used by programmers when they don’t want to explain what they did. Famous last words: “Hey, it works on my machine.” Well, we all know: There is no Ctrl-Z in life.

Do not go through life pretending that all is well, sweet friends. Find non-combative ways of making your emotions known. Do you find yourself asking him if wants another slice of pizza when you’re the one who wants one? Those pizzas you ate were for medicinal purposes? I get it. Let pizza be a reminder that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Do you apologize when you really want her to say she is sorry?

Don’t automatically accept that dinner invitation if you are truly aching for an early night for once. Don’t be afraid to reveal true feelings to those whom you trust. There should be room for honesty in your relationship. It should not be received with annoyance or irritation.

Practice saying directly what you want or need. Do not hint or insinuate. Simply state it. If you feel perennially unheard by someone, you may have to simply walk away. There is always a risk of conflict, but please maintain the courage to voice your convictions.

You know what they say: Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that, apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy. Okay, maybe not.

Don’t be afraid to ruffle a few feathers. Heck, if feathers don’t ruffle, nothing flies. True friendship and love will weather the storm. If it doesn’t, then remind yourself: “Not my farm. Not my chickens.” No one wants to be profoundly lonely or sad in this life. Try not to withdraw into defensive independence. You deserve to be the beneficiary of kindness and love, sweet friends.

Don’t allow yourself to be terribly swayed by the world around you. Are you ashamed of your perceived weaknesses? Softness, not firmness, may be the way to go at times. As long as you have integrity and virtue, you increase your strength.

Create the likelihood that certain problems will not even arise. Always be ready to adapt your approach to others. And, when all else fails: reboot.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at