One of the most confusing feelings in the world is not knowing what to feel. Sometimes, you don’t know if you feel sad, angry, frustrated, nostalgic, tired, or a combination of those. You also don’t know whether or not your feelings are rational.
Do I have a legitimate reason to feel these emotions? Am I overreacting? How am I supposed to deal with this? If I tell someone how I feel, how would they react? Will they be able to handle me at my worst, most vulnerable point? Or are they going to walk away thinking “that is so trivial. I don’t understand why she’s worrying about it.”
Those are only a few of the things people think of before opening up to someone. They’re afraid. It isn’t always because they don’t trust you. Sometimes, they’re afraid of recurring consequences. They’re afraid because they’ve built walls. They’ve built walls because somewhere along the way somebody had the audacity to tell them to shut up, or that they were being ‘way too sensitive’. They’ve built walls because somebody they thought they could confide in told them off, or treated the matter as if it were insignificant.
I don’t know about the next person, but I feel that if a person decides to open up to you, treat that like gold. Pay attention to all the major details, the minor details, everything they say. Don’t be that person and assume right off the bat that they’re ‘attention wh*res’, because many of these people truly need help.
If a person who has built up walls decides to open up to you, it is likely you have given them a good reason to do so. So listen to them vent. Listen to them laugh. Listen to them be angry. Listen to them be sad. We may not always know how to respond, but the most important thing is that we listen without judgment.
We don’t want to be the reason why this person builds their walls back up again.