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Vulnerability Hangover

Let me introduce you to Chad Estes, our newest Faith Communities Partner and leader of the new Living Room Conversations program at Vineyard Boise Christian Fellowship you read about here. Chad very quickly noticed something I think might intrigue you as much as it does me. Chad writes:

Vineyard Boise uses Living Room Conversations once a month to build civility within our own congregation as well as in the larger Boise community. While most participants enjoy the new communication strategy, two participants told me that they had an adverse reaction.

Their reaction had nothing to do with the Conversation topic or the other people at their table. Instead, it was what I call a “vulnerability hangover.” A vulnerability hangover can cause anxiety, and make us say things like:

  • I wish I would have said…
  • I was too afraid to say…
  • I didn’t say that very well…
  • I said what I thought others wanted to hear…
  • I wasn’t prepared enough…
  • I was afraid I’d come across as…

Have you experienced a vulnerability hangover after engaging in a Living Room Conversation?

The great news is that neither of these participants wanted out of future Living Room Conversations. Both of them wanted to continue because this is an area where they can experience growth in their personal lives. In fact, one person shared how they have avoided talking about issues with others for two decades due to anxiety and fear. They see the Living Room Conversation format as a gentle and safe place to face their fears and move beyond them.

So not only can Living Room Conversations help us to listen to others and develop civility in our community. Living Room Conversations can also be a tool for our own growth when it comes to dealing with fear and shame and communicating beyond them.

I hope you will tell me about your own experiences with Living Room Conversations. Thank you so much for reading!

Beth G. Raps, PhD
Development Partner

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