Sharing Your Feelings with the Right People

When you share your feelings or concerns, you want to be understood. Learning how to identify the right types of people for this role is important.
Sharing Your Feelings with the Right People

Last update: 28 May, 2021

You’ve probably wondered at some time or another what kind of people you should choose to share your feelings with. Not everyone is suitable or receptive, as close to you as they might seem to be. Furthermore, there are those who have the best intentions, yet give you unwanted advice when you simply need them to listen to you. For this reason, it’s important to have some guidelines to follow in identifying the best types of people for this particular role.

People often say that sharing what you feel with others is both positive and cathartic. However, what people don’t say much is that not all people are qualified to listen.

You can probably think of a moment when you decided to stop sharing your feelings with someone. This happens a lot. You think that a certain friend, colleague, or even a relative will be receptive to your feelings. However, you find out that they don’t offer the support you expected. In fact, they don’t consider your feelings to be important at all. Then, there are those who judge you or who just aren’t very good in these types of situations. In fact, although they can put themselves in your shoes, they don’t know how to help you.

A woman holding a heart.

Sharing your feelings

Charlotte Brontë said that “The eagerness of a listener quickens the tongue of a narrator”. You’ve probably felt like this before. It’s quite a rewarding experience.

In fact, studies conducted by Dr. Ulrich Wagner of the University of Münster suggest that sharing your feelings with good friends activates the reward system in your brain. This even boosts your well-being.

However, the opposite is also true. For example, you think you can approach someone you trust to share your experiences and feelings and then end up regretting it. This can have major consequences.

One example might be when a teenager decides to take the step to share their feelings. However, they find themselves faced with criticism or mockery. This can have different results. They might never share anything again. Alternatively, they may stop valuing themselves. This process could eventually damage their self-esteem.

As you can see, not everyone is capable of listening or offering emotional support. Who should you share your feelings with? Here are some guidelines to help you out.

Sharing your feelings isn’t just another form of communication

Some people have no filter. They don’t seem to care who they share their thoughts and feelings with. However, the consequences of this kind of indiscrimination can be disastrous.

For this reason, you need to be cautious, prudent, and smart. Just because there’s someone beside you doesn’t mean they’re qualified to offer you any support. In fact, sharing emotions and feelings isn’t just another form of communication, it’s something far more sensitive and intimate.

Listening without judging or offering advice

When you choose to share something with someone, you don’t expect them to solve the problem for you. In reality, you only want them to listen to you and, more importantly, to understand you.

However, sometimes, you find yourself opening up to someone who gives you a ton of advice. There are also those who are very quick to judge and tell you “You shouldn’t have done that”, “You did it again”, or “You clearly haven’t learned from your mistakes”.

You need to avoid these kinds of dynamics. If you want to share your feelings with someone, choose them well. Find a person who knows how to listen, empathize, and understand.

A couple sharing a coffee together, maybe sharing feelings.

Find your safe space

If you’re looking for people to share your feelings with, choose those you feel most comfortable with. You probably have certain friends and acquaintances that make you feel safe and understood.

You don’t necessarily have to choose your partner or even a lifelong friend, as they may not be the best listeners. You know they want what’s best for you, but sometimes you need other perspectives.

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  • Ullrich Wagner, Lisa Galli, Björn H. Schott (2015) Beautiful friendship: Social sharing of emotions improves subjective feelings and activates the neural reward circuitry. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Volume 10, Issue 6, June 2015, Pages 801–808, https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsu121