Should You Disclose Your Struggles to Your Friends?

Undoubtedly, life is not known for being excessively kind all of the time. There will be occasions where the situation is less than ideal, and the ensuing struggle is difficult to bear alone. However, the debate then becomes whether or not one should discuss these challenges with friends and family. On one hand, the conversation may be constructive and helpful in recovering from the current darkness, but, unfortunately, the sharing process may lead to rejection and discomfort for all parties involved. Therefore, it is necessary to use one’s judgment in deciding through consideration of a few general factors such as type of relationship, past experiences, and what the end result may be.

The instinct may be to share with whomever one knows for the longest period of time, but this may not be the best route. The ideal confidant is familiar, but can also keep their distance and be objective with regards to giving advice. Of course, a mere acquaintance is a poor choice and may lead to uncomfortable circumstances, but a best friend may be quick to defend and shift away responsibility, which can turn the meaningful discussion into a pity party. Additionally, each friend probably has a ‘designated’ role in one’s life (the wing-person, the partier, etc.). Decide what type of role would best fit the need, and reach out to that person.

Stereotyping, though, will only be accurate to a limited degree. The best indicator of future success is past experience. If one friend has a track record of being a good listener, then they would be an obviously advantageous choice. However, if another person is loose-lipped and threatens any hope of being discrete, look elsewhere. The objective is to create a safe environment, so insecurities can be temporarily swept under the rug and vulnerabilities can show.

Finally, it is essential to consider the end result of the conversation. Hopefully, the disclosure will accomplish something, even if it is only relief from being able to share a burden. No dramatic outcome such as a complete and total resolution needs to come from it, but progress towards recovery should be achieved in some form, which may not be immediately obvious. In other words, the most important aspect to consider is a sense of well-being. However, this will come at the price of complete and utter honesty, which is incredibly difficult to achieve. Therefore, it is ultimately best to confide in someone removed from the situation in order to decrease anxiety.

All in all, confiding in a friend about struggling with some aspect of life is a meaningful and helpful process for alleviating the pain of emotions, but only with the right person. Remember, the ultimate goal is to have an outlet to which to voice frustrations and a figure who offers advice in a positive form.

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