One of the criticisms I have of many people is that they don’t ever consciously surface their own vulnerabilities. This is particularly true of male and alpha-male friends and family. I am reluctant to trust someone who is 100% sure of themselves and their decisions 100% of the time.

Now, you can take it too far: A conversation doesn’t have to be about you or me, it could be (nominally) about an article from the newspaper. Egocentric urges can be resisted, talking about the bigger picture than particularly how it relates to your own existential difficulties can result in a more pleasant chat.

However, if you have someone in your life who doesn’t ever surface their own problems, you can still try and relate to their vulnerabilities as they express them. Even if fear comes out all “alpha male-ey”, it’s still fear. Even if self doubt comes out as pejoratives about the people at work or around them, rather than self-deprecation, it’s still doubt.

Try to hear it, and in that the similarities to your own vulnerabilities, and in that strength.